Preserving the Past for Future Generations

National Historic Landmark, 11 historic structures, and 5 museums throughout 22 acres

(831) 624-3261

“The idea is not to live forever but to create something that will.” – Andy Warhol




Commission by Fr. Ramon Mestres and iconized in Steinbeck’s novels Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row, the Mora Chapel was completed in 1924. This building consists of 1,750 square feet and includes the loft area and the cenotaph created by acclaimed Carmel sculptor Jo Mora. Fr. Ramon was known as the “Padre of Restoration” and led the Carmel Mission restoration era. The Mora Chapel is mirrored upon the Serra Chapel at Mission San Juan Capistrano, which provided an ideal model of what may have existed, for it is the only building left in California where it could be proven that Father Serra celebrated Mass.

Built between 1921 and 1924, the Mora Chapel Museum and the memorial cenotaph it houses are seminal achievements marking the birth of the modern restoration period of the Carmel Mission. For that reason, the Museum seemed the ideal site to present the overall theme of 20th century restoration. It ties the story of master restorer Harry Downie with that of Jo Mora, the famed artist commissioned for the Mora Chapel and cenotaph and leads into the current 21st century restoration efforts. Visitors to the Mora Chapel Museum will be able to identify and learn about the symbolism of the magnificent artifacts displayed in the altar, many of them also sculpted by Jo Mora. Panels around the cenotaph will interpret the bas-reliefs and sculptures on each of the cenotaph’s faces. Along with historical images and artifacts that tell the story of the restoration of Carmel Mission and its presence in the 1900s through the founding of the town Carmel-by-the-Sea.

To learn how you can help, please contact the Foundation office at (831) 624-3261 or email

Mora Chapel completed in 1924 (notice the ruins of the padre quarters in front)

Cenotaph Completed 1927

Mora Museum 2018

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