By: Renee Montgomery
Visitors to WMA’s Annual Meeting in Palm Springs will find some must-see institutions en route from LAX to Palm Springs. The following three sites, directly off the freeway, will give conference-attendees a taste of three major Southern California eras.
Just 20 minutes outside downtown L.A., right off the 60 freeway, is the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum, originally part of the nearly 49,000-acre Rancho La Puente. Called “one of California’s true historic treasures” by the Smithsonian Institution, this charming site gives visitors an intimate view of the colorful history of Southern California. Dating back to the 1840s in California, the lives of the Workman and Temple families were touched by the eras of the missions and Mexican ranchos, the Mexican-American War, the Gold Rush, and by the development of the SoCal banking and oil booms. Two residences are accessible on a fascinating docent tour- - an 1840s adobe, later updated in a mix of Victorian styles, and a 1920s Spanish Colonial Revival mansion furnished with period artifacts. If you’re into resplendent Mexican and American tile and architectural details, this is the place! Experience the soothing charm of these early residences with their enclosed courtyards, patio fountains, and walkways under graceful arbors.
A WMA-member museum, the Homestead is known for its popular costume-events and gift shop, offering many unique reproductions of vintage children’s toys. The excellently-maintained and operated Homestead is funded by the City of Industry -- with 10 employees and 75 volunteers.
Continue along the Pomona freeway another 30 minutes and you’ll come to our famous In-N-Out Burger stands in Pomona off the Garey Ave. offramp. The original In-N-Out stand in Baldwin Park in 1948 was the first drive-through hamburger joint in Southern California. Act like a native Angeleno and order a “4 X 4, animal style” off the ‘secret menu.’
By the time you reach Banning you’ll be ready for another rest-stop. The Malki Museum is the oldest non-profit museum founded by Native Americans on a California Indian reservation. How cool is it being able to drive onto a modern-day Indian reservation (Morongan)?!! The inspiration for several other Indian museums, the Malki is committed to preserving the cultural traditions and history of the Cahuilla Indians and other southern California Indian tribes. Besides interesting displays, here you’ll find many novel publications on Native-American traditions produced by the Malki’s own academic publishing press.
So as you take three well-spaced rest-stops along your route to Palm Springs, you’ll experience three influential cultures: indigenous peoples, 18th-early 19th century Mexican-American rancheros, and the beginnings of the mid-20th century fast-food industry.
Renee Montgomery is Assistant Director, Risk Management, for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California.