Besides its glorious buildings and historic architecture, the Carmel Mission is a repository of artifacts and artwork related to the Mission’s early beginnings in the area. This includes St. Junipero Serra’s Bible, which can be found on display in the Convento Museum, priceless paintings and beautiful reproductions, plus much more. Nature lovers will find a bountiful assortment of plants and flowers within the Mission’s complex, all lovingly cared for by Mission staff. The Mission is also home to one of the oldest libraries in California with books dating back to the 1500’s.
The Carmel Mission Foundation is dedicated to preserving these important connections to history for future generations. In 2017, CMF made grants to the Mission totaling more than $40,000 for artifact conservation and museum expenses.
Artifacts at the Mission include statues and materials unearthed on the property during various renovations. One of the Mission’s prized artifacts is the Our Lady of Bethlehem Statue, which can be seen in the Bethlehem Chapel connected to the Basilica. Thanks to a sizeable donation made by the Carmel Mission Docents Association, CMF awarded a $30,000 grant for the conservation of this artifact, believed to be one of the oldest statues of Mary in the state.
It’s believed the statue was entrusted in 1769 to Junipero Serra by the Visitador General of New Spain, Jose de Galvez, to mark the first expedition to Alta California.
Grants have also been made to the Mission for the construction of new display cases in the Convento Museum, the fumigation of the of the tree limb from the famed Vizcaino Serra Oak Tree, and more. It was under the oak tree, in June of 1770, where Serra held his first mass in Monterey.