Historic Lectures and Tours 
Lecture Series
Topics relevant to the Rancho or Hacienda, including stories of the Land and glimpses into the lives and works of former residents of the property.

Hacienda's South Loggia with Rare Encaustic Tile
LECTURES:   Check Calendar for Details





THE COTSEN INSTITUTE OF ARCHEOLOGY: The Cotsen Institute and La Senora hold a close collaborative bond with many events each year on each others sites.  It was via the Cotsen, that La Senora  became a Getty/Cotsen Graduate School of Conservation study site.  The lecture programs available to our Patron Members through the Cotsen are simply unparalled. 

The original resources the Cotsen provided to  La Senora for its Cemetery Exploration and Education program included bringing Dean Goodman and Brian Damiata's geophysical and archeometry to our education program....and, yes it's true that together we won the Governor's Award for Historic Preservation....... but we also found how much help we could ask for in mustering the community behind our drive to culturally landmark the land in front of the cemetery.  Wendy Teeter, Curator of the Cotsen's Fowler Museum of Archeology personally led the 'dig' under the footings of the 'under construction home intrusion' to ensure Rancho Descendants that future residents would not be 'sleeping on the graves of ancestors'.  All during the year we invite La Senora members to lectures, films, dinners with distinguished scientists from projects all over the globe.  Click on this link and let us introduce you to the truly cool things the Cotsen Institute is about.  http://youtu.be/FvQCE73upJU  And remember, we will be inviting Patron level La Senora members to dinners with speakers from the Cotsen.



 Did you hear the news!  Art Barron's documentary on saving the historic site around our 1840s cemetery took



PBS screened the documentary and local historic organizations are also screening this history. La Senora screened it  on a continuous loop during our Annual Wine Tasting.  (Check the "Calendar Page for date of next annual Wine tasting.)

A typical La Senora Research Institute Season of Events

On-site events at the Mojica Hacienda are seasonable with each Season typically running from May through September.  During the colder months October - April, we plan unusual field trips, the larger of which are announced via e-mail. 

All activities are posted to the Calendar but there are some special very small group trips we arrange for our Patron Members --details on how to reserve for those events is available to our Patron Level Members who provide the operating support for La Senora. 


Example of Past Lectures and Tours


Cinco de Mayo: A U.S. Civil War Era holiday:

 Lecturer: Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, Executive Director of the University of California Center for the study of Latino Health and Culture (CESLAC)


The discovery of the origins of Cinco de Mayo was as surprising to the research team as it was to our audience.  Many of us have wondered why this is a Holiday celebrated so enthusiastically in California, but limited in Mexico to Puebla and areas well-settled by retired Californians; but it never occurred to us that it was not a Mexican holiday.  The first Cinco de Mayo celebration took place in October of 1863 -- over a year after the successful battle of Puebla in 1862.  At the time of the Celebration Puebla was already back under French siege.    Californios knew Juarez was more than reluctant to 'recognize the legitimacy' of the Confederacy in order to have its help fighting off the French; but Californios also knew that if the French won Mexico, it favored slavery and would recognize the Confederacy.  This held the promise of California being split in two at the Mason-Dixon line with Southern California becoming a slave state.    The California Celebration was a Hispanic rallying cry to raise attention and funds for a two-pronged effort  to help the Union fight the Confederacy and Juarez fight the French. Prominent on the stage of the first celebrations of Cinco de Mayo were large posters of Abraham Lincoln and Mexican Generals.  The celebration was intended, and remained throughout the Civil War, as a declaration of U.S./Mexico solidarity.


Rancho Boca de Santa Monica History

Lecturer: Ernest Marquez, Historian and Rancho Descendent  


Documentary Film Screening - Will Rogers:  Lectures by Will Rogers Park Rangers and Docents  on the life of and screening of the Will Rogers documentary in La Senora's Teatro.  Three screenings and counting.....


Will Rogers Museum

These small group tours are a companion piece whenever a screening of the Will Rogers Documentary is scheduled.   La Senora Patron members were fortunate to receive a private tour of the Ranch House museum by Michael Allan, the State Parks Ranger who has for so many years immersed himself in the lore of Will Rogers, the Ranch, the polo field and the visitors Will entertained there.  At the time Will established his polo field (so important to him that he graded for it before he started construction on his Ranch house) there were 35 polo fields in the Los Angeles area.  Today only this one remains.  

There is a very strong tie-in between the Mojica Hacienda under the ownership of the Loos Family, where Will Rogers was a guest and friend of Anita Loos.  Her circle of friends overlapped extensively with his, particularly when it came to those who played polo.


Buena Vista - California Heritage Museum 

A small group of 12 La Senora guests spent the afternoon at the California Heritage Museum having a private, and very intimate tour of a remarkable assemblage of watercolors created by California artists who journeyed to Mexico to live and paint in the 1930s-50s.  Guided with the expertise one can only acquire from a first-hand knowledge of the styles, Carol taught us the finer points of dry and wet brush techniques.  A captivating thought was introduced within the first few minutes of entering the galleries......"At the end of this tour, you will be asked which painting you would take home ..if you could...and why you picked that painting."  This, of course intensified the already high level attention we were paying to the subject matter, technique and overall aesthetic of each painting.  At closing time, it was difficult to walk out the door leaving 'our personal painting' behind.


Rancho Cordillero del Norte  - The noted musicologist and violinist Elizabeth Waldo is an Academic Fellow of La Senora....and a gracious hostess who provided our small Patron group with a luncheon in the dining room of the restored hacienda.  The highlight of this visit was the rare opportunity to visit the Archives of her late husband Carl Dentzel (the first Executive Director -- for 25 years  of the SW Museum).  Carl, Elizabeth and their now adult son Paul Dentzel have been avid collectors of books, paintings, and memorabilia of Mexico and the SW.  An entire room is devoted to sliding screens filled with paintings; the library is floor to high ceiling.  Paul Dentzel gave us background on the archives and La Senora was invited to do research using these precious materials.  Both Elizabeth Waldo and Paul Dentzel are active Patron level members of La Senora, particularly for those events that have historic music performances from the periods of history and locals in which their own lifetimes of research are centered.   


Several collaborative events are done annual with La Senora Members attending dinner concerts at Rancho Cordillero del Norte.


Annual Exploration & Discovery in the Cemetery
Since 2008, during day one of this week-long event - Our annual elementary school History of Our Neighborhood event has included 4th graders from Canyon School,  Marquez and St. Monica's.  Since 2013 the program has expanded expanded (thanks to grants from the generous Pacific Palisades Optimists Club and the Squid & Squash Foundation) to a high school program at which students from Pali, St. Monica's  and George Washington Prep High Schools have participated.  In the program, after an introduction to the Mexican Rancho Era by descendants of Rancho Boca de Santa Monica, students learn about the use of non-invasive uses of technology via ground penetrating radar to discover burials and other subsurface structures in the 1840s historic rancho cemetery. The Cotsen fields geophysicists, the Getty/UCLA graduate conservation program brought students and conservation professors, and USC brought a unique luminescence photography concept using photo combinations to read illegible stone carvings. 


The La Senora Geo-Archeological Collaborative wins coveted statewide award:  The Governor's Historic Preservation Award  

The Governor's  award recognizes outstanding achievements in preserving connections to California's cultural and architectural legacies. Our 1839 Pascual Marquez Family Cemetery Project embodies a site and objects that provide a tangible link to the people, events, and patterns of history that shaped California's growth and development. The Awards Jury, described the La Senora research project as

“One of the most innovative, integrative and educational –-in the broadest sense of the term – research projects I’ve come across in my 30+ years in Historic Preservation.”

La Senora  brought together the Cotsen Institute of Archeology with Dean Goodman and Brian Damiata and GAL’s state of the art archeology, science and technology for a geo-archeological project incorporating early 1900s photography; Alta California Family oral histories; 60 fourth grade “Research Team Members” from Canyon Charter Elementary School and graduate students/professors from the Getty/UCLA and USC Conservation Programs, opening the 1839 Marquez Family Cemetery to exploration, documentation and education. Donations from Rob and Colleen McAndrews Wood and the Squid and Squash Foundation of Santa Monica made this Project possible.  The Governor’s 2009 Historic Conservation Award was made to the Collaboration of: La Senora Research Institute, UCLA’s Cotsen Institute of Archeology and The GeoArcheological Laboratory. 

An example of small group tours :

The Getty Villas "Art of an Empire: Aztec Culture" - Co-Curator, Dr. John Pohl. 
   In honor of the 200th Anniversary of Mexico's Declaration of Independence, a truly remarkable exhibition has been mounted at the Getty Villa with the full assistance of the Mexican government.  In addition to sending some of the most famous pieces of Aztec archeological and anthropological pieces, Dr. Pohl explained to us the significance behind the many new works that arrived for exhibition, having recently  been discovered in current digs in Mexico City.  Even our 'students of Mexican Culture" came away impressed by the shifts in understanding of objects today versus the accepted scholarship wisdom of even a few years ago.  Dr. Pohl's guided tour and informative lecture was followed by a group dinner with lively discussion before our return to the Villa's concert hall for the Sones de Mexico concert.


UCLA Campus  As part of La Senora's collaboration with UCLA's Cotsen Institute of Archeology, our members have been invited to participate in the Monday Lecture Series.  Please follow the Cotsen calendar to discover lectures of interest to you and contact events@lasenora.org for listing on the Cotsen guest list.  We are also invited to the Cotsen annual Open House at the Fowler Museum of Archeology – this event is posted to the La Senora website calendar each year


The Autrey Museum of the West:  How Women Made the West with guest lecturer Lisa See  This Autrey exhibition dealt with the 'forgotten West".  We all know the stories of the heroic men who settled the West -- but what about the women?  Not the brave Pioneer Women who came with their families in Covered Wagons -- the women who came alone or wound up alone and stayed to create a significant spot for themselves in this new civilization.   La Senora Friend, Lisa See, joined our group for lunch on the museum terrace before we adjourned to the lecture hall for her talk which included not just 'the lost stories' and how women's stories were forgotten, but also dealt with how to find the 'lost stories' in your own family's background. ...an interesting, thought provoking and motivating lecture. 


Exploring Santa Monica Canyon's Cultural Heritage:  This two-day Seminar started with a day of presentations on the geo-archeological findings of our collaborative project with The Cotsen Institute of Archeology and GAL.  This is the Collaborative and the Project on the Pascual Marquez Family Cemetery that won the Governor's Award for Historic Preservation for 2009.     While Day One lectures focused on the award-winning Cemetery Project, the program on broadened from archeology and geophysics to ethnographic and anthropological presentations on the history of Santa Monica Canyon, which is of course the history of Rancho Boca Santa Monica upon which Santa Monica's founding family in 1839 established the first adobe home.  But it's also the history of the Tongva people whose village lay at the foot of Santa Monica Canyon.  The good fortune of our historical journey   At the end of a stimulating two days of presentations we had lunch under the trees in Temescal and were led by Amy Lethbridge on a walking tour.  A terrific way to end the Seminar.

Santa Barbara Presidio and de la Guerra Residence This 'small group' tour. detailed on our Calendar page, includes adobe brick making for Presido restoration projects and a private Conservator led tour of the remarkably restored de la Guerra Residence.  Another activity open to La Senora Member Families is the opportunity to participate in the rebuilding of the Presidio.  Each year students are taught to make adobe bricks which are dried and are used in the reconstruction of the walls of the Presidio. 


 Elaina Archer, Documentarist: Topic:  Rita Hayworth  - By popular acclaim Elaina Archer returns to La Senora to introduce and hold Q&A after screening another of her documentary films.  This last time the subject was  Rita Hayworth, a a famous Mexican Actress, cousin to Ramon Navarro, who did not play Mexican characters. With her fair skin and raven locks her pin-up beauty knew no nationality, but Rita was a frequent visitor to the Mexican film community gatherings at the Mojica Hacienda.  The film's Producer, Elaina Archer, is the Executive Director of  the Mary Pickford Library, and producer of four other acclaimed documentaries with Turner Classic Movies


Siqueros in Hollywood -  Opening Reception for Patron Level Members

The Collaborative exhibition and lecture at the Autry was followed the next month with an operetta written from Siqueros' material to depict his vision of how Pueblo de Los Angeles was founded.  His vision reflected the sentiments of the Era in which he was an activist and included conjectures that were not readily supported by historical documents......causing one of our members to comment that it's not just a recent trend for 'documentaries' to be part fiction.


History of Film:   Why Be Good:  Sexuality and Censorship - Another  fascinating look back with Q & A led by the film's  Producer, Elaina Archer, former Head of the Mary Pickford Library, and  producer of four other documentaries with Turner Classic Movies and  Hugh Hefner.

Author/Lecturer Thomas Zimmerman provided a stimulating introduction to the world of Lola Montez via her film with Leo Carrillo "Gypsy Wildcat".   The talk, preceding the screening of the film, addressed the unusual nature of the characters played by Montez in all of her films.  It was not customery in that period for women to be the strongest characters on the screen, it being far more common for them to show deference to the men. 

Randy Young, Pacific Palisades Historians present their highly acclaimed research project "The Chatauqua Movement" addressing the foundations of this middle class cultural education movement which was responsible for the formation of all of Southern California's Beach Cities having piers and amusement/conference centers.  The local leaders of the Chautaqua chose to build the city in which their own families would live, out of sight of the ocean in a quiet setting now known as Pacific Palisades.  The Lecture was accompanied by exquisite slides of this remarkable venture.

Elaina B. Archer, Producer Turner Classic Movies Documentary Film Maker.   "The True Story of Marion Davies".  This excellent film, funded by  Hugh Hefnor, accompanies La Senora's 2009 Lectures focusing on the Golden Era of Movies and the 1920s 30's of The Gold Coast - Palisades Beach Road where Anita Loos and Friends frolicked at the 110 room Beach House of Marion Davies and W.R. Hearst.  These lectures are presented in connection with the recent opening of the Annenberg Beach House in the former Davies residence.

La Senora neighbor, Peter Graves, fielded two screenings with Q&A of his classic cult film “Airplane”.  This behind the scenes look from an iconic actor who’d been dead-set against performing in this film was an event to be cherished.  Peter was in rare form, almost as funny as the always side splitting film itself. He also donated ‘a dessert morsel’ to La Senora’s film collection – rare video footage of Peter Graves performing on the Dean Martin television show as a ‘song and dance man while also performing on his clarinet.  The more than 100 people who packed La Senora’s small theater for the two screenings had a memorable event to leave chuckling over. 

 Patrons Offsite:

Venue: Ojai Studios

Topic: Recreating the Magic of Malibu and other 1930's Art Tiles

Private Home Tours with stories of their historic owners and restorations


Offsite: Topic: Mexican Calendar Girls

Venue: Heritage Museum

Docent Tour

Optional Dinner at the Heritage Restaurant following Lecture/Tour

Offsite to Carlsbad Rancho of Leo Carillo - : La Senora members visited the ranch of Leo Carrillo. In addition to his fame as a movie and TV star and his years as Grand Marshall of the Santa Barbara Fiesta, Leo was also our Canyon resident,friend to all of the owners of our Hacienda and a relative of the Rancho descendants. His Ranch in Carlsbad is now owned by the City of Carlsbad.


Patron Offsite  The Autrey national Museum: Bold Caballeros and Noble Bandidos

La Senora Patron Members spent two hours with the Curator of this exhibition exploring the roles 'assigned to' these men by the public at large.  Were they heroes or were they bandits.  Did you know that the rumor of a bandit having been hung and buried in SM Canyon is true?


Offsite:Topic: "Paradise Promoted"

Lecturer: Tom Zimmerman
Venue: Ruskin Theater

Collaborating Organization Sponsor: Santa Monica Conservancy


Science Project: Grave Finding Dogs: At Pasqual Marquez Cemetery:The Forensic Canine Institute performed a search for graves within this 175 year old cemetery. Participants compared results of this search survey with the details provided in the documentary film produced for the event.  Screenings are available. 


 Offsite Santa Barbara Presidio : Patron Members joined La Senora in Santa Barbara at the Presidio where highly trained members of the Forensic Canine Institute  demonstrated their prowess at locating human remains from the late 1700s through the 1800s.  


Archivist for Santa Barbara Presidio - Background Lecture with private tour of the de la Guerra residence
Institute for Canine Forensics  - demonstrated training and prowess of dogs trained to find a variety of types of human remains from freshly deceased to 600 year old graves

Offsite  Videotape & oral histories  of Marquez Rancho Boca de Santa Monica and Palisades Residents

Lecturer:    Randy Young  

Venue:  Pierson Theater 

Collaborating Organization Sponsor:    Pacific Palisades Historical Society

Offsite:  The W. R. Randolph Hearst Exhibit.

Venue:      Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Lecturer: Cari Beauchamp, Author

Collaborating Organization Sponsor: LACMA


Ethnography/Archeology Seminar:  


Bringing together two days of science and history. a demonstration and workshop on the Technical Analysis of Ground Radar and Magnetron Software was offered while the participants located the historic graves in the Pascual Marquez Family Cemetery. Archeologists, Conservationists, Archivists, Historians, Graduate Students from UCLA and USC and 4th graders from Canyon Elementary School participated in data collection and processing of images. Event Donors: Cotsen Institute of Archeology and the Squid and Squash Educational Foundation;


Visited Pascual Marzuez Family Cemetery as international expert archeologists and geophysicists demonstrate the use of ground penetrating radar (GPR). This system has been used on the Royal Tombs of Japan, Genghis Kahn's Palace and the Prison of Leris (better known as the prison where The Man in the Iron Mask was imprisioned by his brother the King).

Dean Goodman, the geophysicist and computer scientist who created the global "gold standard" GPR software, and Brian Damiata, also a Research Associate at the Cotsen Institute lead a Workshop demonstrating how the different facets of the system allow scientists and conservators to understand what they've found so far and how to use the material as a guide for what they might next seek out.

Inceville  - 1910 Movie Studio on Rancho Boca de Santa Monica land

Lecturer: Marc Wanamaker - Bison Archives

Malibu Tiles - Adamson/Rindge Legacy

Lecturer: Cristi Walden - Adamson House Docent

Los Angeles Streets named after Saints
San Lorenzo and the Pasqual Marquez Cemetery

Lecturer: Michael Walker - Artist and Author

Rare Encaustic Tiles of La Senora

Lecturer: Amy Green - Tile Restorer

Readings from Private Letters of Frida Kahlo

Lecturer: Nori Green - Artist & Educator