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Sonoma Mission Museum

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The museum at this Mission is in what is called the "Bell Room." Originally, this was part of the Padre's quarters. Construction of this part of the Mission was started in 1824-25. While there are three rooms today, originally there were some 21 rooms in this section of the Mission. There are a number of different well-preserved exhibits here. I present them below grouped by where they are displayed.

On The Walls

This Mission shows off the wall behind the wall using a glass case as a window to the adobe construction behind the plaster and paint.

Adobe ExposedExpand
Picture taken 11:46am 19 Feb 2012

The sign reads...

Original Construction

Adobe Bricks, Adobe Morter, and Mud Plaster Coated with Lime Plaster.

Adobe bricks are made of mud and hay molded in wooden frames and dried in the sun. Such walls will last as long as they are protected from the elements."

A painting and photograph decorate the walls. The painting appears to be MIssion Delores; the photo is from 1938.

Picture taken 11:48am 19 Feb 2012
Post Restore PhotoExpand
Picture taken 1:21pm 19 Feb 2012

The sign reads...

This 1938 photograph predates the last of three successive State restoration projects (1911, 1926, and 1943).

The structure in which you are standing is the oldest adobe north of San Francisco. Constructed between 1825-1828, it was part of the 27-room living quarters used by the mission padre and young Indian converts.

The adobe parish church (left) contains materials from the original mission church, which fell into ruin after the 1834 securlarization. Built in 1840-41, it served Sonoma's Catholic communicants until its sale in 1881.

If you look at the history page for this Mission you can see a similar picture taken in 1934 where the vines in front are much smaller.

Finally, while not exactly on the wall, the light hanging from the ceiling shows what lights in the mission era might have looked like. Just imagine candles in place of the light bulbs. LightExpand
PIcture taken 11:50am 19 Feb 2012

In Display Cases

The display cases in the Mission museum are small but enhanced by other historical displays across the street in the soldier's quarters. You admission fee to the Mission allows you to tour those quarters as well as other historical structures (e.g., the Vallejo house Lachryma Montis) in the area.

Among the items on display at the Mission...

Mortar and Pestle for grinding grains
Mortar PestleExpand
Picture taken 11:48am 19 Feb 2012
1840 Weekly Devotional Prayer Booklet
Prayer BookExpand
Picture taken 11:48am 19 Feb 2012
Wafer Iron for making Communion wafers
Wafer IronExpand
Picture taken 11:48am 19 Feb 2012

Stand-alone Objects

Some large stand-alone objects make up the bulk of the display in this museum. They are located around the edges of the room and a large display sits in the middle of the room. They include...

A mill stone used for crushing olives for their oil. The stone is attached to a shaft as it might have been in mission times and, in use, the shaft rotated so that the the stone revolved on its edge crushing olives as it moved. Mill StoneExpand
Picture taken 11:46am 19 Feb 2012
Picture taken 11:46am 19 Feb 2012

An 1811 bell from Mexico.

The plaque reads...


Mexico - 1811

Presented 1955 by
Mr. H.S. Makelim
in honor of
Mrs. Celeste G. Murphy,
Sonoma historian
and civic leader.

Bell DetailExpand
Picture taken 11:52am 19 Feb 2012
Picture taken 11:47am 19 Feb 2012

Of particular interest is the Spanish fanega. A fanega is a measure of volume and these standard scoops, a fanega in size, were used to measure crops.

See the page on Spanish measurements for further information.

Sitting on a large block of wood by the wall is an early anvil.

It is inscribed with the date 1766 and "SOLI - DEO - GLORIA" a literal translation of which from the Latin means "only - God - glory." Below that is inscribed "J. L. M PB 1766." What that might mean is not explained.

Early blacksmiths would use anvils such as this to hammer out many different metal items used in daily life at the missions.

Picture taken 11:47am 19 Feb 2012
Picture taken 11:47am 19 Feb 2012
An undescribed pot completes the display.

The next room in the museum is described as the "Dining Room." It presently houses the Virgil Jorgensen Memorial Collection of watercolors. These were painted by Virgil's father Chris Jorgensen in 1903-04 during a trip he and his wife took over the length of El Camino Real. These pictures have a place of their own on the MissionTour site...Icon

Now proceed into the chapel...Trail


Navigation for Mission San Francisco Solano:

Mission Home :: History :: Museum :: Chapel :: Courtyard :: Exterior :: Jorgensen Watercolors :: Sonoma Plaza :: Sonoma Barracks :: Lachryma Montis

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Copyright © 2003-2012 Tom Simondi, All Rights Reserved
Pray the rosary for peace!