Santa Monica History Museum Mourns Passing of Founder, President, and CEO Louise Gabriel – Honors Her Legacy by Keeping History Alive
The Santa Monica History Museum is saddened by the passing of its Founder, President, and CEO Louise Gabriel. Gabriel was a member of the Historical Activities Committee of the Santa Monica Centennial Celebration in 1975 which led to the establishment of the Santa Monica Historical Society. Gabriel was one of the founders and incorporators of the Santa Monica Historical Society. As the collections of the Historical Society grew Louise Gabriel, along with her late husband Bob Gabriel, endeavored to establish the Santa Monica Historical Society Museum to give the Historical Society a home to share the City’s history with the public. Established in 1988, the Santa Monica Historical Society Museum is now known as the Santa Monica History Museum and flourishes in a state-of-the-art location on the main campus of the Santa Monica Public Library.
Louise Gabriel is the reason the Santa Monica History Museum exists today. It was her hard work and determination that lead to the donation of the first display cases and furniture needed to open the museum. As the museum grew, it was at her direction. Her vision and leadership allowed the museum to thrive and to become an important part of the community. “I will dearly miss Louise Gabriel, her passion for the city of Santa Monica and ‘Keeping History Alive’, her friendship, and leadership skills. I was honored to serve as Chair of the Museum’s Board of Directors and as a current Board Member will continue to support her legacy,” said Edward Guerboian, Santa Monica History Museum Board Member.
“My mother died peacefully surround by her beloved family,” said Susan Gabriel Potter, Louise Gabriel’s daughter and Santa Monica History Museum Board Member. “My mom was an extraordinary woman who lived her life to the fullest with great passion, humor, and love. She loved the community she lived in and gave back in the most generous ways.
She is an inspiration to so many and has left a tremendous legacy. The founding of the Santa Monica History Museum was to her one of her greatest accomplishments and what she was most proud of. The Santa Monica community having their own museum to preserve our own history for generations to come. There will never be another ‘Louise Gabriel’. I was so blessed to have called her my mother,” continued Gabriel Potter.
Louise Gabriel is survived by her children, Susan Gabriel Potter, Robb Gabriel, and Sharyl Gabriel Szydlik; grandchildren Patrick Potter, Bryan Potter, and Michael Szydlik; two sisters Josephine Van Buren and Elaine Bruner; sons-in-law Pat Potter and Joseph Szydlik; and many nieces and nephews. Her family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made in Louise Gabriel’s honor to the Santa Monica History Museum, 1350 7th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401.
In accordance with the Santa Monica History Museum’s succession plan, Susan Gabriel Potter has been elected by the Board of Directors as the Museum’s Interim President. Gabriel Potter will assume the duties of her late mother and lead the Museum through this time of transition. “My mother will always be my guiding light,” said Susan Gabriel Potter “and I am proud to keep her legacy and this museum moving forward to preserve and promote our community’s history.”
Before her passing Louise Gabriel, as President and CEO, had overseen the development of exciting plans for the Santa Monica History Museum in 2017. These plans include the continuation of the Museum’s popular free Discover the History lecture series and monthly free Hands on History children’s workshops. The Museum also has plans for four special exhibitions in addition to its permanent exhibit about the history of Santa Monica. These special exhibits will highlight the history of Girl Scouts, Shirley Temple, the KCRW radio station, and the Tongva Gabrielino Native Americans. “I know nothing would have made my mother prouder than working to keep our history alive,” added Gabriel Potter, “and I feel honored and privileged to be carrying on her life’s work by leading the Santa Monica History Museum.” For more information about these and other Museum events, activities, and exhibits please call (310) 395-2290 or visit www.santamonicahistory.org.
The Santa Monica History Museum is honored to celebrate the history of the Girl Scouts of the USA with its latest exhibit: The Journey of Girl Scouts: Empowering Young Women. The exhibit will open Tuesday, January 24, 2017 and be on display until Wednesday, March 29, 2017. Visitors are invited to view documents, photographs, uniforms, memorabilia, a replica campsite, and other artifacts that will bring the history of the Girl Scouts of the USA to life.
The Santa Monica History Museum is excited to invite children and their families to our FREE Hands on History workshop on Saturday, January 14th from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the Santa Monica History Museum at 1350 7th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. The theme of January’s workshop will be Chinese New Year. There will be a short, age-appropriate lesson in the galleries followed by a related craft activity.
The roots of Chinese American heritage run deep in Southern California. The first US census after California’s statehood, taken in 1850, shows two Chinese residents living in Los Angeles. This Hands on History workshop will explore the history of the Chinese American community in Santa Monica and Southern California, including the celebration of Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year, or the lunar New Year, begins on January 28, 2017. 2017 will be a year of the rooster. After a lesson in the galleries, participants will move to the museum lobby where they will create a fun, festive rooster craft to take home.
Children and their parents are invited to our free Hands on History workshop series held monthly from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Each session includes a history lesson and a correlated craft or activity. Each workshop is designed to be engaging and educational for elementary age (5 – 11 years) children. Topics for the workshops rotate throughout the year to feature relevant, seasonal lessons and activities. RSVP is requested, registration is available at the door. Every workshop is offered free of charge.
Requests for additional information can be directed to Kathryn Evans, Development & Museum Manager at [email protected] or (310) 395-2290.
The Santa Monica History Museum will offer free admission on Thursday, January 12, 2017 from noon to 8pm at the Santa Monica History Museum at 1350 7th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. All are invited to visit on this day to take advantage of free admission to the museum’s six galleries.
In addition to the permanent exhibition detailing the founding and growth of the City of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica History Museum is currently offering a special exhibit on the history of the Old Soldiers’ Home – now known as the Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Medical Center. The exhibit, The Old Soldiers’ Home: A Veterans’ Community by the Sea, details the history of the Old Soldiers’ Home, the ways in which it has changed over the years, and the veterans and nearby residents who helped build this community. Photographs, documents, military uniforms, and other historical artifacts will bring the history of the Veterans Affairs facility to life. Objects for this exhibit come from the museum’s collections as well as from the private collection of the Bandini family. The Old Soldiers’ Home exhibit will only be on display through Wednesday, January 18, 2017 – don’t miss this chance to see it before it is gone!
Free admission includes both the museum’s permanent and temporary exhibits. With free admission, all are welcome to visit, bring family and friends, and enjoy a day of appreciating our local history and culture.
For more information please contact Kathryn Evans at 310.395.2290 or [email protected].
The Santa Monica History Museum is excited to invite children and their families to our FREE Hands on History workshop on Saturday, December 17th from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the Santa Monica History Museum at 1350 7th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Children and their parents are invited to this free series held on the 3rd Saturday of each month from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
From the Long Wharf, which served as the first Port of Los Angeles, to the recently opened Expo Line, rail has been a part of Santa Monica since the City’s early years. December’s workshop will cover the history of rail in Santa Monica. There will be a short, age-appropriate lesson in the galleries followed by a related craft activity.
RSVP is requested for planning purposes. Please RSVP for this workshop by calling (310) 395-2290 or emailing [email protected]
The Santa Monica History Museum is excited to announce our holiday open house will be held on Thursday, December 8, 2016 from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Museum admission will be free all day and guests of all ages are welcome to join us for festive fun. In addition to our exhibits, we will have treats and refreshments as well as holiday music and a slideshow of historical holiday photos. For more information please call Kathryn Evans at (310) 395-2290.
The Santa Monica History Museum is excited to invite children and their families to our FREE Hands on History workshop on Saturday, November 19th from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the Santa Monica History Museum at 1350 7th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. This workshop will celebrate Native American Heritage Month.
When Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola set up a camp for his party to rest near modern-day Santa Monica in 1769, this area was populated by the Tongva Gabrielino Native Americans. During this Hands on History workshop participants will learn more about the original inhabitants of this area and what their daily life was like. After the lesson in the galleries, participants will move to the museum lobby where they will get a chance to play with replica Native American toys and games.
Please RSVP for this workshop to Kathryn Evans, Development & Museum Manager at [email protected] or (310) 395-2290.