Bowers Museum: A Cultural Gem in Santa Ana

When it comes to museums in Southern California, the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana is one of the brightest gems in the region. Founded in 1936, the museum is home to an extensive collection of art, artifacts, and objects from around the world. From Mesoamerican ceramics to African textiles, the Bowers Museum is a true celebration of global creativity and history.

A Brief History of Bowers Museum

The Bowers Museum began as the vision of Charles and Ada Bowers, a couple who traveled extensively throughout the world in the early 20th century. They collected art and cultural objects from their travels, with the goal of sharing their love of diverse cultures with the Orange County community.

In 1936, the Bowers opened their first gallery space in the City of Santa Ana. By the 1960s, the museum had expanded to its current location, a stunning Spanish colonial revival building that was once the city's former Public Library.

The Collection

One of the most impressive things about the Bowers Museum is the breadth and depth of its collection. With over 100,000 objects, the museum houses everything from ancient artifacts to contemporary works of art.

Some of the most notable pieces in the collection include the Ancient Arts of China gallery, which features rare and exquisite ceramics, bronze vessels, and jade carvings dating back to the Shang and Zhou dynasties (1600-256 BCE).

The museum is also well-known for its collection of Pacific Islander art and artifacts, including pieces from Hawaii, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea. Visitors can see intricately carved war clubs, feathered headdresses, and other unique objects that tell the stories of these rich and diverse cultures.

Special Exhibitions

In addition to its permanent collection, the Bowers Museum also hosts several special exhibitions throughout the year. These exhibitions feature works from around the world, including art, artifacts, and cultural objects that are rarely seen outside of their home countries.

One recent exhibition, \"Emperors' Treasures: Chinese Art from the National Palace Museum, Taipei,\" showcased over 150 rare and precious artifacts from the collection of the National Palace Museum in Taipei. This exhibition gave visitors a glimpse into the world of imperial China, featuring everything from jade carvings to gold and enamel objects.

The Kidseum

The Bowers Museum's commitment to education is evident in its Kidseum, a space dedicated to children and families. The Kidseum features interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and cultural performances that are designed to engage and inspire young visitors.

One of the most popular features of the Kidseum is the \"Silly Selfies\" exhibit, which allows visitors to take photos of themselves with fun and quirky backgrounds inspired by the museum's collection. The Kidseum also offers cultural art classes, summer camps, and educational programs for schools and community groups.


Overall, the Bowers Museum is a true cultural gem in Santa Ana, California. With its extensive collection, special exhibitions, and commitment to education, the museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in global art and culture.

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