Treasures of Mission Santa Inés

The Mission MuseumThe Santa Inés Mission Museum houses a collection of vestments, artwork, documents, and artifacts that were used in and around the Mission throughout its history. The Museum's existence is due in large part to the care given to the Mission art and artifacts by Father Buckler's niece, Mamie Goulet. It was through her twenty years of effort (1904 to 1924) that many items were cleaned, repaired, and restored to their original beauty.

Repair and restoration work on the Museum building took place during Father Timothy O'Sullivan's term (1950s-60s). Partitions, doors, and window frames were removed to allow the reopening of original doorways that had been sealed. The original tile floor was exposed after wooden flooring was removed.

The Chapel of the MadonnasFather Timothy also removed a low concrete bench-wall under the front corridor, which had been built by Father Buckler. The museum rooms were repaired, plastered, and rewired. New exhibition cases were provided to safely display the valuable vestments, artwork, irreplaceable Mission-period documents, and other historic artifacts. The Chapel of the Madonnas (pictured here) adjacent to the museum was created during this time.

The museum is open daily for self-guided tours that begin in the Mission gift shop.
Self-guided tour hours are 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM daily (except Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day) Price: $5.00 (Children 11 and under: free)
Beginning October 1, 2008, there will be optional docent-led tours available on Wednesdays only from 10:00 AM - 12 Noon at $2.00 per person additional fee.

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The Vestments

Above: Detail of a 17th-century cope made from materials used at the
Court of Louis the 14th of France - MISSION MUSEUM COLLECTION.

Mamie Goulet
Mamie Goulet and unknown soldier displaying
one of the many vestments she restored
Mission Santa Inés has the largest and most valuable collection of early California church vestments from the 15th century to 1718, having been the depository for vestments from the earlier successful Missions in Baja California and Mexico. Many of the more than 500 silk vestments throughout the California Missions are in fact older than the Missions themselves. Father Junipero Serra noted this in 1769 when he collected them from Missions in Baja California. Mission Santa Inés is also fortunate to have among its collection a vestment worn by Father Serra. That the vestments have been so well preserved is a tribute to the work of Mamie Goulet, the niece of Father Alexander Buckler.

The vestments are made of materials such as beautiful oriental silks, with floral designs, satins, damasks, and brocades, which were transformed into Spanish- and Roman-style chasubles. Some have gold or silver flat threads woven into their designs.

Below: Roman-style chasuble
of brocaded silk

Above: Vestment worn by
Father Junipero Serra

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The six music manuscripts that survive from the Mission period in the Mission Santa Inés Archive are important testaments to the musical activity of the Franciscan friars and the Native Americans who used these manuscripts for the Mission choir and orchestra. The surviving music manuscripts give us a glimpse of the importance of singing at all of the Missions.

The six manuscripts and fragments of the originals are but a part of the choral library of the Mission. The musical content is primarily plainsong, also called Gregorian chant, which is one-line, homophonic music sung to Latin texts. The beautifully produced manuscripts exemplified the book production practices used by the Roman Catholic Church since the Middle Ages.

Pictured here is a Mission music manuscript of a Gregorian Chant, dating from 1841.

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Paintings and Statues

Mission Santa Inés, in spite of being one of the last Missions to be founded, today possesses a remarkably large collection of paintings from the Mission period, as well as a number of statues.

One of the most important paintings is The Archangel Raphael (pictured at right), currently on display in the Mission Museum. It is the only Mission-period painting on canvas by a native convert, other than a set of Stations of the Cross housed at another Mission. The painting of Saint Agnes in the Mission Museum was done by Andres Lopez in Mexico City in 1803 and was sent soon after to the Mission.

The fourteen Stations of the Cross in the church are based on an engraved series copied from the church of Santa Maria del Gigho in Venice.

Significant statues at Mission Santa Inés include Saint Agnes in the niche above the main altar, and the Virgin of the Rosary in the area that had previously been a doorway to the cemetery.

The decorations in the church were done under the direction of skilled artisans who had access to old pattern books of neoclassical design. The skillfully executed architectural and floral decorations include the particularly fine floral and Greek key pattern in the sacristy. Designs outside the altar rail appear to have been done by neophyte artists. All the original designs (1818-1820) had survived untouched until they were restored and repainted in the 1970s.

St. Vibiana Left: Saint Vibiana, patron saint of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, oil on canvas, 19th-century Mexican painting.

Right: Our Lady of the Rosary, an excellent Mexican Baroque period sculpture from the mid-18th century.

Our Lady of the Rosary

Below: One of fourteen Stations of the Cross paintings in the chapel; late 18th century,
oil on canvas, from the College of Guadalupe at Zacatecas, Mexico.

Below and right: These murals depicting early Mission life were painted by members of various youth groups under the direction of Santa Ynez-area artists in 1994. They are displayed in the parish hall of Mission Santa Inés.


(click thumbnails to view full-size picture)



(click thumbnails below to view full-size picture)
Old Mission Santa Ines Church can now proudly display this beautiful Spanish Colonial painting. For over 50 years, this painting of Christ with the Samaritan Woman was tucked away in a closet. It was in such poor condition with paint loss, holes and wrinkles that the wonderful bible story painted in 17th century Mexico could not be displayed.

Thanks to a generous grant from the California Missions Foundation and the patient skill of the South Coast Fine Arts Conservation Studio in Santa Barbara, the painting now has a place of prominence in the Mission Church.

In anticipation of the 200th anniversary celebration in 2004, several other paintings were restored with the financial help of the California Missions Foundation. Prior to the push to conserve the entire museum collection before 2004, a new security system also funded by the CMF has been installed to assure the collection is enjoyed for many generations to come.

The above photos show the original condition of the painting, conservation in progress and Victor Bermudez and crew hanging the painting in the Church on May 16, 2002.

For additional information, call 688-4815

A self-guided tour of the Museum & Gardens is open daily from 9 am - 4:30 pm. Admission is $4.00 per adult, no charge for children under 12.

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The Bells

Bells have always played an important role in the life of the Mission, calling early members to prayer or work, marking the time of day, tolling for the deceased, joyfully celebrating the union of marriages, ringing out the traditional Angelus, and noting the end of day. The bells of Santa Inés have rung out across the valley since September 17, 1804. On that day a cross was planted and the bell was suspended from a neighboring oak tree. The first bell site was destroyed by the earthquake of 1812.

During 1814 to 1816, a large adobe wall was constructed to hold two bells. New bells were cast in Lima, Peru, and the formal dedication took place on July 4, 1817. The bell wall lasted until 1911 when a huge rainstorm literally melted it. When Father Buckler had it rebuilt the following year, a third bell arch was added.

Today, the Mission museum displays four bells. The 1804 Juan Baptisia bell is the oldest. The Ave Maria Purisima bell (pictured at right) was cast in 1807, and the bell from Lima was cast in 1817. Still hanging in the top arch of the bell wall is the 1818 Lima bell (pictured at left), which was recast in 1953. The 1912 St. Agnes bell was used for the dedication of the new tower that same year. Two new bells were dedicated in 1984.