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Museum

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The usual tour for this Mission starts in the gift shop which is located just down the street from the Church itself.

Mission Gift ShopExpand
Picture taken 3:29pm 30 Jan 2012

The museum for this Mission is in a room off the gift shop. There are many interesting items displayed in this single room. Look carefully; some are fairly well hidden amidst the quantity of items in total.

Perhaps the most fascinating exhibit in the museum are the two wooden bells; one hanging just by the Museum entrance, the other sitting on top of one of the display cases. There are many theories about why this Mission had wooden bells for a long period in its history (the bells are thought to date from 1861 or 1862 and probably hung in the cupola until at least 1907 and perhaps later).

Hanging Wooden BellExpand
Picture taken 1:31pm 30 Jan 2012
Inside Hanging Wooden BellExpand
Picture taken 1:32pm 30 Jan 2012
Wooden Bell on cabinetExpand
Picture taken 3:45pm 30 Jan 2012

Despite the various romantic theories...

  • Used to decoy the pirate Hippolyte Bouchard in 1818,
  • Replace bells destroyed in 1812 by an earthquake,
  • Used during Holy Week when metallic bells ringing were prohibited,

...the most logical explanation is simply that the bells were carved and hung to fit spaces where metal bells once hung at the request of Padre Juan Comapala. There is a wooden bell hanging at Mission La Purisima that serves the same purpose.

In any event, the bells were carved in two halves which were joined together using butterfly fasteners and metal plates (which you can see above) inside. The wood used was mahogany with the pegs being redwood. To the casual observer, the bells look like they were carved from a single piece of wood.

This Mission model takes up the bottom of one of the display cases. It shows the Mission as it might have looked at its peak...

ModelExpand
Picture taken 3:35pm 30 Jan 2012

Note that the cemetery is now part of the school and the main quadrangle for the Mission is now much smaller and shops sit over a major portion of it past the garden area.

We'll look at some of the exhibits down the page a bit; for now look in the cases for these combinations of chalice and paten. They are special.

Serra's ChaliceExpand
Picture taken 3:36pm 30 Jan 2012
Senan's ChaliceExpand
Picture taken 3:36pm 30 Jan 2012

Chalice and Paten. Probably Mexican from the last quarter of the 18th Century. Silver-gilt with raised, cast and repousse* decoration. These two vessels, long associated with Blessed Serra at Mission San Buenaventura, are believed to be the original ones brought to the Mission in 1782.

*A metalworking technique in which a malleable metal is ornamented or shaped by hammering from the reverse side to create a design in low relief.

Chalice and Paten. Probably Mexican from the first quarter of the 19th Century. Silver-gilt with raised, cast and chased* decoration. These were used by Padre José Francisco de Paula Señán, a resident priest from 1797 until his death in 1823 and twice President-General of the mission system. The altar stone on which they sit is the original brought from the Apostolic College of San Fernando in Mexico City and used at the first Mass on Easter, 31 March 1782.

*Another word for repousse.

Now, let's look at more of the items on display. Don't forget that you can click on any of the pictures for a larger version in a lightbox which can be used to start a slide-show of the entire picture collection.

VestmentsExpand
Picture taken 3:31pm 30 Jan 2012
Plaster FragmentExpand
Picture taken 3:31pm 30 Jan 2012
Missal StandExpand
Picture taken 3:34pm 30 Jan 2012
Collection of Vestments. Plaster Fragment. Plaster with a painted decoration from the first quarter of the 19th Century. It was removed from the wall of the Church during a restoration and shows the original colors and decorations painted by the Chumash Indians. Missal Stand. Wood with carved, painted and gilded decoration. It is believed that this lectern (matching a tabernacle elsewhere in the Museum) is the one ordered by Padre Señán for the main altar of the 1809 Mission Church.
Roman MissalExpand
Picture taken 3:32pm 30 Jan 2012
HymnalExpand
Picture taken 3:32pm 30 Jan 2012
MonstranceExpand
Picture taken 3:33pm 30 Jan 2012
Missale Romanum. From Rome, 1808. Paper covered with wood, silk, velvet and silver ornamented cover. The missal was used on the main altar of the 1809 Church. Hymnal. Large type is used for sharing so fewer needed to be made. Monstrance. Believed to be late 19th Century. Silver plate, gilding, glass, and a cabobhon amethyst. Used when placing a large, consecrated host on display.
ThuribleExpand
Picture taken 3:35pm 30 Jan 2012
MonstranceExpand
Picture taken 3:33pm 30 Jan 2012
Pencil SketchExpand
Picture taken 3:33pm 30 Jan 2012
Thurible. Probably Mexican, last quarter of the 18th Century. Used to burn incense to purify the air. Believed to have been brought by Blessed Serra in 1782. Monstrance. This 22-inch monstrance was given to the Mission in 1978. It is possibly Germanic in origin and fashioned in the baroque style. Mission San Buenaventura. Pencil sketch on paper from an unknown mid-19th Century artist.
NailsExpand
Picture taken 3:34pm 30 Jan 2012
Wood FragmentsExpand
Picture taken 3:34pm 30 Jan 2012
KeyExpand
Picture taken 3:34pm 30 Jan 2012
Nails. First quarter of the 19th Century. These iron nails were made in the blacksmith shop by resident Chumash and were used to secure roof tiles to the structure. Wood Fragments. Wood with carved and gilded decoration. These fragments are from the original pulpit made by the Chumash Indians. Original Door Key. Mission doors originally had rather large locks which required rather large keys.
CiboriumExpand
Picture taken 3:35pm 30 Jan 2012
Ciborium VeilExpand
Picture taken 3:36pm 30 Jan 2012
CrucifixExpand
Picture taken 3:37pm 30 Jan 2012
Ciborium. Silver gilt from 3rd quarter of the 19th Century. The ciborium is used to contain and store consecrated hosts. When not in use it is kept in the tabernacle. Ciborium Veil. Philippines, first quarter of the 19th Century. Silk with metallic trim and silk embroidery. Used to cover the ciborium when not in use. Crucifix. Possibly Spanish, 1st quarter 18th Century. Wood, carved ivory and silk.
Tray and CruetsExpand
Picture taken 3:39pm 30 Jan 2012
Holy Oil ContainersExpand
Picture taken 3:39pm 30 Jan 2012
Miniature AspergillumExpand
Picture taken 3:39pm 30 Jan 2012
Tray and Cruets. This brass tray with its cruets was used in the celebration of the liturgy. Holy Oil. Containers for holy oils and salt used for the administration of the Last Rites. Miniature Aspergillum. An aspergilium is used to spray holy water. The fibers are dipped in the water and flung to bless objects and people.
MirrorExpand
Picture taken 1:33pm 30 Jan 2012
VaseExpand
Picture taken 3:40pm 30 Jan 2012
Holy Water ContainerExpand
Picture taken 3:40pm 30 Jan 2012
Mirrors. Mirrors in gold leaf frames were hung on the Mission walls. They were often arranged so officiating priests could watch the Indians in the congregation. (Remember, at that time Priests faced away from the congregation.) Vase. This ornate vase was used on the main altar of the Mission Church. No date is given. Holy Water Container and Aspergillum. Unlike the one above, this aspergillum is more like the ones used today. This receptacle was brought at the time of the Mission founding.

A nice collection of Chumash baskets is also on display. Here are a few highlights...

Stitched BasketExpand
Picture taken 3:42pm 30 Jan 2012
Flat BasketExpand
Picture taken 3:43pm 30 Jan 2012
Utility BasketExpand
Picture taken 3:43pm 30 Jan 2012
Basket CollectionExpand
Picture taken 3:44pm 30 Jan 2012
Basket that appears to be stitched pieces. Flat basket. Utility basket. And, more...

One cabinet contains portions of the Mission library...

LibraryExpand
Picture taken 3:46pm 30 Jan 2012
Oldest VolumeExpand
Picture taken 3:46pm 30 Jan 2012
HymnalExpand
Picture taken 3:46pm 30 Jan 2012
Sacred library. Oldest volume in the libarary. Published in Madrid in 1639. Hymnal.
CelloExpand
Picture taken 3:56pm 30 Jan 2012
Music was a major feature of Mission life. Here you see the remains of one of the cellos used at the Mission.

Several of the larger displays in the museum include a confessional and the original Mission doors, one of which is shown to the right. Note the wavy pattern in the door. This is a representation of the "river of life." Other large exhibits are on the walls or on top of some of the cabinets so be certain to look up.

ConfessionalExpand
Picture taken 3:44pm 30 Jan 2012
St. John the BaptistExpand
Picture taken 3:55pm 30 Jan 2012
Mission DoorsExpand
Picture taken 3:45pm 30 Jan 2012
Confessional St. John the Baptist Original Mission Door
TabernacleExpand
Picture taken 3:50pm 30 Jan 2012
Above the DoorExpand
Picture taken 3:56pm 30 Jan 2012
Baby JesusExpand
Picture taken 3:56pm 30 Jan 2012
Tabernacle First Father Plaque (meaning unknown) Baby Jesus

California Landmark

No landmark plaque exists at this site.

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That's the end of the tour. Thank you. Please visit the other missions.

Navigation for Mission San Buenaventura:

Mission Home :: History :: Church Interior :: Garden :: Museum :: Asistencia :: Serra Cross


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