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
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 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:
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:
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.
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.
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?
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