Mission Inn Museum

Mission Inn Museum Preserving, promoting, and sharing the legacy of the National Historic Landmark Mission Inn. Experience our history today.
The Mission Inn Foundation preserves, interprets, and promotes the cultural heritage of the Mission Inn, Riverside, and the surrounding southern California communities through its museum services, educational programs, and outreach activities.
(59)

The Mission Inn Foundation was incorporated in 1976 to assist in the preservation and restoration of the Mission Inn, and originally, to manage the hotel during ownership by the City of Riverside's Redevelopment Agency. The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa is now privately owned by Duane and Kelly Roberts, and the Foundation has a unique role of operating a non-profit museum within a for-profit hotel. The Mission Inn Museum, operated by the Mission Inn Foundation, was opened in 1993, simultaneous with the reopening of the Mission Inn after seven years of extensive renovations. In addition to the museum, the Mission Inn Foundation interprets the history and significance of the Mission Inn along with the story of its patriarch, Frank Miller, and family through daily hotel tours, monthly public programs and special events, the Hands On History educational initiative, and the continued stewardship of the hotel's expansive art, artifact, and archival collections.

Mission: The Mission Inn Foundation preserves, interprets, and promotes the cultural heritage of the Mission Inn, Riverside, and the surrounding southern California communities through its museum services, educational programs, and outreach activities

The Cloister Wing, originally called the Monastery, is the second of the four wings that make up the Mission Inn, crowne...
05/01/2020

The Cloister Wing, originally called the Monastery, is the second of the four wings that make up the Mission Inn, crowned with the Inn's first dome—the Carmel Dome.🕌

Built between 1909 and 1911 by architect Arthur Benton, this addition to the hotel opened in July 1911 to great excitement. Instead of romanticizing the architecture of the California missions, as the Mission Wing of the Inn did, the Cloister Wing outright copied them. The supporting buttresses along Orange Street are copied from those at Mission San Gabriel, while the flying buttresses that arch over the sidewalk are patterned after ones from a mission in Texas.

In addition to adding some 45 guest rooms, the Cloister Wing contained the popular music room with St. Cecilia stained glass windows (see posting from February 29) and the camera obscura that resided on the interior of the Carmel Dome.

The facade of this addition, facing Sixth Street, is a stretched upwards copy of the chapel facade at the Mission San Carlos Borromeo in Carmel. Completing the copy of the Carmel Mission facade is a replica of the signature dome that is iconic of the mission and the starburst window centered in the upper portion of the facade.

Folklore at the Inn states that Frank Miller sought to buy the dome from the Carmel Mission and when he was turned down, he returned to the Inn and had his artisans build a larger dome. While the story is not confirmed and the logistics of buying an adobe dome are questionable at best, it is stories like this that remain in the oral histories surrounding the Inn.

Known to architects as a hemispherical dome, the elongated rounded dome had four porthole openings created in each direction to allow for telescope viewing of the city. Something that was likely done specifically for Frank's sister, Alice Miller Richardson, who had a fondness for astronomy and star-gazing, the dome was open to guests looking for an astronomical experience. The Carmel Dome also served as an art studio for Mission Inn muralist Charles Tanner.

A June 6, 1909 article from the Los Angeles Times states that the ground floor corner of the Carmel Tower would house a smaller music room off of the stage of the Inn’s monumental Music Room. This small room, now used for storage, is referred to as the Carmel Room and served as an art studio for Armenian painter Hovsep Pushman during his time in Riverside with his family from 1916-1919. The article goes on to showcase a camera obscura within the Cloister Wing’s dome that would “reflect a wonderful panorama of mountains, foothills, and valleys”.

As the years went on at the Inn, the Cloister Wing proved to stand the test of time. With much credit given to the use of reinforced concrete for the construction of this and the later wings of the hotel, structural restoration of the addition was minimal.

Today, the Carmel Dome no longer serves as a functioning camera obscura or observation space but remains as one of the more popular images of the Inn with its vibrant orange color against the clear, blue Riverside sky.

(Excerpts from Riverside’s Mission Inn by Steve Lech & Mission Inn Foundation Archives.)

Hello Friends!This has been a trying time for all of us, with the health and safety of our staff, volunteers and patrons...
04/28/2020

Hello Friends!

This has been a trying time for all of us, with the health and safety of our staff, volunteers and patrons on our minds and our doors closed to the public. For the time being, the Mission Inn Foundation will not conduct tours, host special events, or open the gift store until we receive guidance from state and local authorities on when and how to do so safely. We hope to host our delayed events later this year with an eye to creating a safe and fun atmosphere and will be announcing new dates in the near future.

We know that that the closing of our local economy has impacted everyone to some degree, and the Mission Inn Foundation has also felt the brunt of this tumultuous time. In the spirit of #GivingTuesdayNow, we are asking for your support to help bridge the gap between now and when we are able to reopen our doors. While we cannot give tours or host programs at this moment, our team is creating digital learning opportunities for both adults and youth. Deep-dive explorations of Mission Inn history are posted weekly, as well as historic Riverside inspired crafting projects that bring a bit of the Mission Inn to your home. We are taking this time to reimagine our programs, exhibits and prepare for a grand reopening. Your support now will enable us to emerge better equipped to share Riverside’s wonderful history with our community.

Please consider making a donation to the Mission Inn Foundation. We will get through this together!
Stay healthy!

Jarod Hoogland, Executive Director
Mission Inn Foundation

https://app.donorview.com/v6G4m

Mission Inn Museum's cover photo
04/28/2020

Mission Inn Museum's cover photo

This week’s in-home activity allows you to look at the International Rotunda Wing. We look at one of the Rotunda’s most ...
04/27/2020

This week’s in-home activity allows you to look at the International Rotunda Wing. We look at one of the Rotunda’s most unique and (probably) unknown features, the 49 ceramic
tiles that line the walls, which showcase over 30 countries.
Go to www.missioninnmuseum.org/learn/fun to learn about several of these tiles and the countries featured on them.

We invite you to take part in creating your own Mission Inn Tile! Do not forget to share a picture of your tile with us! Comment on this post or email it to [email protected]

#MIFtile #EDUMondays #MIF #crafting #Riverside #peace #FrankMiller #education #USA #juanbautistadeanza #GreatBritain #andrewcarnegie #carnegie #missioninnhotel #Japan #France

Much of Frank Miller’s eclectic collection is often believed to be solely Europe-centric, however the Inn’s collections ...
04/24/2020

Much of Frank Miller’s eclectic collection is often believed to be solely Europe-centric, however the Inn’s collections have enormous Asian influence with this Amedabha Buddha serving as patriarch.🎎

As Frank’s world travels continued, in May of 1925 he along with his wife, Marion Clark Miller, and sister, Alice Miller Richardson set off for a trip through China and Japan. After a month’s sea voyage the Miller’s docked in Yokohama and later traveling to Hakoni, where they were warmly entertained by government officials and various Japanese-American societies.

After being away for six months and visiting more than the originally planned China and Japan (adding the Hawaiian Islands and the Philippines to the trip), the Miller’s were back in Riverside in late November of 1925. Frank marveled at how impressed he was with Japanese life, culture and art—buying many new items for the Inn on this trip.

In 1926, a specific room on the second story of the Inn was set aside for Asian art, but one room would not be enough for the collection that significantly expanded in 1928 and 1929. With more Asian objects and little space to display them, Frank ordered the building of new exhibition rooms. Adding to the existing Fuji-Kan Room would be the Pagoda Room, an oriental tea garden and the Ho-o-Kan Room which was also called the “Temple of the Buddha” for its prominent displaying of the Amedabha Buddha.

As one enters the Ho-o-Kan Room, the Buddha sits in a prominent location, measures over eight feet in height and greets guests that enter this Asian inspired portion of the Inn. This serene figure was made in Japan during the Tokugawa period (1615-1868) of wood, gilt, and lacquer. Frank purchased this massive Buddha while on that six month journey through Asia in 1925. It is believed to have come from a temple in Japan that had been destroyed and its remaining contents put up for sale. While in the temple in Japan, much of the red lacquer that once covered the Buddha’s knees and hands had been rubbed off by the hands of visitors wishing to touch the spiritual figure. The Buddha took over two years to be transported from Japan to the Inn.

This heroic figure sits on an eight-sided lotus blossom, symbolizing the lotus rising from a murky pond in its pristine whiteness—the lotus blossom in this statute has multiple gold leaf layers rather than being a radiant white color like often depicted. The lotus blossom is an analogy for the Buddha, as he rises out of the murky world in all of his purity.

The elongated ears show that the Buddha was born of the noble class and gave up his regal life to search for spiritual enlightenment. Other symbols in this carved statue include the “urna”, a white curl between his eyes, from which emits the light that illuminates the universe. In the center of his forehead is the “ushnisha”, the crystal circle symbolizing wisdom and enlightenment. Hand gestures are very important for each Buddha, they are known as “mudras” and the gestures of this Buddha is the mudra of meditation.

Throughout the years, the Ho-o-Kan Room and surrounding spaces have gone through many cosmetic changes. For a number of years, the Buddha sat in the corner of the room, overlooking a mirrored bar that served as an Asian inspired lounge. This was documented in the 1975 movie, “The Wild Party” that was filmed at the Inn and starred actress Raquel Welch—her dancing near, on, and around the Buddha bar has become an infamous story at the Inn.

During the 1980’s restoration the bar was removed and the Ho-o-Kan room was returned to a meeting room. In 2014, an extensive remodel was done to the room—removing the pink wallpaper and aged carpet to create a lighter space to better showcase the room’s many artifacts.

Today as the Amedabha Buddha sits aloft in the Ho-o-Kan room, its contemplative stance is a symbol of the harmony and cohesion of Frank’s combination of the many Asian cultural art pieces that have come to find their home at the Inn.

(Excerpts from Historic Mission Inn & The Mission Inn: Its History and Artifacts.)

Hello Mission Inn Fans! We are excited to announce the release of our next in-home activity! Take a dive into the histor...
04/20/2020

Hello Mission Inn Fans! We are excited to announce the release of our next in-home activity! Take a dive into the history of our International Shrine of Aviators AKA the St. Francis Chapel.
We explore the “Wall of Wings” outside the St. Francis Chapel and the numerous aviators that have placed their signed wings on the wall, including Orville Wright!
We invite you to take part in decorating a pair of wings and placing them on your wall at home! www.missioninnmuseum.org/learn/fun Do not forget to share a picture of your wings with us! Comment on this post or email it to [email protected]
#MIFwings #EDUMondays #MIF #crafting #Riverside #aviation #aviators #ameliaearhart #orvillewright #wrightbrothers #charleslindbergh

The first and the largest of the Mission Inn's water features is a rock waterfall and pond along Mission Inn Avenue, ref...
04/17/2020

The first and the largest of the Mission Inn's water features is a rock waterfall and pond along Mission Inn Avenue, referred to as the "Ito Fountain"⛲️

Named after its builder, Chotaro Ito, this fountain became the final stop by many guests as they left the Inn, tossing a coin into the pond basin and wishing for a future return to the eclectic Inn—similar to the tradition of the Trevi Fountain in Rome.

Someone who would become an important creator on the Inn's grounds, Chotaro Ito left Japan around 1890 when he was about 20 years old, worked in Hawaii for some years and then came to the mainland United States. Ito worked on farms in California before settling in Riverside and becoming the head gardener at the Inn.

During a time of great prosperity in Riverside and the verge of immense growth and changes for the Inn, then the Glenwood, Ito landscaped the property as the Mission Wing of the hotel took shape. It was after the turn of the 20th century that Ito built the waterfall abutting a brick perimeter wall that separated the patio off of the Miller family's suite and the street. The sounds of the tumbling water cascading into a bubbling pond could mask the noises of busy Seventh Street, now Mission Inn Avenue. The design of the waterfall is credited to Douglas Tolerton, the nephew of one of the Inn's architects, Arthur Benton.

Following Chotaro Ito's handiwork on the grounds of the Inn, he later started his own nursery business and is listed in the 1911 Riverside City Directory as the proprietor of the Mission Nursery located at 452 Seventh Street.

As years went on, not only was the fountain a special last stop for guests but it also was a very popular place to have photos taken. Countless portraits remain of guests posed along the faux rock pond dating from the 1920's through the 1970's. From these pictures one can see the changing of the decor and smaller fountains that adorned the larger waterfall.

Initially, the Cordova stone that Frank Miller acquired from Spain and would later top the Spanish Patio fountain rested as a smaller fountain in the pond basin, then decorative bird statues found their home in the cascading feature followed by a statue of a woman holding two pitchers of overflowing water and now a statue of a Grecian deity—along with countless other exchanges in between. Today the waterfall is the focal point of the Inn's Las Campanas restaurant.

In popular American history, the surname of the waterfall builder, "Ito" became familiar to many Americans when one of Chotaro Ito’s grandsons, Lance, presided over the O. J. Simpson trial.

In an interview in 2010 James Ito, one of Chotaro’s sons, talked about his father’s landscaping work at the Mission Inn and was happy “the waterfall is still there” greeting guests and encouraging them to return.

(Excerpts from Mission Inn Foundation archives & research provided by Nancy Follett. Various images courtesy of Michael Bussee & Mary Carpenter.)

04/13/2020

Check out our NEW weekly at-home activity! We are starting to learn about the architecture that composes the Mission Inn Hotel. We are exploring the “Mission Wing” and the “Court of the Birds”.
We invite you to take part in the Greeting Card Activity, featuring the Campanario. www.missioninnmuseum.org/learn/fun
We hope you can send family and friends a little piece of Riverside to remind them how much you miss them! Don’t forget to share it with us as well. Comment on this post with a picture of your creative Greeting Card with #MIFgreetings or email it to [email protected]
As usual the best Greeting Card will receive a FREE Mission Inn Museum Family Membership ($100 value) Check out member benefits here: https://missioninnmuseum.org/shop/membership/
#MIFgreetings #EDUMondays #MIF #crafting #riversidecalifornia #missioninnhotel

The Easter season was always one of great joy at the Inn. In particular for Frank Miller’s wife, Marion Clark Miller, ye...
04/12/2020

The Easter season was always one of great joy at the Inn. In particular for Frank Miller’s wife, Marion Clark Miller, yearly personal greeting cards commemorating the holiday, and penned by Mrs. Miller, were common treasures found in many mailboxes around Riverside.📬

While this year Easter may look a little different—being separated from loved ones, unable to be gathered for the iconic sunrise service on Mount Rubidoux or the absence of other special holiday celebrations, the hope for brighter days ahead remains. In the spirit of Easter, we at the Mission Inn Foundation & Museum wish you peace and love during these uncertain times. Stay safe and healthy—future Easter celebrations are waiting.

(Easter greeting cards from Mrs. Marion Clark Miller 1929, 1930, and 1936)

Following the Riverside tradition of the Easter sunrise service that took place at the top of Mount Rubidoux starting in...
04/10/2020

Following the Riverside tradition of the Easter sunrise service that took place at the top of Mount Rubidoux starting in 1909, a large Easter celebration ensued at the Inn's main dining room. 🥕🐇

Lavish decorations of palm branches, Easter lilies and calla lilies lined the main aisle into the California dining room, flanking the massive wooden beams in the Mission Wing.

In 1947, celebrating nearly forty years of its Easter celebration, the Inn had over fifty tables filling the dining room with hundreds of guests choosing from the Inn's best Easter dinner buffets.

Easter at the Mission Inn was one of the hottest tickets in town—take a look at the delicious spread put forth for the guests by the chefs at the Inn!

The words of urban-reformist and photographer, Jacob Riis on April 4, 1909, calling Mount Rubidoux a sacred place that g...
04/08/2020

The words of urban-reformist and photographer, Jacob Riis on April 4, 1909, calling Mount Rubidoux a sacred place that goes straight to the hearts of men and women, gave Frank Miller an idea of having a 100-person ceremony on the top of Mount Rubidoux for the sunrise of Easter that following Sunday, April 11, 1909—close to 111 Easters ago to the day.

The hundred guests that Easter dawn saw the beauty of the sunrise as it lit the peaks of the Sierra, the soft green reflection of the orange groves in morning light and awed at the beauty of Riverside from the Mount. All those in attendance felt that the summit of Mount Rubidoux at sunrise on Easter Sunday was a place of inspiration and that the service should become an annual event.

Just two years later the service had over fifteen hundred in attendance. As the popularity grew, so did the extravagance of the ceremony. In 1915, the Serra Cross at the top of the mountain was outlined in jewels with spotlights reflecting vibrant colors from midnight until dawn. The service began with horns and choral groups from Riverside, San Bernardino, Corona and Los Angeles to usher in the celebration.

Starting in 1922 the attendance had enlarged so much that assistance up the mountain to manage the crowds was necessary. Boy Scouts from around the region served as guides on the trails—a near hundred-year tradition that continues today.

It was this this tradition that began in Riverside in 1909 that was the first in the United States. Soon after, Easter sunrise services across the nation developed. Today, and nearly every Easter since that April day in 1909, countless people from Riverside and beyond gather at the top of Mount Rubidoux to celebrate the Easter season. This year the sunrise service has been cancelled in an effort to protect the health and well being of all. However, in the spirit of Frank Miller, the tradition continues and planning will soon begin for next year's service.

(Excerpts from The Story of Mt. Rubidoux by DeWitt Hutchings)

Address

3696 Main St
Riverside, CA
92501

Opening Hours

Monday 09:30 - 16:30
Tuesday 09:30 - 16:30
Wednesday 09:30 - 16:30
Thursday 09:30 - 16:30
Friday 09:30 - 16:30
Saturday 09:30 - 16:30
Sunday 09:30 - 16:30

Telephone

(951) 788-9556

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Mission Inn Museum posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to Mission Inn Museum:

Videos

Our Story

The Mission Inn Museum is run by the non-profit Mission Inn Foundation, which was incorporated in 1976 to assist in the preservation and restoration of the Mission Inn, and originally, to manage the hotel during ownership by the City of Riverside's Redevelopment Agency. The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa is now privately owned by Duane and Kelly Roberts, and the Foundation has a unique role of operating a non-profit museum within a for-profit hotel. The Mission Inn Museum was opened in 1993, simultaneous with the reopening of the Mission Inn after seven years of extensive renovations. In addition to the museum, the Mission Inn Foundation interprets the history and significance of the Mission Inn along with the story of its patriarch, Frank Miller, and family through daily hotel tours, monthly public programs and special events, the Hands On History educational initiative, and the continued stewardship of the hotel's expansive art, artifact, and archival collections.

Nearby museums


Other Community Museums in Riverside

Show All

Comments

Enjoyed a charming, unique and informative tour by your Ambassadors-- what a courteous and sharp group! I thought I knew a lot about the Mission Inn but I learned much and appreciated their courtesy and concern for our safety as we strolled outside the Mission Inn and each young man pointed out unique features and historical artifacts. Highly recommended! And a stroll across the Mall to Mrs Tiggy Winkles brings one to one of the most whimsical and attractively-arranged gift shops of unique items!
Ready, Set, Gooooo!!!!