We reconnect our community to its history via interactive, historically accurate and intriguing educational programs. Background: In our 3rd year of operations one of our education programs won the California Governor's Award for Historic Conservation Our site location has the enviable characteristic of possessing anthropological layers, allowing us to unearth the changes each Era has brought to one small Mexican Rancho. Our Academic Fellows - all distinguished scholars - allow us to begin with Indigenous cultural history, move through the traditions of the 1700s settlement of Alta California and elaborate on the Mexican Rancho Era through the stories and physical remainders of Rancho Boca de Santa Monica. In the early 19th Century our focus narrows to a single Hacienda, built on what was once Rancho land, that became an artistic and social mecca. Our programs are designed to encompass all age and demographic groups, including significant outreach to low income and minority communities. The historically landmarked 1840s Rancho Boca de Santa Monica family cemetery is the site of our 4th grade history supplement for local elementary schools in a program offering Conservation, Archeology, anthropology, geophysical and restoration education programs taking place within those hallowed grounds. Our Institute is housed in a 1920's era Hacienda that has been the residence of a series of "Old Hollywood" Legends. Built by Tenor Jose Mojica (The Valentino of Mexico) it's Music Salon is the site of our period chamber music; the 1930's brought the Hacienda Anita Loos' Santa Monica Canyon Salons - imagine a typical scene of Gershwin composing on the piano while Einstein argues with Huxley as, across the room we see Anita with friends Mary, Doug, and Charlie (Pickford/Fairbanks/Chaplin) planning a skit for the evening's entertainment. The Hacienda later became the home of Lyle Wheeler (David Selznick's Art Director). The over 600 films produced by these three former residents are screened in our 50-seat theater and introduced by noted lecturers. La Senora also serves by opening its doors and its resources to the Community and enticing the diverse elements of the historical community into collaborative endeavors.
Organizational Growth: Each of the years of our organization's existence have seen a steady growth in the number and quality of our programs with an ever increasing number of volunteers. We have collaborated with virtually all of the local historical organizations; our educational programs have successfully reached a broad demographic ranging from local kindergarteners to Harvard Business School Alumni. We serve on the Advisory Board of the "LA as Subject" Archives Project which grows in community importance not only by the size of the annual exhibitions and speakers but also via the on-line resources being made available to scholars and the general public.
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