Mission San Buenaventura Museum

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

Mission Ventura Gift Shop Entrance

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).

Ventura Mission Museum Hanging Wooden Bell

Picture taken 1:31pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Museum Wooden Bell Inside

Picture taken 1:32pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Museum Older Wooden Bell

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…

Ventura Mission Model

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.

Ventura Mission Museum Serra Chalice and Paten

Picture taken 3:36pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Museum Senan Chalice and Paten

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 Saint 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.

Ventura Mission Museum Vestments

Picture taken 3:31pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Museum Plaster Fragment

Picture taken 3:31pm 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.

Ventura Mission Museum Missal Stand

Picture taken 3:40pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Museum Missale Romanum

Picture taken 3:32pm 30 Jan 2012

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. 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.

Ventura Mission Museum Hymnal

Picture taken 3:32pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Museum Monstrance-1

Picture taken 3:33pm 30 Jan 2012

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.

Ventura Mission Museum Thurible

Picture taken 3:35pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Museum Monstrance-2

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 Saint 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.

Ventura Mission Museum Pencil Sketch

Picture taken 3:33pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Museum Nails

Picture taken 3:34pm 30 Jan 2012

Mission San Buenaventura. Pencil sketch on paper from an unknown mid-19th Century artist. 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.

Ventura Mission Museum Wood Fragments

Picture taken 3:34pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura MIssion Museum Door Key

Picture taken 3:34pm 30 Jan 2012

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.

Ventura Mission Museum Ciborium

Picture taken 3:35pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Museum Ciborium Veil

Picture taken 3:36pm 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.

Ventura Mission Museum Cricifix

Picture taken 3:37pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Museum Tray and Cruet

Picture taken 3:39pm 30 Jan 2012

Crucifix. Possibly Spanish, 1st quarter 18th Century. Wood, carved ivory and silk. Tray and Cruets. This brass tray with its cruets was used in the celebration of the liturgy.

Ventura Mission Museum Holy Oil

Picture taken 3:39pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Museum Miniature Aspergillum

Picture taken 3:39pm 30 Jan 2012

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.

Ventura Mission Museum Mirrors

Picture taken 1:33pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Museum Vase

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.

Ventura Mission Museum Holy Water and Aspergillum

Picture taken 3:40pm 30 Jan 2012

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…

Ventura Mission Museum Stiched Basket

Picture taken 3:42pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Museum Flat Basket

Picture taken 3:43pm 30 Jan 2012

Basket that appears to be stitched pieces. Flat basket.

Ventura Mission Museum Utility Basket

Picture taken 3:43pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Museum Many Baskets

Picture taken 3:44pm 30 Jan 2012

Utility basket. And, more…

One cabinet contains portions of the Mission library…

Sacred Library

Ventura Mission Museum Library

Picture taken 3:46pm 30 Jan 2012

Oldest volume in the library. Published in Madrid in 1639.

Ventura Mission Museum Oldest Volume

Picture taken 3:46pm 30 Jan 2012

Hymnal

Ventura Mission Museum Hymnal

Picture taken 3:46pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Museum Cello

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.

Ventura Mission Museum Confessional

Picture taken 3:44pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Museum St John the Baptist

Picture taken 3:55pm 30 Jan 2012

Confessional St. John the Baptist

Ventura Mission Museum Door

Picture taken 3:55pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Museum Tabernacle

Picture taken 3:50pm 30 Jan 2012

Original Mission Door Tabernacle

Ventura Mission Museum First Father Plaque

Picture taken 3:56pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Museum Baby Jesus

Picture taken 3:56pm 30 Jan 2012

First Father Plaque (meaning unknown) Baby Jesus

California Landmark

No landmark plaque exists at this site.