The Mission Inn Museum features permanent, temporary and virtual exhibits. The onsite permanent exhibit in the Mission Inn Museum details the history of the Mission Inn and it's founder Frank Miller, as well as featuring the collections of the Mission Inn Foundation and Museum. Temporary exhibits have featured "The Music of the Mission Inn", "Catacombs - Myth and Reality" and "By the Seat of their Pants - Aviation - Mission Inn - March Field."
Behind the Fence: The Renovation Years, March 2 – July 31, 2017
Mission Inn Museum Hours 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m
Winston Churchill once said, “We shape our buildings; thereafter our buildings shape us.” Like people, places have identities. This idea shaped one of the earliest known preservation attempts in the United States; saving Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home. When the Washington family tried to sell the ramshackle home to the federal government in the 1850s, the government declined. Undaunted, the Mt. Vernon Ladies Association organized and raised money to purchase, restore, and protect the historic home. They succeeded and set the standard for future preservation efforts.
However, in post-World War II America, historic preservation was sporadic and without firm guidelines. Indifference towards local history began to change with the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966. The act created State Historic Preservation offices, the National Register of Historic Places, and the list of National Historic Landmarks. In essence, it helped preserve and protect historic buildings and archaeological sites—the physical evidence of the American past.
Despite this important federal act, local communities did not always focus on historic preservation. Indeed, Riverside was not immune to this apathy. Its most well-known building, the Mission Inn, was in a state of disrepair. During the 1970s a small, community-based undertaking emerged to restore the building and once again make it Riverside’s social and civic center. Despite these efforts, the hotel was nearly torn down, narrowly surviving a 4 to 3 city council vote.
Behind the Fence: The Renovation Years is the second exhibit in a three-part series celebrating the non-profit Mission Inn Foundation’s 40th Anniversary. The exhibit begins with early preservation efforts during the 1970s, but then focuses on the years a chain link fence surrounded the once magnificent Mission Inn. It was during this fenced-in period that the stage was set for the revitalization and rebirth of Riverside’s most treasured and beloved landmark.
September 2017 – January 2018: The Roberts’ Years: Rebirth of the Mission Inn
Highlighting the transformation of the National Historic Landmark The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa under the leadership of Duane and Kelly Roberts. Mr. Roberts purchased the hotel in 1992 and began the Festival of Lights in 1993.