How will we know it’s us without our past?

John Steinbeck   Grapes of Wrath

Current & Upcoming Exhibitions

LJHS exhibitions are sponsored in part by ArtWorks San Diego

Tangible Memories: Recollections of La Jolla Pioneer Women

February 9 - May 19, 2019

Women played a seminal role in shaping La Jolla in the early 20th century. Their legacy lives on through the historic structures they built, the momentum they created for civic and artistic life, and the memories shared by the community. The life and history of ten women pioneers—including businesswomen, educators, and architects—will be examined and artistically interpreted by ten female contemporary artists. Each artist is paired with one historic figure to research and bring back to life by creating a painting, photograph, sculpture, or interactive installation that honors the essence and meaning of that pioneer woman’s life. Artists are invited to consider the personality and interests of each woman, the role each female trailblazer had in society, and how they helped cultivate a stronger community. The pioneer women are Louise Balmer, Mabel Bell, Florence Sawyer Bransby, Anna Held, Florence Palmer, Lilian Rice, Mary Richmond, Mary Ritter, Ellen Browning Scripps, and Virginia Scripps. Participating artists include Tara Centybear, Taylor Chapin, Becky Guttin, Bhavna Mehta, Lee Puffer, Bridget Rountree, Anna Stump, Cheryl Tall, Kelly Telebrico-Schnorr, and Rebecca Webb.

Curated by Danielle S. Deery

Funding for this exhibition generously provided by Sandy and Dave Erickson, Barbara Freeman, Meg Davis and Brian Earley, the Florence Riford Fund of the San Diego Foundation, and ArtWorks San Diego. Institutional support provided by the City of San Diego’s Commission for Arts & Culture and by the Members of the La Jolla Historical Society.

Image: Mabel Bell | Bhavna Mehta 2018


LITVAKdance | Re-imagining Suffrage

In conjunction with the exhibition Tangible Memories: Recollections of  La Jolla Pioneer Women, LITVAKdance presents three performance pieces on the property around the Wisteria Cottage entitled Re-imagining Suffrage. Artistic Director Sadie Weinberg choreographed the two main works, and a third transitional solo was made by dancemaker Betzi Roe based on the early owner of the cottage, Virginia Scripps. In this solo, Virginia acts as the host of the evening, ushering the audience from the front of the cottage where the first duet (loosely based on a scene from the 1897 play La Ronde) takes place, to the back of the cottage where a quartet completes the performance. Costumes are inspired by styles from the period 1895 through 1915.  LITVAKdance is comprised of seven women, and the dances touch upon women's themes that transgress time and place, and consider women's place in society, including questions about class, race, sexual orientation, gender equality and diversity.

Presented at the La Jolla Historical Society | February 8, 2019 | 5:30pm

Image: Dancers April Tra and Beverly Johnson | Photograph by Doug McMinimy




History in Motion: Devices & Wizardry in Early Cinema

June 8 - September 8, 2019

A La Jolla resident of the early twentieth century had many cinematic opportunities, whether enjoying a nightly toy magic lantern slide show at home, walking to a silent film premiere blocks away, or taking the trolley to a downtown San Diego movie palace.  Photographs were a staple of depicting people, places and events of interest, but motion pictures, special-effects-laden slide shows, and 3-D imagery engaged beyond a static photo. This exhibition explores these silent films, magic Lanterns, and stereoscopic novelties. Using an early 1900s vintage multi-media approach, the project features a study of the silent melodrama films of La Jolla Cinema League (a well-equipped 1920’s film club in La Jolla who were trained members of the Amateur Cinema League), magic lantern-style slide presentations of La Jolla Historical Society archival holdings, stereoscopically-enhanced views of the past (using vintage tools and current technology), a survey of the old movie palaces of La Jolla, silent film secrets of San Diego County, surprising multi-media tools of the past with a look to the virtual reality future, and revelations from vintage La Jolla home movies (from underwater films to underground Warhol sightings).  Curated by Scott Paulson.




Movies by Moonlight: A Short Film Festival at the La Jolla Historical Society
August 15-18 | Wisteria Cottage front lawn

Presented by Scott Paulson, UC San Diego Library | LJHS Silent Film Curator and the Teeny Tiny Pit Orchestra

The Lawn opens at 7:00pm—bring a picnic dinner and a low beach chair or blanket

Film presentations start at 8:00pm

Advanced registration not required

August 15

Carmen (1915) with a “Baby Peggy” Carmen short 

August 16

Sally of the Sawdust (1925) with W.C. Fields short

August 17

Tillie’s Punctured Romance with Charlie Chaplin & Marie Dressler (1914) and Perils of Pauline short

August 18

Genuine: A Tale of A Vampire (1920) with A Trip to the Moon short


Thanks to our program partners at Vanguard Culture and the UC San Diego Library!