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The de Saisset Museum opens 2001 with four exhibitions

Monday, Jan. 8, 2001

SANTA CLARA, Calif.- Jan. 8, 2001- Santa Clara University's de Saisset Museum begins the year with four new exhibits: "Symbol and Allegory Unraveled: Vestments and Religious Objects From Mission Santa Clara de Asís, 1777-1851," "Father Hubbard: Glacier Priest," "Alaska Gold: Life on the New Frontier, 1898-1906," and "Portrait Paintings From the Permanent Collection."

These exhibitions begin Jan. 27 and continue through June 24, Tuesdays through Sundays.

"Symbol and Allegory Unraveled," presented by Sybase, Inc., includes liturgical vestments, religious objects, paintings, rare books, and furnishings from SCU's de Saisset Museum collection, thought to have been in use at Mission Santa Clara from the time of its founding in 1777. The vestments and other objects-many of which have never before been on display-were selected and researched by Elise Yvonne Schlick of San Francisco, guest curator of the exhibition.

In the process of a collection inventory, museum volunteers uncovered a rich store of textiles from the early Franciscan Mission in a remote attic space, where they had been stored for decades. Of the more than 500 silk brocade and embroidered vestments in the 21 missions of California, nearly half are in the de Saisset Museum collection.

In honor of the University's 150th anniversary, the de Saisset Museum will premier "Father Hubbard: Glacier Priest," an exhibition originated at and supported by SCU. This exhibition tells the story of Bernard Hubbard, a Jesuit priest from California who led annual expeditions to Alaska from 1927 until shortly before his death in 1962.

He became known to a national audience as "The Glacier Priest." As an explorer, Hubbard used Santa Clara University as his base camp and the territory of Alaska as his destination. His annual Alaskan expeditions featured scientific observations, thrills and adventure, wonder and liturgies. By 1940, Hubbard's films were shown in movie houses across America.

Hubbard is buried in Santa Clara Mission Cemetery. His 11,000 photographic negatives and artifacts are stored in the Santa Clara University Archives, and his 200,000 feet of raw film and 50 film shorts are stored in the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

"Alaska Gold" tells the story of Wilfred and Edmund McDaniel, two brothers who left their Santa Clara ranch at the turn of the century, boarded a steamship to San Francisco, and sailed north. For years, they lived and worked as gold miners on a Bering Sea beach near Nome, Alaska. The exhibition, drawn entirely from the photographs, artifacts and letters of the McDaniel Family Collection, provides an intimate portrait of life on the new frontier. Jeff Kunkel is the guest curator for both the "Alaska Gold" and "Glacier Priest" exhibits.

"Portrait Paintings" will include works ranging from realism to idealism and paintings by Arnold G. Mountfort (1873-1942), who spent years painting European sitters before moving to Los Angeles and focusing on Hollywood notables.

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum will be closed April 13-16 for Easter and May 26-28 for Memorial Day. Admission is free. For more information, call the de Saisset Museum at 408-554-4528.

The 17,000-square-foot museum opened next to the Mission Santa Clara de Asis on the Santa Clara University campus in 1955. The member-supported, privately funded institution operated by SCU has been accredited by the American Association of Museums since 1979.

Santa Clara University is a 7,700-student, Catholic, Jesuit university that celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.

For information about Santa Clara University, visit For media inquiries, contact Kelly Shenefiel at 408- 554-5125 or email

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