In Gratitude: Veterans of the Bowers Collections

Armistice Day Parade, c. 1920Unknown photographer; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 4 x 6 in.35223DGift of Mrs. Stella May Preble Nau Estate The Great War The worst war that the world had ever known ended on November 11th, 1918. Exactly a year later Woodrow Wilson led his countrymen in observing Armistice Day to honor the lasting peace that...

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Bowers Museum’s South Coast Plaza Display

Bowers Museum's display at South Coast Plaza's Jewel Court, image from Bowers' Exhibit Design Department Trip to the Mall The Bowers Museum is very excited to be collaborating with South Coast Plaza on a temporary display in their Jewel Court that both promotes our upcoming Fall/Winter exhibitions and includes five cases of highlights from the Bowe...

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Dolls From A to Mitzi

Jacqueline Kennedy Mitzi Doll, 1960-1962Ideal Toy Company (1907-1997); Hollis, Queens, New YorkPlastic, paint, and fabric; 11 ½ in.37944Gift of Mrs. Lilian Norman Gally Doling out Doll Facts Barbie (2023) has driven its dream car past a biopic on the father of thermonuclear weapons to become this summer’s biggest blockbuster film. While dolls ...

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Orpha Klinker: History on Canvas, Paper, and Platter

General Sherman Tree Commemorative Plate, 1946-1950Made by Vernon Kilns; Designed by Orpha Klinker (American, 1891-1964); Text by Harrye Forbes (American, 1861-1951)Fired ceramic; 10 in.31737.1Evylena Nunn Miller Memorial Collection California Legacies History is all around us: the buildings that we inhabit, work, and shop in; the roads we drive; t...

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Tiki Figures: Reflections of Gods and Men

Composite of F81.1.1 (Bowers Museum Purchase) and Village in Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands by D Urville (colorized and modified), 1842  A Higher Bar When most Americans hear the word tiki, their mind is transported to the pseudo-Polynesian, pantropical, rum-fueled melting pot that is the American tiki bar. But as American tiki...

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NFTs at the Bowers Museum

Composite made with NFTs (39135)Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence R. Macaray Way of the Future Are NFTs the way of the future? Many of the smartest minds of today feel that NFTs may one day find their place among other cutting-edge developments of their day like Betamax and HD DVD. Given that these burgeoning assets run little risk of disappearing in...

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Black Jazz Performers as Photographed by Leigh Wiener

Detail of Steinway for Duke, March 1961Leigh A. Wiener (American, 1929-1993); Berlin, GermanyGelatin silver print on ektalure paper; 16 × 20 in.87.6.7Gift of Leigh A. Wiener. ©Leigh Wiener / 7410 Inc. All rights reserved Black History Month Many of the most famous American musicians and singers from the 20th and 21st centuries are Black artists. In...

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Crossbows of the Montagnard Peoples

Crossbow, 1960sMontagnard culture; Central Highlands region, VietnamWood and bamboo fiber; 28 × 2 × 40 1/2 in.2021.7.9a-cAnonymous Gift Enemy’s Enemy During the Vietnam War the United States and South Vietnam allied with some of the Indigenous peoples of the country’s Central Highlands. Collectively called the Montagnard peoples—a name derived from...

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The Strenuous Life: Teddy Roosevelt and Santa Ana High

Detail of The Strenuous Life Playbill, June 23, 1909Hickox Photo; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print81.11.20DGift of Mrs. D.C. Edwards Life Well Toiled What does it mean to live a good life? For most it is connected to the idea of individual happiness, community connectedness, ethical decision-making, healthy eating or any one of an infinite n...

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Cinco de Mayo: Celebrating One of Orange County’s First Mexican Americans

Pío Pico's Carriage, 19th CenturyCaliforniaMetal, wood and leather; 57 3/4 × 57 1/2 × 132 in.3945Gift of Mrs. Thomas L. McFadden Shared Birthday Holidays, like all traditions, change over time; this is especially true of Cinco de Mayo. Its origin dates back to May 5, 1862 when a relatively small Mexican force repelled a much larger, better-equipped...

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Prohibition on Flying: The Ungroundable “Wrong Way” Corrigan

Edited Campaign Poster for Douglas Corrigan, 1946American Way Committee and Majestic Poster Press; Inglewood, CaliforniaPaper and ink; 11 x 14 in.93.8.2Gift of Ms. Rosamond Markin St. Patrick’s Day Airshow A day most often paired with green beer, statistically improbable displays of four-leaf clovers, and desperate wishes that the pinch-happy among...

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The Xth Olympiad Turns Ninety

Field and Seating Area of the Olympic Stadium, 1932Unknown Photographer; Los Angeles, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 4 1/4 x 2 3/4 in.32352A.1Gift of Lonnie Edward Thompson Beijing Olympics 2: Electric Boogaloo The 2022 Winter Olympics are set to open tomorrow, on February 4, 2022, featuring what promises to be yet another incredible display of athl...

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A Streamlined Thanksgiving

Bowers Thanksgiving Showcase83.33.18a,b, 88.33.34, 359276.6-.7 and 32873.8-.9Gifts of Mr. & Mrs. Edgar L. Marchesini, Miss Muriel Anderson, and Dr. & Mrs. Emory S. Moore, Jr. #FoodMotivated Thanksgiving is on the record as being a day about giving thanks, but a quick analysis of the time your average American gives thanks on the holiday as ...

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Anthony Heinsbergen: Film Palace Forgotten

Collage of Anthony Heinsbergen (Dutch-born American, 1894-1981)  and various designs Let Bygones be Restored In the golden age of film, when cinemas were the vehicles of choice for transporting us to universes unknown, every city in the United States had at least one brilliant theater at its center. Though many have since been demolished, repu...

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Little Hands Waving Farewell

Women Riding a Horse on the Steps of a Building, 1960-1980Rene Laursen Photography (American); Irvine, California Photographic print; 10 x 8 in. 31704.138Gift of Mr. Rene Laursen The Ranking Time is an ocean and a river and a sun-dried puddle—there could always be more of it but most of the time we get by and appreciate what we’ve got. This week th...

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The Bonney Sketch Artist: Avoidant Glimpses of the Civil War

Rogers is So Sleepy, April 20, 1864William Henri Bonney (American, 1841-1867); Camp Nelson, KentuckyPencil on paper; 5 × 8 in.17450Gift of Mr. R. H. Hill Uncivil at Best Causes are just or unjust, but war is indisputably an awful thing for individuals. Fought over slavery and states’ rights, America’s Civil War was the bloodiest in the nation’s his...

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Welcome to Americana: Independence Day at the Bowers

Toile de Jouy Fabric Depicting America's Founding, 18th to 19th CenturyJouy-en-Josas, FrancePrinted linen; 21 x 21 in.7191a,bGift of Mrs. Thomas Walsh Independence Day Though every day is an opportunity to celebrate one’s patriotism, Independence Day is a special opportunity to enjoy things that truly are as American as apple pie. Given that the Un...

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The Bowers Father-Watchers Handbook

J.M. Wyne with Daughter, c. 1918Unknown Photographer; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 7 x 5 1/8 in.34843AGift of Mrs. Charles Snow Dad-ubon Society As Father’s Day again rolls around, this year the Bowers Blog attempts to offer a rare bit of insight into some of the more common variants of fathers endemic to North America. Rarely studied f...

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Eureka: Inventions of the Bowers Museum

The State Exclamation The 7th to 13th of June is Museum Week, an annual global event which celebrates museums. The different days of the week are marked with hashtags or themes through which museums can share their collections. Today’s is #EurekaMW, an opportunity to look at some innovations in our collections which may have prompted the maker to s...

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Flora Batson: The Queen of Song

Detail of 37521Gift of Mr. Carl French Burns Santa Ana Stars Santa Ana has been home to many stars, and a venue for far more. For example, the city’s stages were graced in the late years of the 19th century by the presence of perhaps the best Shakespearean actress of her day, Poland’s Madame Helena Modjeska. However, in those days it would have bee...

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Test of Medal: Charles J. Shaw and the Montford Point Marines

New exhibition on the life of Charles J. Shaw II, running from November 11, 2020 to January 10, 2021 Veteran’s Day Originally marking the armistice ending World War I, Veteran’s Day has become an annual reminder to thank all the brave men and women in the United States armed forces. The Bowers Museum has celebrated this Veteran’s Day with an exhibi...

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Spring Spookfest: Creepy Objects from the Bowers

Prisoner of War Guillotine Model, 1770-1825Maker UnknownBone and pigment; 15 1/2 x 14 x 5 3/4 in. 2011.25.73Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Burton W. Fink Halloween in May With the very possible exception of May gray, there is not much particularly unsettling about the spring months. In fact, they are stalwartly reputed to be upstanding months by most definit...

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Whatsits and Whatnots: Bowers Permanent Collection Oddballs

Detail of 2003.50.37Gift of William R. Moran  Weird and Just Downright Weird As part of an ongoing project to classify the Bowers Museum’s collections, our Collections team has reached many an oddball object that does not easily fall into standard categories. Many more have outlandish or wonderfully rare names. Today’s post is a celebration of...

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Every Federal Employee Deserves Favor: Gifts of State in the Bowers’ Collections

Gold Bracelet, c. 1970JordanianGold and elephant hair; 1 1/8 x 2 1/2 in.77.4.8Gift of United States Government The Gift that Keeps on Taking In the United States there is a price that can be put on changing someone’s mind. It exists in the form of an upper limit for the value of gifts that can be accepted from foreign dignitaries and, given that it...

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J.L. Hubbell: Silver Tongue, Golden Heart and Wool Rugs

Rug, c. 1910Navajo; probably Ganado, ArizonaDyed wool; 65 x 105 in.2019.5.1Gift of Dennis J. Aigner White Hat There is good cause for the romanticizing of the American West: it is a breathtaking part of this nation. Mesas rise from the red earth like monolithic and silent guardians; the skies are distilled blue, endless and not cloudy all day. More...

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Forged in Fire Safety: The First Santa Ana Fire Department

Hook and Ladder Volunteer Firemen of Santa Ana, May 1, 1888Photo by B. F. Conaway; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 8.5 x 5 ¼ in. 2821Gift of John Luxembourger Sunny Santa Ana California William H. Spurgeon and his wife spent a few years in the early 1860s living in Los Angeles until she passed away. Heartbroken, he moved back to the East t...

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Well Trained: The Bowers Museum’s Model Train Collection

Märklin SK800 Steam Locomotive, 1946Gebr. Märklin & Cie. GmbH; Göppingen, GermanyMetal; 7 in.80.78.21Gift of Mr. Richard D. Lusch All Aboard The winter holidays bring with them an array of traditions and customs, most of which date back hundreds and hundreds of years. The tradition featured in this post is a newer one, roughly 130 years of age, and...

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Oh, Say Can You Scrimshaw

Scrimshaw of George Washington, early 19th CenturyUnknown artist (American); North AmericaSperm whale ivory and ink; 5 1/4 x 2 1/2 x 1 1/2 in.2011.25.56Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Burton W. Fink New England, Old American Carvings Independence Day is the annual celebration of all things American. For most, revelries might include fireworks, barbeque, throw...

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