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The Munrás Family Heritage Museum displays the treasured keepsakes of one prominent Monterey family with the goal of enhancing every visitor’s appreciation of their own unique legacy. Dedicated in September 1961 and redesigned in 2008, the museum houses five generations of heirlooms from the Munrás-Manzanelli family, whose presence in this region dates to 1806 and draws from Spain, Italy, Mexico, and the Eastern United States.
The Main Room contains seven display cabinets, each with a rich variety of artifacts organized around a specific theme: Coming to California, A Blended Heritage, Town Life & Ranch Life, Ladies’ Days, Health & Healing, Three Cultures in the Kitchen, and Child’s Play. Reproductions of period artworks evoke the context of the family’s story, and the fundamental role of Native Americans is acknowledged in myriad ways.
A large-screen monitor features “California Princess,” a 12-minute compilation film about the donor, 4th generation descendant Maria Antonia Field (1886-1962), her ancestors, and their ties to the Monterey region and Carmel Mission. Portraits of family members and photographs of properties ranging from Laguna Seca to Soledad are part of both film and displays. The evolution of Casa Munrás on Monterey’s Munrás Street – from its completion in 1824 to its 2008 remodel as a Larkspur Collection Hotel – can be seen at a glance in one of the wall panels; another presents a family tree in portraits.
The Sala (parlor) provides a glimpse into life at Casa Munrás in 1900, after the grand two-story adobe structure was transformed into a Victorian mansion. Beautifully preserved rococo-revival and Empire-style furnishings, most made in the eastern United States in the mid-1800s, mix with select elements from Asia and Europe. These eclectic furnishings were purchased from ships docked at the Port of Monterey long before railways offered an alternative means of transportation.