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Bowers Museum - Updated COVID-19 Hours & Services - 1521 Photos & 316 Reviews - Museums - 2002 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA - Phone Number - Yelp
"The BowersMuseum is now open! While we're excited to welcome back our community, their safety and that of our staff will remain our priority. Accordingly, the BowersMuseum Reopening Taskforce has developed the following greatly enhanced health and safety precautions for…"
Take a trip around the globe at the BowersMuseum! Opened in 1936, the Bowers prides itself on showcasing world-class arts and cultures in a warm, inviting space located in the heart of Orange County. Bowers has been voted "Best Museum in Orange County" by OC Register for 26 years and has organized more than 50 special exhibitions in just the past 15 years in partnership with some of the greatest museums in the world. Recent highlights include blockbusters such as Terra Cotta Warriors, Mummies: Treasures from the British Museum, Guo Pei: Couture Beyond, and Inside the Walt Disney Archives. Over 100,000 square feet and surrounded by lush gardens, the Bowers campus includes a 296 seat auditorium, 12,000 square feet of event space, a Patina-owned Tangata Restaurant, a robust Gallery Store, 8 permanent exhibitions, and spectacular featured exhibits on rotation, to ensure a full day of engaging fun with every visit.
The BowersMuseum also engages a broad and diverse audience with a variety of exciting programs, both onsite and online. These include family cultural arts festivals, lectures, film series, symposia, teacher workshops, and education programs. BowersMuseum, bringing the world to you.…
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This was my first visit to the BowersMuseum. my main reason for the visit was to see "Inside the Walt Disney Archives" exhibit. It was well done and they had some great pieces on display. Some areas were a little congested so you had to be aware of your social distancing with others. I didn't feel unsafe in any way though! Most people are respectful and will say excuse me if they're too close or vise versa. Afterwards I visited the rest of the museum which had some beautiful things on display. The gift shop was very nice and had a nice selection of goodies. Just be advised once you're inside the Disney exhibit you can't re-enter of you leave so plan accordingly.
I had such a wonderful time visiting the BowersMuseum yesterday. I felt completely safe during my visit. I purchased a ticket online for the 2 pm timeslot and spent one hour in the Disney Archives exhibit. The exhibit is so well done and this is coming from a former cast member who has been inside the actual archives. This exhibit is the perfect dose of magic while the parks are closed.
I was able to find street parking in a neighborhood on the other side of broadway. It was a half mile walk from my car to the museum. I was thrilled for the 10% off welcome back discount in the gift shop.
Disney fans will enjoy the exhibit which is scheduled to be at the museum through 8/30/2020.
7/22/2020Thanks so much for your kind words. We're thrilled you enjoyed your visit and look forward to reopening our doors with these enhanced safety measures just as soon as deemed safe by local and state officials. More good news- the Disney exhibition has been extended to October 18!
This is a cute museum that is very oddly laid out. I came here to specifically see the Walt Disney Archives exhibit. I'm going to divide this review into parts.
Parking: They charge $6 for parking and it's cash only. However if you go to the street on the south side of the museum you can park for free by parking on the street. Just pay attention to the signs and be sure you are not parking illegally.
Museum cost: So it costs $25 for the Walt Disney Archives. That includes the Archives and every other exhibit they have inside this museum. Overall I think it's a perfect price.
Museum layout: So when we started we decided to start with the Disney part because that was why we came in. Well that whole area flowed and moved perfectly. It had you enter from one side and exit right near the main entrance of the museum. Then we decided to explore the rest of the museum. This is where they lost me a bit. They have a lot of cute exhibits in this museum. However you need to go searching for them. They have some on one half of the museum and some on another half. What is unique is how many people miss the upstairs portion or the one dedicated to Asian history. Those ones are very easy to never find. Overall the layout was strange and we were not given a map so we only found these places by pure luck.
Gift shop: They have a small gift shop right at the front of the museum. It was cute and filled with a lot of items from California history and Disney related items.
Overall this is a cute little museum. I would probably only return if they have a unique exhibit that intrigues me. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful, but the layout of the museum was a bit frustrating.
Went to see Disney Archives and I really enjoyed it. Nicely exhibited although it was a bit pricey. The street parkings around the area, just be careful with the signs. I selected the time and got the ticket online. The lady at the front desk was pretty unfriendly...
An absolutely fantastic museum in SantaAna with a lot of great history. I come here again and again to see the beautiful artifacts and exhibits. The gemstone carvings display by Harold Van Pelt is a classic that I always enjoy admiring as well as the artifacts of the First Californians. I love how alive the Pacific Islanders exhibit is and how transported you feel once you're inside. A recent exhibit that opened that I really loved was the watercolor art by Arthur Beaumont.
Also, I enjoy conversing with the curators at Bowers. They're always very knowledgeable, genuinely enjoy history, and happy to guide you to where you want to go! Overall, I find this museum fascinating and a great place to spend time with friends and family.
Great little museum in the heart of SantaAna! Exhibits featuring Chinese Dynasties, Mexican-Californian culture, & Pacific Islands art/weaponry. The only downside was that you need cash to pay for parking. Fun way to spend a gloomy Saturday!
WOW!!! Came here for the Guo Pei exhibit and was beyond impressed with this museum. It's beautifully laid out and the Pacific Islander Cultural exhibit is TOP NOTCH. While I gave it five stars, because I really think this is an 'as good as it gets' kind of museum, I had some minor gripes:
1. $6 parking although I didn't inspect how easy it would be to get street parking - this plus $15 entry starts to get a lil bit expensive (although the Getty has free admission, it gouges you with the $20 parking LOL.. the Getty also has a huge endowment, to be fair) 2. The Guo Pei exhibit, while fantastic, really could have used more information. We looked up the website they advised to see 'more information', but there really wasn't any more information. Just a date and a high level on what materials were used. That was kind of a bummer - I wanted to know a lot more about each piece (inspiration, more details on what went into the making, etc). 3. Museum closes at 4. I wish it stayed open until 5 for non-morning people that drive down from LA.
The Pacific Islander exhibit had tons of information and really told the story. The gemstones exhibit was really nice. The museum closes at 4 pm so we didn't have time to check out the rest of the museum or appreciate the lovely grounds. We did like the singing rock :)
I look forward to going back. This is a fantastic museum!
I had a great experience with both their free family events and temporary exhibits. Free family events is great to get the community involved and especially the children. Then their temporary exhibits are amazing to go and see with a friend.
I had a great experience with both there free family events and temporary exhibits. Free family events is a great way to get the community involved and especially the children. Then there temporary exhibits are amazing to go and see with a friend.
Attended a private event at this location last night and it was amazing! I had never heard of this museum until I visited it last night. It's a great location for a private venue , with an outdoor garden / seating area and modern accents.
The museum has a great collection of pieces and artwork adorned throughout. The Tamayo exhibit was rather fascinating , along with the art pieces from Nepal and other eras displayed. The staff members working the event were very friendly and the catered food was amazing !
Hidden gem in SantaAna. I'm really sad I didn't know about this museum until today. My girlfriend invited me to join her because she wanted to see Guo Pei the fashion designers collection. It was a fantastic and truly exceptional display. This is a limited exhibit that ends middle of July 2019. Entrance fee can be bought online or at the museum. Adult $15. There are senior and student ( with ID) discount too. They will apply the entrance fee towards an annual pass if you want to purchase it the same day. The permanent exhibits are worth exploring too. The Gemstone carvings, Spirit hunters and Ancient arts of China. We didn't allow enough time to see the entire museum this time. We only saw half the museum because we spent too much time looking at the special exhibit. I think you can spend at least 4 hours here. Not including eating at their restaurant, Tangata which will validate the $6 parking fee. Just make sure you show the valet the ticket ( with validation) and get a refund before he leaves for the day! I dilly dallied after closing time to take additional pics outside and the valet guy had already left. Oh well... Stop by the museum store. Lots of goodies for purchase. Can't wait to go back. My friend was so impressed, she got an annual pass (duo). If her husband can't go, she is allowed to bring a plus one.
This gem of a museum absolutely delighted during a day trip to Orange County. I arrived excited for the opening of the Guo Pei: Couture Beyond exhibit - which was mind-blowing - and discovered a wider world of thoughtfully-presebted exhibits ranging across China, the Pacific Islands, California, Mexico, California, and even Peru.
A mid-sized museum with two stories, two courtyards, and gorgeously-landscaped front and rear entrances, the Bowers took a full two hours to explore. Favorite exhibits included:
Guo Pei: Couture Beyond: this must-see 40-piece walk through wonderland showcases famed Chinese couturier Guo Pei's fantastical creations. From her Elysium collection's love affair with spirituality and the natural world (aka a fantastical gold ballgown made with bamboo) to Garden of Soul's intricate origami pleating and jewel-encrusted embroidery to 1002 Nights' Arabian and European fairy tale influences to An Amazing Journey in a Childhood Dream's delicate pastel motifs, every single one of Guo Pei's dresses is a dream brought to life. I could've spent all day walking amidst the gowns over and over. The designer's sold-out opening day talk with SCAD President Paula Wallace, in which she shared how growing up with her grandmother during the Cultural Revolution, her emphasis on expressing her joyful inner child, and three decades of experience as well as continual passion for love, beauty, and cultural motifs have shaped her work (and led Rihanna to wearing one of her gowns at the 2015 Met Gala!), topped off an already-resplendent experience.
Gemstone Carvings: Masterworks by Harold Van Pelt: who knew that quartz could be carved into 3mm creations with the clarity of glass? Van Pelt's transformation of quartz, rock crystal, and agate gemstones into vases, jewel boxes, eggs, skulls, and other decorative elements is nothing short of spectacular. An introductory poster shows how Van Pelt grinds gemstones into paper-thin walls, followed by beautifully-crafted pieces that bring out the gorgeous natural quality and colors of agate and lend quartz glass-like transparency.
Ancient Arts of China: A 5000 Year Journey: wonderfully introduced with a timeline tracing China's history from the Neolithic age through various dynasties into modern times, this exhibit highlights China as the one of the oldest and most sophisticated civilizations on earth. See painted ceramic pots from the Neolithic period, embroidered silk court robes and ivory carvings from the 19th century, and even a real-life representation of a Chinese scholar's study complete a desk featuring the Four Treasures: paper, brush, ink and inkstone.
California Bounty: Image and Identity: take a leisurely visual journey through California history, shaped by a blend of Mexican, Anglo, and Pacific influences. This collection of paintings proffers an insightful lens into the American government and businessmen's marketing of California as a land of produce and plenty, including: paintings and daily life items from the "Mission and Rancho period; landscapes by plein air painters portraying California's coasts and canyons; and sumptuous portraits and still-life paintings of flowers and paper-wrapped [citrus] by Alberta and William McCloskey."
First Californians: this permanent one-room exhibit is packed with Native American art and artifacts in stone, shell, plant fiber (through beautiful basketry), and feathers. Insightful and educational!
The Spirits and Headhunters: Art of the Pacific Worlds, Ceramics of Western Mexico, California Legacies: Missions and Ranchos, and Sacred Realms: Temple Murals by Shashi Dhoj Tulachan exhibits are also quite interesting to see!
TIPS: enjoy a light lunch at Tangata, Patina Group's on-site restaurant, which incidentally will validate the museum's $6 parking fee, and/or hang out with friends in the sunny museum courtyard.
Just say no to this museum unless they have a cool special exhibit going on. The mummy exhibit from a few years ago is really awesome, real mummies that you'll have to go overseas to see. For the regular museum, it's super small. You can see everything in less than an hour. Their exhibits are very boring and don't make much sense. Not many videos or truly interesting info or artifacts. The museum decor is nothing that great. To top it off, the admission is expensive and parking cost money too. This is not downtown Los Angeles! Will never return.
Even though I never been here, I got to say from the pictures that I saw on google images, it looks like a really good place. I remembered my 6th-grade teacher telling me that a few years before I came to her class/ She told me and my whole class that her previous class and the other classes were so loud that the director had to kick them all out and ban them from coming back because of their behavior. We had to go to another museum and I got to say it's a bit better than this museum.
I'm always delighted when I visit this museum. Their permanent exhibits are remarkable but their temporary exhibits are exquisite. The museum store has an exceptional inventory of items that would satisfy most discriminating taste. The museum's restaurant should be included in your visit.
Located on Main Street in SantaAna, California, The BowersMuseum was the last tour stop on our trip. I was amazed by the amount and diversity of pieces that the museum housed.
On entering, there is a display of Buddhist temple art called Sacred Realms by Shashi Dhoj Tulachan. These are hand done murals using natural mineral pigments. The incredibly detailed murals and you can't help but be in awe of the talent, dedication, and patience of the people who did the works.
Then it was on to see a traveling exhibit of photos called "American Visionary: John F. Kennedy's Life and Times." Starting with his infancy and continuing to the assassination, the exhibit focuses on the life of the president and not the tragic end. Some of the photos are images I've seen before. Many were new to me and it was interesting to see them given my admiration for the former president.
I then went to another section of the museum where I throughly enjoyed "Edurance: The Antarctic Legacy of Sir Ernest Shackleton and Frank Hurley." The photos and video of Hurley were amazing and prompted me to read more about this mission when I got home.
Another, "Spirits and Headhunters: Art of the Pacific Islands," was very interesting with incredible native art from the Pacific.
There were other sections of interest, too, but I'd recommend if you live in the area or are on your way through SantaAna that you stop and spend some time at the Bowers. It's wonderful!
I always knew that BowersMuseum has cool exhibits, wanted to check some out, but never had the chance until recently. Why? It's in OC, in SantaAna and it's expensive.
My husband wanted to spend his b-day in downtown SantaAna, so we included Bowers on our itinerary.
I did follow my Yelper's friends advice and purchase tickets ahead of time, via Groupon, for $25,60 for 2 people (with a 20% discount included). The tickets included admission to their special exhibit about the Empress Dowager's collection and the regular museum, its permanent collection. Best deal that you can get. Bowers is one of the most expensive museums in California.
Otherwise, regular admission is $15 in the weekend, $2 more than weekdays, never heard of that and I don't think it's fair. Seniors and students, $12 for weekends, $10 for the rest of the week. For special exhibits they charge $25 per person. On top, they charge $6 for parking. We walked, but there's street parking around.
When we got inside, it was super crowded, the ticket line wasn't moving. One lady was dealing with a tour group, the other ones was dealing with 2 ladies who were buying tickets, the longest transaction in history, thought they were getting tickets to fly to Mars.
Since we pre-paid, we were getting antsy, line not moving for more than 10 minutes, kids crying behind, so I asked the lady who was dealing with the tour group what's going on. She directed me to another ticket booth, in another part of the museum, yes there are more! Got the tickets and went to check out the Dowager's exhibit which was interesting, but located in a very small room, crowded, is it worth the high ticket price? No, get the Groupon. After that, we stepped in another crowded temporary exhibit- "Endurance- The Antarctic Legacy", full of great photos and details.
Then, we were off to explore the permanent collection. We enjoyed the California Bounty - a mix of art and history of our cool state, I loved the paintings, nice little collection spread out on a couple of levels. They also have a small, but nice Chinese art collection, but our favorite was their Art of the Pacific Islands impressive spread. We love the art, history of that side of the world, and their collection is more and solid (reminded us of Fowler).
The museum's building is fun to explore, it has an older side - where California Bounty collection is located, a newer one - where the Art from China and Pacific Islands is to be found. Near them, there are some nice sculpture gardens where you can relax, get away from the crowds.
There are restrooms and water fountains all through the museum.
The museum is middle-sized, allow 2-3 hours to visit, I liked the building, it's charming, has a beautiful entrance and a cozy courtyard (where their restaurant is located).
The museum is nice, very crowded, has a small collection, the type of place you should check out once, especially if you don't live in the area. Great activity if you're in the area. I got over the hype checking out the exhibits and comparing the museums to other ones in LA area, I wasn't sold. The distance and the admission will keep me away.
So much to see and so little time. When I heard the Empress Dowager Cixi exhibit was showing at the Bowers, I asked my aunt, a retired docent for Bowers, to please, please, please give me a tour. As the posters claim, the exhibit is just a selection from the summer palace so it's not extensive, but still nicely curated. Usually, when I visit an exhibit, I like to look at every single thing AND read the corresponding information on my own. However, docents, like my aunt, can give additional insightful information that are not listed in the display.
BTW, docent tours are complimentary and take about 50 minutes which means you view about 8 - 10 displays. The tour schedule is listed at the desk.
Adjacent to the Dowager exhibit was the Shackleton exhibit which I had to fly through since I had people waiting for me. I love history!
Another program that the museum offers is Timeless Melodies, a lecture series for music lovers. I love music! December's theme was a A Salute to Marriage Music, a humorous lecture that included music ranging from 1892 Daisy (aka A Bicycle Built For Two) to 1964 Sunrise Sunset. Interspersed between the music videos were comic strips related to being married that merited plenty of chuckling from the audience due to the painful truths of marriage.
During my time at Bowers, I felt I only scratched the service as there is so much to see.
Parking is $6 and is validated if you eat at their in-house restaurant, Tangata (see my review).
We had a great time browsing the artworks and historical relics, and reading about California history. The restaurant is a bit pricey but the food is amazing so it was worth it. Love the gift shop, which looks more like a well-decorated home than a shop.
Knocked off a star for two reasons: first, one room has a wheelchair lift with a sign from the county inspector indicating it is unsafe to use. Second, nearly every placard in the Ruth Segerstrom wing has at least one glaring typo (misspellings, missing words, misplaced punctuation, an entire wall written in the wrong tense, etc.) The problem seems specific to that wing, maybe indicating that one sloppy employee typed everything up, but it's a damn shame the museum doesn't care enough to fix any of it.
The BowersMuseum provides a cultural experience through art pieces and artifacts with a healthy permanent collection (art of Africa, art of the Pacific, Asian art, Native American art, Pre-Columbian art, and Orange County history) and an commendable array of temporary and traveling exhibitions.
FRIDA KAHLO - HER PHOTOS Such exhibitions as Frida Kahlo - Her Photos are certainly enjoyable (and heart-wrenching) and educational.
But if you're like my husband, my best friend for life and death, you'll also walk away with an immense inspiration to reconnect with your own artistic side.
The Frida exhibition ends on June 25, 2017, so you don't have much time, but I highly recommend it to you if there is a chance...
But if you miss out, they seem to bring in some incredibly interesting topics like... A Frank Lloyd Wright exhibition at the end of June, then later this fall is a Sir Ernest Shackleton (read "Endurance" - it's so captivating) - I'm intrigued with both!
TIP - This Saturday, June 17, 2017 is a screening of "Frida." If I understand it correctly, you can pay $15 to watch the movie under the stars then have after-hours access to the exhibit inside the museum.
TICKETS I purchased our tickets as a Groupon deal back in April. It was $32 for two adults to the Museum along with the "Her Photos" Exhibit. Children 12 and under were free. Additionally, if we had time, we would have paid the children's fees to the Kidseum. Us adults would have been free.
PARKING Free public parking is available on Main Street close to the freeways. My husband thought it was a little sketchy at first, however, we didn't have any issues. It is a bit unkempt. Looks like a hangout spot for kids after school. It's just a short walk down the sidewalk and across the street to the Bowers. The museum parking lot charges $6.
OVERALL The museum is honestly smaller than I anticipated, but the staff was friendly. Plus, the restrooms were clean and the temporary Frida gift shop was cute.