Historic Preservation

The Challenges of Historic Preservation

The California missions are among the oldest surviving structures in the state, and many are in need of repair and restoration. With each passing year, without proper conservation, mission walls crack and artwork fades.

The challenges of preservation are clear, and so are the solutions. The important work of preserving the missions is underway, but much more needs to be done.

Time and money must be devoted to ensuring the historical integrity of these centuries-old missions. Careful and appropriate repairs are expensive and mandatory for historically accurate preservation and adherence to government standards for historic properties.

Forces of nature constantly challenge the primitive construction of our missions. Most buildings are adobe (dried mud) structures, susceptible to water damage. Exposure to the elements, shifting soils and earthquakes contribute to structural instability. The California Missions Foundation is continually working to fund stabilization efforts.

Many mission collections have never been fully catalogued or assessed due to a lack of financial resources. Costly archeological examinations are often required in conjunction with repair efforts. Expensive evaluations are necessary to unearth the full archeological significance of the missions.

Security of mission treasures has always been a challenge. Baroque statues, Indian basketry and stonework, candlesticks, textiles, historical photographs and mission era tools and artifacts have disappeared from unguarded missions. The California Missions Foundation is currently working to upgrade security at every mission with state-of-the-art equipment. Funding is needed to continue this important aspect of the overall preservation efforts.

The California Missions Foundation's preservation efforts depend on contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations and government agencies. Please join us in preserving California's missions for future generations.


Exterior wall of Mission San Miguel Arcangel before repairs