The City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Conservancy will partner to provide docent-led tours of the Annenberg Community Beach House when it opens at the end of April.

“There is so much enthusiasm from community members about capturing the rich history of this site,” said Community and Cultural Services Director Barbara Stinchfield. “People not only want to share their own stories but want to delve into the site’s colorful role over time as well as the history of our unique beach culture.

“We’re delighted to be able to partner with the Santa Monica Conservancy so that visitors can walk the site with conservancy volunteers knowledgeable about its architectural features, its fascinating history and the ecology of its setting.”

Tours will provide information on the three individuals most closely associated with the site — media magnate William Randolph Hearst, movie star Marion Davies and architect Julia Morgan — as well as the historic and contemporary elements of the beach house and its natural surroundings. Regular tours will be offered twice daily when demand is high and may also be arranged in association with special events.

Selected by City Hall to provide a “human touch” for the interpretive program at the historic site, the conservancy will draw on its experience in developing and managing the popular Saturday morning tour of Santa Monica’s Downtown, Stinchfield said.

Recruitment for beach house docents is underway and training will be provided by noted experts and authors. Information on the training schedule and application forms for docents are available at www.smconservancy.org or by calling (310) 496-3146.

A grant from the Annenberg Foundation funded both the rehabilitation of historic elements of the beach house site and creation, by Frederick Fisher and Associates, of contemporary structures to serve the needs of today’s beach-going public.

“An important element of our mission is to build awareness of and appreciation for the historic structures in our city,” said Carol Lemlein, president of the conservancy’s Board of Directors. “The Annenberg Community Beach House embodies the approach to preservation that the conservancy encourages. It’s an excellent example of how to adapt to current needs while being sensitive to the historic fabric.”

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