Courtesy image.

On Sunday Oct. 11, the Santa Monica History Museum plans to fulfill its mission of “Keeping Our History Alive” by bringing its annual gala dinner directly to your home. In its biggest fundraising event of the year, the museum will host a virtual exhibit tour and silent and live auction while attendees dine on a delicious to-go dinner from Lunetta.

“Santa Monica has such a rich and vibrant history. Our gala dinner helps us tremendously with operational support, program support, and really assists us in being able to provide the service that the history of Santa Monica deserves,” said John Klopping, Museum Manager.

During the celebration, which will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., the museum will celebrate it’s two honorees: The League of Women Voters, as 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, and Health Care Heroes from UCLA Health and Providence Saint John’s Health center, as they risk their health to protect our community.

Dinner tickets are $150 and can be purchased online or by calling the museum. There will also be a link provided to join the virtual event for free, so everyone can participate in celebrating Santa Monica’s History, which Klopping says is far more complex and surprising than the average resident may assume.

“There are a lot of really cool things that Santa Monica has been involved in over the years that you wouldn’t really think Santa Monica contributed to. For example, Santa Monica had a very big impact within the suffrage movement. On display we have a Miramar Hotel guest book signed by Susan B. Anthony and Reverend Ann Shaw, during their 1895 visit to Santa Monica to rally support for the statewide suffrage ballot,” said Klopping.

This is part of the Museum’s ongoing “All is Possible: Women’s Suffrage in California” exhibit, which will be presented during the virtual tour portion of the gala. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the museum has shut its doors and pivoted to a wide range of virtual activities.

“We’ve been working really hard at making sure our social media really reflects Santa Monica’s History. We share fun facts, tips for storing your own archival photographs, and information on our current exhibitions. We also started creating narrated slideshows where our archivist picks a topic, like Muscle Beach, and picks photos that follow the history of it,” said Klopping.

In addition, the Museum team has been updating the website so the public can access its wide range of historic photographs and exhibitions, and discover surprising episodes in Santa Monica’s history—such as the Battle of Santa Monica Bay.

“The Battle of Santa Monica Bay is a history of the Rex gambling ship which was in the Santa Monica Bay right around 1938 to 1939. The police would raid it quite frequently because there were these interpretations of the law as to where a ship could be anchored to allow people to gamble,” said Klopping. “The final decision by the California Supreme Court led to the final raid on the Rex. Law enforcement officials got out to the boat and Tony Cornero refused to give it up and he held out for ten days with giant water cannons.”

Those interested in learning more fascinating stories about Santa Monica can support the museum by attending its gala dinner. For sponsorship or donation information, contact John Klopping (310) 395-2290, jklopping@santamonicahistory.org

Clara@smdp.com