I visited the Leonis Adobe Musuem on February 27th at 10 am.
It was originally a four room adobe brick house built in 1884. When Miguel Leonis married the daughter of the chief of the Malibu Indians, he took control over the adobe house along with 11,000 acres of Native American land. He remodeled the home and upgraded it to more of a Monterrey style. Today, it is a museum where elementary children can come visit and experience what it was like to live on a rancho in the older days. There is a station where they can turn masa or ground up corn and make historic tortillas. At another, they can churn cream into butter. And at another, girls can make dolls and boys can learn about types of barbed wire that would have been used around the ranch. And at yet another, the children can learn about the Spanish brands that were used on the longhorn cattle. Today, this ranch is one of the oldest surviving residents in the Los Angeles area.
This museum incorporates the Spanish Fantasy Past theme. It is the beautiful exotic and romantic rancho with the adobe white walls, the longhorn cattle, the green landscape, and the sunny skies. It becomes an space where children and visitors alike can become apart of the imagined past. It is a past that is brought to life for the tourists in a similar way that Christine Sterling’s Olvera Street brought the Spanish past to the Anglo Americans in the 1930’s. It is essentially a “trip abroad in your own America.”