San Diego Historical Landmarks: #1–El Prado Area Designation, part 7

San Diego Historical Landmarks

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 1

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 2

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 3

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 4

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 5

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 6

El Prado Area Designation

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Continuing from west to east on El Prado, we’re about halfway finished with our El Prado Area Designation tour. Next up is the Mingei International Museum.

Mingei International Museum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mingei International Museum in San Diego's Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mingei International Museum was founded in 1978 by Martha Longenecker, a professor of art at San Diego State University. She had studied pottery-making in Japan and became acquainted with the founders and leaders of the Mingei Association of Japan, inspiring her to carry the vision of mingei to the America. According to Wikipedia, “The philosophical pillar of mingei is ‘hand-crafted art of ordinary people.’” Therein lies the goal of the Mingei International Museum, to collect, conserve, and exhibit arts of daily use, from unknown craftsmen of ancient times to present-day craftsmen.

Before you ever walk through the doors of the museum, the children want to stop and play on this:

Mingei International Museum in San Diego's Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That is a big alligator. It belongs to the Museum, and the Museum’s web site tells you not to leave Balboa Park “until you’ve climbed it, touched it, walked under it, and posed for a photo.”

The inaugural exhibition of Mingei International Museum was Dolls and Folk Toys of the World. Throughout the ensuring years, Mingei has shared hundreds of exhibitions featuring a wide range of cultures, themes, and media.

Two of my favorite exhibitions were the Bold Expressions exhibit in 2011, and the Maneki Neko exhibit in 2011-2012.

Bold Expressions was an exhibit of African American Quilts from the Collection of Corrine Riley, showcasing quilts from the American South made between 1910 and the 1970s:

Quilt from the American South

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Maneki Neko exhibit didn’t appeal to me initially when I saw it on the 2010 list of upcoming exhibitions. However, after I read about maneki neko, I realized that I had one! Yes! Maneki neko means “beckoning cat,” but I always thought they were waving cats.

Beckoning cats

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Beckoning cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Read more about maneki neko at Wikipedia.

Zoey the Cool Cat encouraged me to go see her Japanese cousins, so I did, of course.

The other cool thing about the Museum’s exhibit of maneki neko is that the collection was donated to the Museum by Billie Moffitt of Long Beach, California. True tennis fans recognize the name as none other than the great and incomparable Billie Jean King, winner of 39 Grand Slam tennis titles. Moffitt was her maiden name.

Current exhibitions:

  • Function and Fantasy (through May 26, 2014)—Steven and William Ladd are brothers working with beads, fabric, and boxes to express their shared memories of family life in Missouri.
  • Log Cabin Quilts (through July 3, 2014)—Features Log Cabin quilts from a collection of 350 quilts given to the Museum in 2012 by local collectors Pat and Tom Nickols. A Log Cabin quilt is formed in squares known as blocks, each with a central small square surrounded by bars or logs.
  • Huyler’s Pure Delicious Chocolate, 1874-1925 (through August 17, 2014)—Explores the 50-year advertising and marketing history of one of the nation’s earliest, largest, and most prominent chocolate manufacturers.

Mingei International Museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed on Mondays and “most national holidays,” which, I guess, means to check their web site for closings.

Cost is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors age 62 and over, $5 for youth age 6-17, $5 for students with ID and military with ID. Members and children under age 6 get in free!

Also, on the third Tuesday of each month, free admission is given to all San Diego County residents, students at local colleges and universities (ID required), active duty military with ID, and, quoting from the web site, “part-time residents/vacation home owners (except time share owners).” Now how in the world do they determine that you’re a time share owner?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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25 thoughts on “San Diego Historical Landmarks: #1–El Prado Area Designation, part 7

  1. philipfontana

    Russel, San Diego’s historical landmarks is an ambitious undertaking & quite unusual in your thoroughness. My compliments! We need more such treatments around the USA!!! Phil

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      It combines my love of history with my love of real estate with my love of photography.

      I quit doing a lot of things when I started having WordPress problems on January 2, 2014. I spent so much time waiting on WordPress blogs to load, the comment box to load and post, the LIKE buttons to load. And after all this time, WordPress wasn’t completely at fault. Mostly Internet Explorer 10.

      It feels good to get back to some of my more interesting series of posts.

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  2. Halim

    So now I know they’re called Maneki Neko. Thanks, Russel.

    After one of my cats ‘accidentally’ scratched me while being over-playful, the next time I looked at a Maneki Neko I decided the pose was “let me scratch your eyeballs out.” Now I know they’re just beckoning 🙂 Cheers!

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  3. kanzensakura

    As soon as I read “bowling green” my brain went….and then you stated you had never seen them used. Sad. but Glad I had my question answered.

    I also see you have been camping on my site. Thank you!

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  4. Pingback: Blog love | Russel Ray Photos

  5. The Presents of Presence

    I try to learn something new everyday ~ and you always help! I thought they were waving cats myself! Glad to learn a lil’ something new today ~ and Zoey looks like she’s waving through the yogurt box as well! 🙂

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  6. Pingback: San Diego Historical Landmarks–#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 8 | Russel Ray Photos

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  9. Pingback: San Diego Historical Landmarks—#1: El Prado Designation Area, part 11 | Russel Ray Photos

  10. Pingback: San Diego Historical Landmarks—#1: El Prado Designation Area, part 12 | Russel Ray Photos

  11. Pingback: San Diego Historical Landmarks—#1: El Prado Designation Area, part 13 | Russel Ray Photos

  12. Pingback: San Diego Historical Landmarks — #1: El Prado Area Designation, part 14 | Russel Ray Photos

  13. Pingback: San Diego Historical Landmarks — #1: El Prado Area Designation, part 15 | Russel Ray Photos

  14. Pingback: San Diego Historical Landmarks — #1: El Prado Area Designation, part 16 | Russel Ray Photos

  15. Pingback: San Diego Historical Landmarks — #1: El Prado Area Designation, part 17 | Russel Ray Photos

  16. Pingback: San Diego Historical Landmarks — #1: El Prado Area Designation, part 18 | Russel Ray Photos

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