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

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.

Funding for this project generously provided by Margie and John H. Warner Jr. and by Elizabeth Barkett. Institutional support provided by the UC San Diego Library, City of San Diego’s Commission for Arts and Culture, and Members of the La Jolla Historical Society.

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)

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

Public Program at the La Jolla Historical Society’s History in Motion: Devices & Wizardry in Early Cinema exhibition!

Join curator Scott Paulson at the Wisteria Cottage Gallery for a Sunday afternoon, June 30, July 28, or August 25 at 1:00pm, with special guest Scott McAvoy of UC San Diego Library’s Digital Media Lab for an informal virtual reality presentation. Utilizing historic photographs by tourists and images from the La Jolla Historical Society archive, McAvoy has virtually reconstructed Windemere Cottage, an 1890s home by architect Irving J. Gill that was torn down in 2012.  You can walk around and through Windemere Cottage using virtual reality goggles!

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

Julius Shulman: Modern La Jolla

September 28, 2019 – January 19, 2020


Recognized for his work in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, it is not widely known that between 1934 and 2007, world-renowned architectural photographer Julius Shulman (1910 – 2009) shot over 200 projects in San Diego.  His clients were architects, designers, newspapers, book and magazine publishers, and construction companies as well as developers, and included notable San Diego architects Lloyd Ruocco, Sim Bruce Richards, Henry Hester, and Frederick Liebhardt. Shulman’s work, spanning several decades, documented the region’s evolving 20th century architectural landscape, and he played an instrumental role in sharing California’s unique post-War, mid-century modernism with an international audience. Through a large number of films, publications, and exhibitions, focused largely on his work in Palm Springs and Los Angeles for architects Frank Lloyd Wright, Pierre Koenig, Charles Eames, and Richard Neutra, interest in Shulman’s work continues to this day. Because his images of San Diego have not been widely shared or published, this unprecedented exhibition, showcasing both vintage and contemporary prints of his photography, will introduce audiences to Julius Shulman’s projects in La Jolla alongside ephemera that contextualize this historically significant work. Curated by Keith York.

Major funding for this exhibition generously provided by Barbara Freeman, IS Architecture, and Modern San Diego, with additional support from Nick and Lamya Agelidis, James and Barbara Alcorn, Joan and Gary Gand, Elizabeth Courtiér | Willis Allen Real Estate, and ArtWorks San Diego.

Concurrently, at the San Diego Public Library – Downtown Gallery Julius Shulman: Modern San Diego