Mission San Juan Capistrano has been home to several exhibits and art exhibitions throughout the years. Both the West Wing and Historic Sala have housed these temporary exhibits. Pieces from the permanent collection are housed in our historic archives for safe keeping and from time to time will be put back on display. View the digital archives.
Mission San Juan Capistrano Presents “En Plein Air”
Featuring Plein Air art from the early 1900s to 2016 from the Mission’s collection. The term “en plein air” literally means “open air”. The term refers to a style of painting that grew from French Impressionism in the late 1800s and thrives to this day. Plein air paintings are painted out doors allowing the artist to capture the light and colors in a scene. This style of painting became possible in the late 1800s with the invention of the portable paint tube which allowed artists to take their supplies with them anywhere rather than being confined to a studio and painting from memory.
Closed permanently on May 31, 2021
The Lincoln Document
Just 3 weeks before his death, Abraham Lincoln signed the original Patent of Title returning Mission San Juan Capistrano to the Catholic Church after more than 20 years of private ownership. The original Patent of Title, also known as “The Lincoln Document” was on display in the Mission Treasures Exhibit for a limited time only in honor of Presidents’ Day. The Lincoln Document hadn’t been on display in over a decade and is normally housed in the Mission’s archives for preservation and safe keeping.
Was Temporarily on Display for Presidents Day Weekend February 13 – February 17, 2020
Spanish Colonial Room
Located in the West Wing, the exhibit featured original artwork from the 18th and 19th centuries as a way to explore the Mission’s founding period from 1776 to 1821. The exhibit also addressed the history of Spain’s colonization of California, the purpose of the missions in forming Spanish communities, and the changes and challenges the indigenous people faced in the wake of colonization.
Closed permanently on March 10, 2019
Worth A Visit
Located in the historic Sala, the exhibit highlighted rarely seen vintage photos from Mission San Juan Capistrano‘s museum and archival photo collection dating to the late 19th and early 20th century.
Closed permanently on October 1, 2018
In the Footsteps of Saint Serra – Laguna Plein Air Painters Association
The Mission Preservation Foundation welcomed the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association for an exclusive, limited time art exhibition in the Soldiers Barracks Gallery at Mission San Juan Capistrano. This exhibit, “In the Footsteps of Saint Serra: Paintings Along El Camino Real,” featured original plein air and studio artwork created specifically for the show by LPAPA’s most elite Signature artists. Artwork focused on California’s golden lands and historic missions in tribute to the founding father of the California mission system, Saint Junipero Serra, who was canonized by Pope Francis on September 23, 2015.
Closed Permanently on December 6, 2015
Camposanto – A Historical Tribute to the Mission Cemetery
Located in the historic Sala, the exhibit paid homage to the landmark Mission Cemetery, which is located east of the Serra Chapel. Historians believe the burials first began in 1781 and continued to about 1850. It is estimated that 3,400 were buried in the “Camposanto,” or “Holy Field.”
Closed permanently on January 5, 2015
Lewis & Clark Exhibit: Expedition Across America
Located in the West Wing, this highly interactive exhibit featured an adjunct photography exhibit, visitors became members of the Corps of Discovery, and in doing so, tried on uniforms and costumes, made a fort, worked on an interactive journal, and spun the Wheel of Misery to find out if they survived their journey. Along the way, visitors learned about Shoshone Indian guide and interpreter, Sacagawea, and her infant son, studied sign language skills, played Native American games, explored animal and plant life and much more!
The exhibit also featured Lewis and Clark Revisited: A Trail in Modern Day, a special photography exhibit organized by Greg MacGregor and the California Exhibition Resources Alliance. Starting from the official beginning of the expedition itself in Saint Charles, Missouri, contemporary photographer Greg MacGregor captured important natural landmarks and waterways in the explorers’ journey.
Closed permanently on March 31, 2011
Located in the West Wing, the exhibit featured original costumes worn by actors Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta Jones from the 2005 film “The Legend of Zorro”. In addition, generations of film goers enjoyed viewing original film props and related items from the films of such stars as Douglas Fairbanks, Tyrone Power and Guy Williams. An array of related Zorro items from pop culture, film, T.V., magazines and books will also be on display for the public’s enjoyment. Since the Zorro’s creation in 1919, nearly every American generation has had the chance to fall in love with the Spanish Fox. Through books, film, and television this world famous character has come to symbolize justice, hope, romance, courage, and timeless entertainment.
Closed permanently on September 6, 2010
Catch Gold Fever! Gold Rush
Located in the West Wing, the exhibit previewed the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill on January 24, 1848, and the frenzied rush to California of gold seekers from around the world. Visitors learned how this restless tide of diverse humanity invaded California, each seeking to change their lives and fortunes. Feel their words and stories. See and touch what they used and did to explore and discover gold in California.
The “Gold Fever! The Untold Stories of the California Gold Rush” traveling exhibition tour was organized by the California Exhibition Resources Alliance (CERA) in concert with the California Council for the Humanities. CERA is a network of professionally operated museums and cultural organizations that collaborate to create and tour smaller, affordable, high quality exhibits that enhance civic engagement and human understanding.
Closed permanently on March 30, 2010
Suzi Chauvel and Siân Poeschl Art
Located in the Soldiers Barracks Gallery, this exhibition featured visual depictions of ageless journeys, through photography on metal and kiln-formed glass.
Closed permanently on January 5, 2010
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