Museum Notes: Fall 2006

Museum Notes
by Robin Turner, Museum Chair

A NEW DAY FOR THE SOCIETY!

We are currently seeing history-in-the making regarding our Historical Society. As you read on the front page, the Culver City City Council has given us the opportunity, through a long term lease, to use the Multi-Purpose “overflow room” at the Veterans Memorial Building to become our long-awaited museum. This opportunity now gives us a permanent place to work on our collection of historic materials.

Though it may not be well-known, the Society (notably City Historian Julie Lugo Cerra) receives calls and requests, almost on a weekly basis, from people that want information from our archives or conduct research on our city’s history. We also receive items from people all over the United States giving us historic memorabilia or photos that they feel should be with the Culver City Historical Society.

We now finally have a home where we can work on these items, cataloguing our archives, allowing research to be done, and will be able to accept donations from many diverse sources. For example, in the last newsletter, I wrote about the computer company Symantec deeding us the historic items that my company found while digging footings for their new buildings. Our new museum space will allow us to accept these types of gifts.

Our new home is ADA accessible, has plenty of parking, and will give us the chance to grow and thrive. Before we are able to move in, we have some construction to make the site more secure, since we will be sharing the building with others. Hopefully, by the next newsletter, we will be asking for volunteers to come in and help with the much needed cataloging and recording of our collections!

I want to thank all of our members that attended this historic Council Meeting for their added support in our request for a permanent home, and to the Council itself for the vision of using our organization to help preserve and record Culver City’s history. I would especially like to thank our new City Manager, Jerry Fulwood and Bill La Pointe, Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, for their support and wisdom.

At the next General Meeting I will be talking about archaeology and paleontology and some of the projects that I worked on in our city. I will be bringing some of the artifacts and fossils that have been recently unearthed. Together we will be “Sifting through the Culver Sands”…

See you at the meeting on October 18th!

Fox Hills “Trash Pit” Holds Culver City Memorabilia

Museum Notes
by Robin Turner, Museum Chair

As an archaeologist, I have the privilege of working all over Southern California – and, of course, I especially enjoy the opportunity to work in Culver City whenever possible.

One of my current projects has brought me back home to the parcel in Fox Hills which was once part of the old Fox Hills Country Club’s golf course. The present owner/builder is the Norton Virus computer company, Symantec.

I expected to find many interesting marine fossils on the site, but was very surprised to find the old golf course clubhouse’s trash pit! (I’m sure some of our members will recall the good times they had, after a great round of golf, relaxing with a soda or drink on that very site!)

My company has collected about a hundred hard liquor bottles, many soda bottles, kitchen ware, and other various items from this trash pit. Even though they aren’t considered “significant” per archaeological standards, my client has allowed the Culver City Historical Society to be the recipient of the materials found in the trash deposit.

As soon as the Deed of Gift exchanges hands, I will be able to display some of the more unique – and the most common – pieces in the Society’s display window of the Pacific Theatres in downtown Culver City. Hopefully, this should happen sometime in July or August, so when you go to the movies or out for ice cream, be sure to stop by and see the new display!

Moving Forward…

Museum Notes
by Robin Turner, Museum Chair

First, let me thank you for reelecting me as Museum Chair. I take this positron seriously, and appreciate the help and support as well as the historic knowledge all of you can give me to do my job well.

We are still going through the process of getting our new museum digs prepared for “habitation!” Our outgoing president, Steven Rose, is working on the construction issues and making some excellent headway – so we need to be patient for just a little bit longer.

Our Pacific Theatre display case continues with the Gragg sculptures exhibit. This public venue provides a wonderful opportunity to let our community and visitors learn more about the Society and the spectrum of memorabilia we have collected. I encourage you to share your suggestions and ideas for items, themes, etc. of what you’d like the Society to put in this display case.

Museum Notes: Fall 2005

Museum Notes
by Robin Turner, Museum Chair

I’ve been asked about the current status of our museum and wanted to let everyone know that we are indeed still moving forward. It all just takes more time than we’d like – so please take heart and stick with us!

President Steve Rose has been working closely with the Bank of the West’s administrators and talking to several contractors (all of whom are busier than ever). While the space has much potential, it also has many challenges and everything has to be up to code and have full access before we can open our doors to the public.

We are heartened by the interest and support of not only the CCHS membership, but the community at large and know that the time spent in planning and preparing will pay off with many dividends down the road.

In the near future, I hope to be setting up volunteer work teams to start on the archiving, filing, and categorizing of our wonderful collection of memorabilia and documents, and I look forward to working with many of you and several projects.

In the meantime, please visit the Gragg sculpture exhibit in the CCHS display case at the eastside of the downtown Pacific Culver Stadium 12 cinema complex. A new set of sculptures will be rotated into the case very soon.

The Woodcarvings of Robert Gragg

Museum Notes
by Robin Turner, Museum Chair

Further to my column in the last issue, here is more information on artist Robert Gragg and our exhibit in the CCHS display case at the eastside of the new downtown Pacific Culver Stadium 12 cinema complex.

In 1928, Robert Gragg began working at the Hal Roach Studios on Washington Blvd. in Culver City. He worked as a carpenter and a layout man. During these studio years, Gragg and his wife raised their five children in their home on Lincoln Ave.

Born in Little Rock, AR in 1896, Gragg was raised in Minnesota, and lived in Virginia during his later years. However, he never forgot his early years in Culver City, and, upon his death in 1984, his charming woodcarvings were donated to the City of Culver City.

These carvings, known as the Robert Fenelley Gragg Collection, represent a broad spectrum of life, with such titles as “Cutting Down a Tree” and “Saturday Night Bath” along with many movie-related themes.

He had built life-size sets for the movies and, because of his love and artistry for carving, even in his spare time, Gragg was rarely far from a piece of wood. He characterized himself as a “carver of memories.”

The Culver City Historical Society is pleased to offer this changing exhibit in honor of the Robert Gragg legacy in wood, appropriately beginning with Historic Preservation Month, May 2005