Tours, travels, hikes and journeys!

Yesterday was the Free 3rd Tuesday Museum Day at Balboa Park, in San Diego, CA, so I headed over to go to a couple museums. I had hoped to go to the Japanese Gardens, too, but had saved it for last and oddly, they closed at 3:00 pm. So I missed that. I love just walking around Balboa park, and for regular readers of this blog, you’ve seen pictures of my various wanderings there. Sometimes I just go and sit against a tree and read a book. Other times I find various events happening. Yesterday I went into two museums and walked through Alcazar Garden.

The first museum I went into yesterday was the Mingea International Museum. So far, of all the museums I’ve toured, this is my favorite. Yesterday the main exhibit was a lovely photo and display of Black dolls made between 1850-1940, for black family and community and also for the white charges of the African American women. These photos and dolls were from the collection of Deborah Neff. There were photos of white children dressed up and holding these dolls and black children dressed up holding these dolls. I attempted to take pictures of some of the dolls but the lighting was too dark for my phone camera and my knowledge of how to use it. Flash wasn’t allowed in the museum. I loved the attention to detail in the faces and the clothing of those of the dolls clothed, There were dolls depicting all ages, from young to mature. I could feel all the love that had been put into the making and also cherishing of these dolls over the years.

Exhibition of Black Dolls Mingea

The other main collection was called Three on the Edge- Architecture of local architects Kendrick Bango Kellogg, James T. Hubbell and Wallace Cunningham. All three were influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright. There were photos, models and a film to display their work. I didn’t take any photos, sorry. I especially loved James T. Hubbell’s work and am going to look into traveling to his community. I love how rounded, whimsical and earth based his work appears, and resonated with it more than the other two architects who use more modern, glass and concrete styles. Their buildings are certainly beautiful and striking but I just related more to the sculptured and rounded look of Hubbell’s work. Here is a link to his foundation at Santa Ysabel, CA.

In wandering through Mingea, I did take a few photos. There were displays of old toys, beautiful carved wood furniture, sculptures and bowls, even beautiful bowls made from leaves. I attempted a photo of that but it didn’t turn out well.

Here is a photo of a baby doll house from 1750. The detail in the rooms, figures and furnishings was amazing.

1750 Baby Doll House Mingea Museum

The piece next to the doll house was this very magical piece called “Palace for Wednesday”, made by Alice Hudson in 1981. It was displayed on a revolving base so all of it could be seen. From top to bottom, there were so many rooms, figures, and actions depicted. The fabric used was very delicate and otherworldly. A young woman viewing it with me explained that she often comes to visit it and thinks of it often. I was grateful to have experienced the moment with her.

Alice Hudson 1981 Palace for Wednesday Mingea

In art class I had loved creating linoleum block prints and working with batik so was stunned by an entire wall of batik tiles from 1900-1925. They looked like art creations as they are, and not just as a tool to create art.

1900 to 1925 Batik tiles

There was a display about beads from different countries and different eras. I took some pictures to use as inspiration to make some necklaces but the photos didn’t turn out clear enough to share.

The next museum I visited was the San Diego Art Institute. Their main exhibition right now is called “San Diego Keeps Her Promise: Balboa Park at 100”. There were new works made from various media to commemorate the Balboa Park Exposition Centennial, representing past, present and future. One of the displays explored the Nudist Colony that used to be in Zorro Garden at the park. There was a small room display showing funny caricatures depicting how the US stole Panama from Columbia. My favorite piece in the main exhibition was called “Balboa Stories”. Brian Goeltzenleuchter and Charmaine Banach interviewed people asking them about stories from their visits to Balboa Park. They then gathered scents from those places, mixing up similar scents and placing them in bottles. The bottles were color coded, and you could smell them and then refer to a map to see where the scent came from and a line from their story. There was a stack of maps so you could take one and follow the scents if you chose to.

Balboa Stories Art Institute 100 Year exposition exhibit

Balboa stories 2

Lastly, I walked through Alcazar Garden. It is presently under renovation but there were a couple plots planted for spring. This is a picture of a lovely fountain in front of one of the garden plots.

Alcazar Garden fountain

I hope you have enjoyed my walk through Balboa park and a couple of its museums. If you are local, go check it out!!!


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