2007: A BANNER YEAR!

An ARC Update…

by Robin Turner, Vice President, Museum

This has been an exciting year for the Culver City Historical Society! As your outgoing Archive & Resource Center (ARC) Chair, I want to thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve this wonderful organization. I can’t believe I have been overseeing the development of our archives for the past four years, and am very proud of how much we’ve accomplished in that short amount of time.

This year, we settled into our new permanent home at the Veterans Memorial Complex, and have started regular Thursday and Saturday volunteer days. Both crews worked feverously to get our collections out of the storage boxes in order to set up our first special exhibit for the Fiesta la Ballona in August. The exhibit was a huge success.

The Society hosted Culver City’s 90th Anniversary celebration at the historic Culver Hotel where we set up a fabulous display of photos as our second major exhibit for all to enjoy. Across the Towne Plaza, we continue to set up a new CCHS exhibit in our window display at the Pacific Theater every few months so there is a year-round Society presence to remind the public of the wonderful memorabilia included in our collections.

While there are way too many fabulous volunteers to mention in this short column, I do want everyone to know that their work at

the ARC is very much appreciated. I must state, however, that without Steve Rose and Fred Yglesias helping out just about every Saturday, the ARC would still have our collections in boxes. I also want to thank Louise Coffee-Webb for all her tireless work on organizing and cataloging the MGM and Fiesta costumes, and thanks to our out-going President Cathy Zermeno and her die-hard Thursday crew for their never-ending work in cataloging the collections that the Saturday crew set out and readied for them.

I also want to thank CC Mayor Alan Corlin for his continuous search for fixtures and office equipment we need such as light tables, shelving units, and other necessities that he found on Craig’s list and other internet sites. Due to people like Mayor Corlin, Andy Weisman, myself and others, we have some great free items for the ARC that would have cost us tens of thousands of dollars.

I know our new ARC Chairs, Martha and Sol Sigall, will do a fabulous job of continuing the work we started just a short time ago. Thank you again for giving me the experience of serving as ARC Chair – and know that you will have my support in the future.

“Happy New Year” to all!

An ARC Update…

by Robin Turner, Vice President, Museum

THE ARC OPENS FOR THE FIESTA

WOW!!! What an eventful few months we’ve had at the CC Historical Society ARC (Archive & Research Center) – especially during July and August!

The Thursday ARC volunteer crew – which included Pat Bumpus, Jeff Sommar, George Garrigues and Fred Yglesias – has concentrated their work on cataloging the extensive Julian Dixon book library which will provide a wealth of research materials.

For the annual Fiesta La Ballona, the Saturday ARC crew – Steve Rose, the inexhaustible Fred Yglesis and Julie Lugo Cerra – pulled together to put on a wonderful display of costumes and exhibit cases of the Fiesta through the last 50 years, highlighted by a beautiful Fiesta Queen’s costume which Costume Chair Louise Coffey-Webb so wonderfully arranged as the centerpiece of the exhibit.

This year’s Fiesta gave the Society the opportunity to officially open our doors and let everyone know that we now have a permanent home to display Culver City’s history and to more easily answer the many research questions City Historian Julie Lugo Cerra continually receives from historians and organizations from the world over!

We gave personal tours of the new exhibit space to over a hundred people that came to visit the ARC during the Fiesta – and it was a real thrill! Many people came in to reminisce and talk about the good memories they had growing up in Culver City. We had historic postcards, history videos, and calendar items for sale, and received a few donations as well.

[I also want to mention that the Society has received donations in memory of our dear Sam Cerra to allow us to name a display case in his honor, something we know would make him very proud and happy.]
THE CITY’S 90TH ANNIVERSARY

After the success of the Fiesta tours, we wasted little time in putting together a special exhibit for the 90th Anniversary of Culver City’s Incorporation, which was held at the historic Culver Hotel. Photo displays and memorabilia of the City’s early days were set up both in Harry Culver’s old office on the hotel’s second floor and in our permanent display window at the Pacific Theatre, across from the hotel.

Over 200 visitors came in to see Harry’s office! I couldn’t believe how many folks have lived in Culver City for over 50 years, and many were second and third generation residents. We especially thank the Culver City Information Technology Dept. team who videotaped many of the oral interviews that local residents shared with us. We plan on screening a copy of the tape at a future Society meeting.

And remember, we need volunteers for both our Thursday and Saturday morning work groups. If you are available on either of those days, please contact President Cathy Zermeno or myself and we will get you started working on some really fascinating projects!

See you at the General Meeting on October 17th!

ARC Update Summer 2007

by: Robin Turner, Vice President, Museum

Even though it seemed like moving into our new Culver City Historical Society Archive and Research Center (ARC) took forever to do, we are now moving quite quickly in getting tasks ready for volunteers to help start organizing parts of our collection. With a fantastic group led by CCHS Board members, much as been accomplished in the past several weeks!

During Spring Break, Costume Committee Chair Louise Coffey-Webb and her students counted, identified, and organized the vintage MGM costumes that are in our possession.

We’ve also managed to put the Syd Kronenthal collection and the Olympic items together, separate out the Exchange Club materials, as well as the Sister City items, and have a few tasks ready to start the volunteer program.

We also had a crew – comprised of CC Mayor Alan Corlin, Redevelopment Chair and past CCHS President Steve Rose, and Civil Service Commissioner Dan Gallagher – to set up the new light tables and move heavy furniture. THANK YOU, guys!

Special thanks to Sony archivist Colin Greene who, at the beginning of June, took time from his busy schedule to teach some of us how to curate collections properly as well as giving tips on archiving techniques.

Colin and some of his crew came back the next day to help rearrange our furniture and give us pointers on how and where to set up our exhibits.

By the end of the first week of June, Board members had sorted many of the basic collections (mostly in boxes) so that we will be ready for our volunteers to come in and help get the ARC in order. A daunting task – but we know our members are up to it!

Starting June 23rd, the ARC will be open for volunteers to help. Initially, our hours will be every Saturday from 9am to noon and Thursdays from 10am to noon. As we get more organized, we will expand the hours and assign specific tasks. If you are available to help in this process, please call Cathy Zermeno at (310) 839-7688 or Robin Turner at (310) 836-5508 to let us know your availability.

The first two projects we will tackle will be to get the Julian Dixon book collection in order and into the new bookshelves that Andrew Weissman so generously donated to the ARC. The second will be to identify and catalog the many photographs and paintings that we have collected throughout the years.

Here is our Wish List for supplies and display items that we need before we can truly be “open to the public.”
• Cases that “hug” the walls and are not imposing into our small area where the items can be viewed. There will be limited space to walk around to view the various exhibits and we need to plan for the future.
• Cases expressly for displaying the MGM costumes and other such items in our collection. We have determined that these cases will cost between $1,000 – $2,000 each, and requesting donations. For this sponsorship opportunity, we will attach a “donated by” plaque to each case in appreciation of your donation.

All of these items will be discussed and further updates will be shared at the Annual Picnic General Membership meeting on July 18th. Also, we will have brief tours of the ARC during the picnic to let you all see what’s happening. With the upcoming Fiesta La Ballona right around the corner, we will also need help in getting the ARC ready for the public mini-tours during the Fiesta weekend of August 24-26.

Again, let me thank everyone that has helped in getting the ARC ready to this point. We have a fabulous Board and a membership that I’ve found is always ready to help.

See you at the picnic meeting!

ARC Update Spring 2007

by: Robin Turner, Vice President, Museum
LOTS OF HARD WORK & . . .

WOW!!! Have the past few months been busy!

The Historical Society was given two light-based tables (for tracing patterns or maps, or use just as counter space with drawers) by an individual that picked them up during the Getty Museum renovation.

Vice Mayor Alan Corlin found the tables on the internet and sent me the web page. I contacted the owner, Mr. Colin Long, who gave us the tables free of charge! The only problem was that the 8-foot and 16-foot long tables weighed a combined total of about a thousand pounds!

But with great thanks to CCHS member Corlin, Civil Service member Dan Gallagher, John Bertram and Richard Johnson, and with the sharp supervision skills of Council Member and Past CCHS President Steve Rose, we removed the tables from a second story storage facility and into a temporary storage area before our new digs were built. They are now moved into the new facility and we have our first new acquisition for the new digs!

As alluded to in the last sentence, we have moved all of our collections from the Bank of the West building into our new facility at Vets. We are in the process of moving (and checking for wear) the MGM costumes that the City has held for years. We hope to have the new place open for business and for visitors to walk through by the Fiesta La Ballona week.

Mr. Jerry Fulwood (Culver City’s new City Manager) and Mr. Bill LaPointe (Director of Recreation and Parks) did an outstanding job of getting us to where we are now. When you see these two individuals, and the City Council, of course, please thank them for their diligence and foresight in providing us a new home for our archives and collections. I especially want to thank Stan Abrams for his diligent work in the construction side of preparing us for our new digs.

Once we get all the boxes in order and get a computer set up, the Board will be trained in the proper techniques of archival care so we can start cataloging our collection. At that time, probably within the next two months, we will start opening our doors and have our wonderful and enthusiastic volunteers start working on our collections.

I will set out a sign-up sheet at the April General Meeting, so if you have a few hours or a day or two a week to help, please sign up and I will contact you. Our plans are to be open one day during the week and one day during the weekend for the volunteers so that a variety of our members can help during the time that suits them the best.

Thanks to the Board for all your help in making the new place a reality. Now the real fun begins…!

ARC Update Winter 2007

by: Robin Turner, Vice President, Museum

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!

What a great way to start the New Year. In December, the Museum Committee got together to work on the final wording of the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) and the building lease agreement between the Culver City Historical Society and the City of Culver City. Once the final bugs are worked out, we will be able to start our limited construction on the inside of our new museum space.

Since we will be doing so much more than just housing our museum collection at our new digs, we are working on an appropriate name to call this space – something such as “The Culver City Historical Society’s Cultural Resource & Archives Repository.” The Board is working to come up with a suitable name which will ensure that not only do we work as a museum but also as a community learning and outreach center as well.

After the contracts are signed we will soon begin the construction process. We need to build a wall to secure the space from the rest of the building, add an access door, and then put in a security alarm system. It’s a great feeling to know that every day we are getting closer to making this dream a reality!

As your Museum Chair, I want to tell you how very busy and committed the Museum Committee has been in the last few months. As can be imagined, many drafts of the contracts have been reviewed and discussed with the city staff and the city attorney. Everyone has been working together to help us get into our new space.

After the contracts are signed, and the construction complete, we will be able to start moving in. This will take a few months, so by the next newsletter, we should be ready to move in and start working on organizing our collection. I hope many of you will join with us as volunteers to make this new venture a huge success!

On another front, in late November, I put together a new exhibit in our display window at the downtown Pacific Theater Complex. The new display is made of some of the Gragg sculptures that depict a scene from the Laurel and Hardy movie Babes in Toyland. If you get a chance, please take a look at Mr. Gragg’s work.

I might add that display exhibits are not really my thing, and I would LOVE for anyone who has the drive and imagination to help me with these window displays. Archaeologists uncover old things. We aren’t particularly good at constructing them into displays. So, if you are creative, I certainly would appreciate your help!

Keep these thoughts in mind when we meet together at the next general meeting on January 17th.