Monterey, Calif., Mar 7, 2021 / 14:01 pm
A Catholic group has received a large grant to restore one of the oldest California missions and to provide a place for tourists to examine the state’s religious and cultural history.
In February, Carmel Mission Foundation received a $1,800,000 grant for the Downie Museum and Basilica Forecourt Restoration, which seeks to rejuvenate the Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo located in Carmel, Calif., about five miles south of Monterey.
The project is scheduled to be completed by the fall in time to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the mission’s establishment. The grant was issued by the Hind Foundation, which provides non-profit organizations with the resources and tools to help restore monumental structures.
Linda Gardner, office manager for the Carmel Mission Foundation, emphasized the mission’s historical significance and value to the community.
“The Carmel Mission Basilica and Museums draw over 300,000 visitors annually, of all ages, races, ethnicity, genders, and religious backgrounds. As the burial place of one of America’s founding fathers, Saint Junipero Serra, Carmel Mission is a place of significant national and international historical importance for both religious and secular alike,” she told CNA.
The grant will be used to update according to state regulations, reinforce deteriorating structures, and restore the 100-year-old adobe museum and the main courtyard entrance of the Carmel Mission.
In the museum, the project will install new electrical, lighting, and fire suppression. It will also augment the museum’s masonry, which needs to be seismically strengthened in accordance with state law to protect the structure from earthquakes.
The main visitor restrooms will be relocated and removed from the original structure, restoring the adobe’s original floor plan. The museum’s exhibit space will then be doubled.