"Dedicated to preserving the landmark California Missions and associated historical and cultural resources for the benefit of the public..."

Arrest Made in Mission San Gabriel Arson Fire

A recent picture inside Mission San Gabriel as roof repairs continue

Following an extensive eight-month investigation authorities announced that they have made an arrest following the devastating fire at Mission San Gabriel this past July.  A 57-year-old resident of the San Gabriel Valley has been charged with 4 felony counts including two arson related.  According to authorities, John David Corey, Jr. allegedly broke into the historic mission through the choir loft door in the early morning hours of July 11, 2020.  He allegedly used flammable liquid to begin the fire that quickly spread from the choir loft, along the roof to the altar and sanctuary.  The fire sent shockwaves throughout the mission community, the nation, and were even felt as far away as Spain.  The fire resulted in an outpouring of support.  CMF is thankful to everyone who donated to help bring the mission back to life.  The mission hopes to have the roof restored by spring of 2022.














(Top, right) A recent picture inside Mission San Gabriel as roof repairs continue.
(Above, left) Excessive heat from the July fire bent the steel beams that had supported the roof and church.
(Above, right) Mission San Gabriel will celebrate its 250 Anniversary September 11, 2021.


Remembering Tongva Elder Julia Bogany

We would like to take a moment to remember Julia Bogany.  CMF was honored to present Julia with the 2021 Chairman’s Award at our annual conference presented virtually from Mission San Gabriel just over a month ago.  How soon things can change.  This past weekend Julia passed away leaving a legacy that stretches back to the Tongva at Mission San Gabriel. 

CMF greatly appreciates all of Julia’s efforts to not only make our recent conference a success, but also for her many years of service in keeping alive the story and practice of her beloved Tonga community.  She will be greatly missed by many.

CMF Conference Kicks Off with Virtual Field Trip for Students

More than 12,000 Students Take Part in CMF's Virtual "All-Aboard-the-Bus"

California Missions Foundation, a Santa Barbara-based non-profit serving the 21 California Missions, offered a virtual field trip recently to fourth graders throughout the state. The virtual tour, featuring the native story, and several missions throughout the California chain, drew more than 12,000 students from Northern to Southern California.

CMF has a regular field trip program, "All Aboard the Bus", sending fourth graders on in-person visits to their missions. The program is in it 17th year, but due to Covid restrictions, CMF organized a virtual field trip and made it available to schools throughout the state.

"This was a great opportunity for us to provide a visual component on California history to students that, for the most part, are studying at home," said David Bolton, CMF executive director. "Keeping history alive for the next generation is so important. The response today was tremendous."

More than 12,000 students throughout the state participated in the virtual field trip.

Said Mary Dove, Vice Principal at St. Bruno Catholic School in Whittier, CA:
“This was a great introduction to the thematic unit – thorough and engaging! We are all so appreciative that you put this together. We have missed our field trip to San Juan Capistrano and this went a long way to easing that disappointment for our students.”

Said Robin Echt, a fourth grade teacher in Calabasas:
“This allowed history to come to life, provided context, and gave them a field trip experience they wouldn't otherwise have had.”

For more information, please contact CMF at 805.284.3986 or via email at info@californiamissionsfoundation.org


Click Here to View the Video

39th Annual California Indians, Missions and Presidios Conference

"Mission San Luis Obispo 250 Years"

Mission San Luis Obispo will be the site of the 39th Annual California Indians, Missions and Presidios Conference, Feb. 18-20, 2022.

CMF Loses a Legend
Dr. Knox Mellon (1925-2021)

Former CMF executive director and one of the legends in California historic preservation, Dr. Knox Mellon passed away on Sunday, January 10, 2021 on his beloved Monterey Peninsula following a sudden brief illness. His dear wife Carlotta, who teamed with Knox on so many CMF projects announced the passing “with great sadness.”

Please click here to read the full article.

To donate to the Knox Mellon Memorial Fund please click below.

New Drone Technology at the Missions

CMF has been deploying the use of a drone to capture footage of the damage and aftermath efforts at Mission San Gabriel. With this unique perspective, CMF is able to share images of the California Missions in a new way. As we detail the restoration process at historic structures, CMF will also be using the drone footage as an educational tool while students continue at home schooling and are unable to take a field trip to their local mission. Recently, CMF had a visit to Mission Santa Ines and we share this drone footage of the mission's Pastor, Fr. Robert Barbato.

Restoration at Mission San Gabriel Continues

The statues are being cleaned, a temporary roof has been installed protecting the structure from winter rains, and scaffolding has been erected to stabilize the church. Paint samples are being taken from some of the exposed areas of the church's interior walls revealing historic colors. The vast museum collection has been taken off site for cataloging and conservation. Historic documents are being reviewed and cataloged by the Huntington Library. Soon, conservation work on the church's historic retablo will be underway, as will construction of a new permanent replacement roof. The Mission will commemorate 250 years since its founding on September 11, 2021. Save the Date! Click on the image to view a video of the restoration process.

Mission San Gabriel Fire - July 2020

Early on Saturday morning, July 11 Mission San Gabriel caught fire. The roof was quite badly damaged as were the pews within the church. Six statues on the main altar: Saint Gabriel the Archangel, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Anthony of Padua, Saint Dominic Guzman, Saint Joaquin, and Our Lady suffered significant smoke and water damage.  Thankfully, the unique Stations of the Cross, painted by Uriarte, a Native American artist from the 1800s, were saved, having been removed during recent renovations inside the church.

Mission San Gabriel was founded in 1771 by Father Junípero Serra. The current Mission has been standing since 1812  and has become known as the "Pride of the Missions".  CMF Executive Director, David Bolton went to the Mission on July 13 to speak with officials and inspect the damage.  Please click here to read more about the fire at Mission San Gabriel. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles will be spearheading the rebuild of Mission San Gabriel.  However, if you would like to donate to help preserve the mission, CMF has set up a fund to assist Mission San Gabriel in the rebuild.

Click here for more information.

California Missions Videos

Designed for you to enjoy during these times of limited contact and travel, please click the button below to view the videos. Videos copyrighted by Cultural Global Media (c. 2010). Music provided by our esteemed CMF member Dr. Craig Russell and vocal ensemble Chanticleer. All Rights Reserved.


The Mission Story

From Missions to Presidios, from Asistencias to Ranchos to Pueblos, learn about this significant chapter in our history.

20th_Anniv_Mission_Santa _Barbara

CMF Marks 23 Years of Service

As we continue to commemorate the 250 anniversary of the founding of Alta California and the founding of the first five missions that occurred 1769-1772, the California Mission Foundation celebrates its own 23 year history anniversary and its work preserving and conserving the California Missions, Presidios and other related historic sites. Click the link below to read about a few of the hundreds of projects completed at more than 25 Missions, Presidios, and Asistenicias.

California Indians

Before, During, and After the Mission Era.

Historical Preservation

Help Us Keep this Story Alive, these Treasures Need your Support!

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Mission Grants

CMF Grant Applications are accepted February 1 to May 1 each year.

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School Grants

The All Aboard the Bus applications for school field trip grants are open each year April 1 – September 30.

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Photo Gallery

Through the Lens Tells so Much.

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Our Historic Treasures Come to Life.

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Virtual Tour

An Unbelievable Experience.

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CMF is committed to world-class scholarship.

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Honoring those who have done so much.

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Bibliography, articles, and book reviews.

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CMF Online Store

Place an Order! Your online destination made easy!

El Camino Real de las Californias

A Multi-National Effort to Seek an UNESCO World Heritage Site Nomination.

California Missions Foundation

PO Box 23035
Santa Barbara, CA 93121