Digital Museum Archives

Explore the Mission’s museum collections digitally through images and videos.


Image Archives on Flickr

Click below to discover rare and never before seen images from our museum archives on Flickr.


Video Archives

Reveal of Station of the Cross XII Painting

In 2013 after completing the Gate House Preservation Project, Mission San Juan Capistrano’s executive director, Mechelle Lawrence Adams decided it was time to investigate the curious painted image of Station 12 in the Serra Chapel as the canvas within that frame did not sit properly. There was no history of the image that sat prominently within the historic Chapel. Working with the museum registrar, Jennifer Ring, and the Preservation Manager, Sam U’Ren, the team brought in art conservator, Susan Brown to investigate the existing Station of the Cross XII painting.

As a result of the investigation, it was revealed that what lay beneath the image was actually the original circa, 1800 Station painting which depicts the Crucifixion. Hidden for 40 years under a replica, the video here shows the exciting discovery! Says Mechelle Lawrence Adams, “It was always my hunch that something was askew about the painting but for the lack of records we all assumed the painting was original. That intuition, to my great relief rather than embarrassment, proved true when Ms. Brown so carefully investigated the situation. It was indeed a very special moment for all of us to witness.”

After its historic discovery the Mission team went on to seek a conservation plan, and with the generous lead matching gift from long time Mission friends, Jan and Honorable H. Warren Siegel, the grand total of $57,000 that was needed to save the painting was raised. The work was ultimately conserved, with the “replica-modern” image also cleaned up and now secure in the archives.

When one visits the historic Serra Chapel and sees the beauty of the Crucifixion painting, they see the contributions of a community that helped to bring the image back to its original state. As part of preservation month we celebrate stewards like the Siegels for helping to bring history back to life.

Click here to learn more about Station of the Cross XII Painting.