California Missions Conference


Mission Santa Clara

The upcoming California Missions Conference presented by the California Missions Foundation on February 16-18, 2018 will be co-hosted by Missions Santa Clara and San José, two iconic Bay Area historic locations that sit 17 miles apart.

The Conference will kick off on Friday, February 16 with a series of panel discussions throughout the day at Mission Santa Clara. Later that afternoon, there will be a guided tour of the Mission Santa Clara church and its historic art collection – much of which has been successfully conserved through funding from the California Missions Foundation and its partner foundations.

That evening, the first day of the Conference will wrap-up with a registration reception followed by the CMF Annual Membership Meeting, the Keynote Address and a program in the Mission Santa Clara Church.

Mission San José

On Saturday, the Conference shifts to nearby Mission San Jose where the annual paper presentations will take place in the mission church, A walking tour of the mission complex and museum will be featured in the early afternoon following lunch, and the day will conclude with final papers in the church.

That evening, the Annual CMF Awards Banquet will be held back at Mission Santa Clara in the historic adobe.

On Sunday, a guided tour of Edna Kimbro’s beloved Castro Adobe will take place at 10 am in nearby Watsonville. Located in the Pájaro Valley, the two-story Rancho San Andrés Castro Adobe is a historic rancho hacienda that was built between 1848-49. This park is currently an active construction site, and is open only during scheduled events.


Highly respected scholars Rose Marie Beebe and Robert Senkewicz will give the 2018 California Missions Conference Keynote Address on Friday evening, February 16 in the church at Mission Santa Clara.

“It is truly an honor for us to again have Rose Marie and Bob as part of the California Missions conference,” said CMF Executive Director David A. Bolton. “For so many years, they have contributed so much to the studies of early California history. Their lectures, their writings and their books have helped so many better understand the complex story of the California Missions and Presidios, and early life in Alta California.”

More about Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Senkewicz:

Rose Marie Beebe is Professor of Spanish literature at Santa Clara University. Together with her husband, Robert M. Senkewicz, Professor of History at Santa Clara University, they have collaborated on a number of books on the history of Spanish and Mexican California including, The History of Alta California, Lands of Promise and Despair: Chronicles of Early California, 1535–1846; Testimonios: Early California through the Eyes of Women, 1815–1848; and “To Toil in That Vineyard of the Lord”: Contemporary Scholarship on Junípero Serra; and Junípero Serra: California, Indians, and the Transformation of a Missionary (University of Oklahoma Press, 2015). Their current project is on Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo’s five-volume “Recuerdos históricos y personales....” They are in the process of translating and annotating this very important manuscript.

Beebe and Senkewicz have received numerous teaching and scholarship awards at Santa Clara University. In 2015 they were recognized with the University Award for Sustained Excellence in Scholarship. They have also received awards from The Bancroft Library, the Historical Society of Southern California, the California Mission Studies Association, the California Council for the Promotion of History. Beebe received a year-long fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the Vallejo project.


The Candlewood Suites located across from Mission Santa Clara has been selected as the host hotel for the 2018 California Missions Conference. A negotiated room block has been arranged for conference attendees with a nightly rate of $129.

The Candlewood Suites is located at 481 El Camino Real, Santa Clara and directly across from the SCU Main Entry. Please ask for the hotel front desk and refer to code CMF when booking your room to obtain the CMF discounted rate. Please do not press "reservations" as this takes you to the hotel's national outside reservation agencies, and the group block will need to be reserved through the hotel's front desk at (408) 241-9305.


For the 2018 California Missions Conference, the California Missions Foundation's Paper and Publications Committee invites paper and panel proposals that "Partnerships" in the mission and presidio lands of California.
"The theme works with the conference venues since both Missions Santa Clara and San Jose had a very close relationship," said CMF Board Member Lee Panich.
"It is always something we should promote and always something to strive for," added CMF Treasurer Mike Imwalle.
In selecting "Partnerships" as this year's Conference theme, the Committee explained that:
"We are looking forward to the California Mission Foundation 2018 Conference at the Santa Clara and San Jose Missions. The conference will celebrate our past partnerships as we look forward to developing new partnerships and friends. In an era that celebrates new and diverse thought, CMF endeavors to accomplish our goal: "(we are) dedicated to preserving the landmark California Missions and associated historical and cultural resources for the benefit of the public". CMF recognizes and celebrates the many special partners of our history. Now, we must look forward to establishing new partnerships to realize our goals.
The just released State Department of Education Guidelines for Mission studies asks students to "think critically" and evaluate the impact of the Missions on the people of California, focusing on the viewpoints of a diversity of people and cultures. CMF must have partnerships with the State Department of Education, California State Parks, individual mission support groups, the Catholic Church and other historical groups. We must work toward accomplishing our individual goals, while interpreting and preserving the entire Mission and Presidio system.
We look forward to hosting many of the stakeholders listed above at our 2018 conference to begin sharing research, knowledge and ideas amongst participants. We hope specific plans will result from our discussions and work.
To realize the California Mission Foundation's goal, we must revitalize our previous partnerships and develop new partnerships and friendships. We will begin the process at our 2018 Conference.
The theme of "Partnerships" should be considered broadly. Scholars from various disciplines can explore key elements in California's mission and presidio-era past.
If you would like to submit a presentation for consideration for the upcoming 2018 California Missions Conference, please send the following via email to
  1. An abstract of 100 to 200 words. Indicate if it is a single presentation (20 min including questions), or a panel session (60 min.)
  2. Names of all presenters, affiliation(s), contact information (including e-mail)
  3. Audio-visual requirements
Abstracts are due via email by December 15, 2017 to the attention of the California Missions Conference Program Coordinators:


For the second straight year, CMF's California Missions Conference this coming February will again feature Friday sessions and gathering for the Mission Curators and Directors Conference as well as CMF's Presidio Alliance.
The CMF Presidio Alliance will focus on military, governmental, maritime history of Alta CA and include the rest of North America.  Mission history will be a subject as well but placed in the context of the larger colonial world of which it is a part.   Goals of the Alliance will be to encourage research projects, contribute to interpretation of Spanish and Mexican history along the corridor of Highway 101, the so-called El Camino Real, and to influence how this history is taught in schools.
Meanwhile, the annual Curators and Directors Conference will include workshops in building conservation, historic garden restoration and the NPS cultural landscape programs, and art care. Traditionally, the gathering has featured historical topics and networking and funding opportunities. Besides the educational presentations, Mission curators get the chance each year to discuss their common issues and engage in joint problem solving. The conference has also regularly honored those who aid the missions in notable ways with the Lasuen Award.
One of the important things to come out of the first Curators conference was the creation of a detailed contact list for continued contact and networking. CMF keeps that list up to date today. After varied early sponsors, CMF came to the rescue with long term sponsorship for the last 16 years. CMF's continued support will provide another top quality 2018 informative exchange as well as support for those charged with the day-to-day protection of the missions' heritage of buildings and artifacts.
If you would like to attend the 20th Annual Curators and Directors Conference or the CMF Presidio Alliance please contact CMF at




8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Missions Curators and Directors Conference


2nd Annual CMF Presidio Alliance

8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Institute for the Study of Presidios



12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Registration

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Optional Lunch

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Tour of Mission Santa Clara and historic artwork (Optional)

5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Hosted Reception

6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. CMF Annual General Membership Meeting and Keynote Address: Rosemary Beebe and Robert Senkewicz



Mission San Jose

8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Morning Presentations and Papers

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Optional Lunch
2:00 – 3:00 pm. Tours of Mission San Jose and museum

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Afternoon Presentations and Papers
Mission Santa Clara - Adobe

5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Awards Banquet Reception

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Awards Banquet



10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Tour of Historic San Jose (Optional)

Annual California Missions Conferences

2018 Missions Santa Clara & San José
2017 Santa Inés
2016 San Juan Bautista
2015 San Buenaventura
2014 San Antonio de Padua
2013 El Presidio de Santa Bárbara and
Old Mission Santa Barbara
2012 San Rafael Arcángel
2011 San Miguel Arcángel
2010 San Luis Rey de Francia
2009 Tucson, Arizona
2008 San Carlos Borromeo de Carmel
2007 San Francisco de Asís
2006 San Diego de Alcalá
2005 San Fernando Rey de España
2004 San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
2003 Santa Cruz
2002 La Paz, Baja California Sur
2001 Royal Presidio Chapel, Monterey
2000 San Gabriel Arcángel
1999 Santa Inés Virgen y Mártir
1998 San Juan Capistrano
1997 Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó
(Baja California Sur)
1996 San Francisco de Asís
1995 San Francisco Solano
1994 San Diego de Alcalá
1993 San Antonio de Padua and San Miguel Arcángel
1992 San Luis Rey de Francia
1991 La Purísima Concepción
1990 The Presidio of Santa Barbara and
Mission Santa Barbara
1989 San Juan Bautista
1988 San Fernando Rey de España
1987 Santa Clara de Asís
1986 San Buenaventura
1985 San José
1984 San Juan Capistrano