The Santa Monica Conservancy is seeking volunteers for a new docent training class for the Annenberg Community Beach House at 415 Pacific Coast Highway. The conservancy, in partnership with the city of Santa Monica, trains docents to give guided tours of the site, which opened to great acclaim last spring. 

The Annenberg Community Beach House has a fascinating history, a place where Hollywood and Santa Monica intersect. A palatial estate was erected in the 1920s by William Randolph Hearst for his lifetime companion, actress Marion Davies. They entertained on a grand scale for film luminaries and international celebrities. The site evolved over time to become Ocean House Hotel, the Sand and Sea Club, and ultimately to the recreational and cultural center it is today, thanks to generous funding from the Annenberg Foundation, and in partnership with the city of Santa Monica and California State Parks.

Tours provide information on the three remarkable individuals most closely associated with the site — media magnate William Randolph Hearst, movie star Marion Davies, and architect Julia Morgan, who designed the Guest House and pool that remain from the original estate. Designed by Fred Fisher Partners Architects, new buildings and outdoor facilities pay homage to the historic estate, while providing a contemporary activity center that was recognized with a gold LEED rating for sustainable design.

More information on the Beach House is available at

Volunteers are required to attend three Saturday afternoon lectures, on Feb. 27, March 13, and March 27, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. On-site training follows, and the formal training is supplemented with written material in a docent manual. The service requirement is six hours per month, in two shifts of three hours each.

New docents will be joining an enthusiastic and dedicated group of volunteers who have been staffing the site the Beach House opened in April 2009.  Docent application forms are available on the conservancy’s Web site,, and are due by Feb. 24. For questions or more information, call (310) 496-3146. 

The Santa Monica Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating the city’s architectural and cultural heritage.

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