Shangri-La: Ojai’s Untold Stories

Dr. Andrus at her desk in Ojai

Shangri-la: Ojai’s Untold Stories, the final exhibit for 2012 at the Ojai Valley Museum, will run for three months, October through December 30, 2012. It features historical, primarily unknown personalities, who were directly related to Ojai and who have had great influence on the town and the nation. The five “Untold Stories” featured in this exhibit highlight the lives of Ethel Percy Andrus, Benedict Bantly, Edward Libbey, Effie May Skelton and Edward Jacob Wenig; all of whom were tenacious, passionate, political, fearless, selfless, and adventuresome movers and shakers in a wide variety of fields and endeavors.

This tour de force, original history exhibit is comprised of text and three-dimensional installation/tableaux chronicling the five personalities, plus six short stories about additional influential individuals and little known tidbits of Ojai history. The primary stories about the three men and two women, all of whom had ties to Ojai, serve to educate, enlighten, surprise and impress. Visitors will be enriched by the information within these stories and their awareness of this community will be greatly expanded.

The concept for this exhibit – to relate stories about Ojai that are not known by most people – was conceived several years ago. Four Community Curators, Patricia Atkinson, Laura Crary, David Mason and Craig Walker, researched and wrote the texts and gathered supportive ephemera for each individual/person featured in the exhibit. Michele Ellis Pracy, Ojai Valley Museum Director, curated each of their contributions to form the overall group exhibition.

Contributors to the Shangri-la exhibit include: AARP, The Gables of Ojai, Ojai Community Bank, Ojai Estate Sales, Treasures of Ojai, Jim McCarthy and Christine Brennan, La Piu Bella Tavola, Tony and Anne Thacher, Bob and Alyce Parsons, Christine Fenn, Veronica Cole, Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, Angelique LaCour, Teri Thomson Randall, Barbara and Sandy Service and Lily Liu.

The museum is located at 130 W. Ojai Avenue, Ojai, CA. Admission: free for current 2012 members, adults – $4.00, children 6-18 – $1.00 and children 5 and under free. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Tours are available by appointment. Free parking is available off Blanche Street at back of museum.

The Ojai Valley Museum, established in 1967, is generously supported in part by Museum Members, Private Donors, Business Sponsors and Underwriters, the Smith-Hobson Foundation, Wood-Claeyssens Foundation, City of Ojai, Rotary Club of Ojai, and the Ojai Civic Association.

For more information, call the museum at (805) 640-1390, ext. 203, e-mail or visit the museum website at:

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