By Monica Orozco
The 31st annual California Mission Studies Association conference was held February 14-16. The venues included Hearst Castle, Rancho Paso de Robles, and Mission San Antonio de Padua. The weekend began with a tour of Hearst Castle on Friday, led by CMSA board member Ty Smith, Chief of Museum Interpretation at Hearst Castle. Friday evening was a welcoming reception and registration in Paso Robles with music provided by CMSA board member John Warren, director of the New World Baroque Orchestra.
Everyone gathered early Saturday morning at Mission San Antonio de Padua for a day-long session of papers on topics related to the theme for the conference, “Ranchos, y Vaqueros: Missions and Mission Land After Secularization.” The papers represented a diverse group of projects. It was inspiring to hear about the many efforts under way to restore or preserve Missions, historic adobes, and presidios, as well as the scholarly work being undertaken to expand our knowledge of secularization of the missions and the Rancho period in California.
The conference ended with a banquet and awards ceremony at the Paso Robles Inn on Saturday night. I shared a table with Anne Petersen, Associate Director of Historical Resources at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP), Mary Louise Days, former Santa Barbara City Historian and Board Member at SBTHP, Donna and Garry Gillette, and Mr. and Mrs. Nels Roselund. Donna, an archaeologist, is very active in the efforts to preserve the Dana Adobe in Nipomo and Nels, an engineer, has played an important role in the restoration efforts at Mission Santa Barbara.
The highlight of the banquet on Saturday was the recognition of three individuals who have made significant contributions to CMSA and the study of early California. Glenn Farris was presented with the 2014 Norman Neuerburg Award in recognition of his dedication to CMSA and his work as an archaeologist for California State Parks. The 2014 Edna Kimbro Award recipient was Dan Krieger, past president of CMSA. He is well-known for his teaching career at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and his work on the Rancho Nipomo Dan Adobe, as well as other preservation projects. John Warren was the recipient of the 2014 CMSA President’s Award. As director of the New World Baroque Orchestra, Warrren has played an important role in the research of the music of the Mission and Rancho periods and developed programs which help teach school children and others about the important role music played in Mission life.
It was a wonderful conference in which so many people with a great love for Mission, Presidio, and Rancho history of California could gather and share their knowledge and enthusiasm. Congratulations to the California Mission Studies Association, especially the Board of Directors led by David A. Bolton and all the volunteers, for planning and staging such a wonderful event!