Last updated: 11/9/2012
431 South Main Street
Ukiah, CA 95482
431 South Main Street
Ukiah, CA 95482
|Wednesday - Saturday||10 AM - 4 PM|
|Sunday||12 PM - 4 PM|
Closed major holidays.
Free to all on the first Friday of each month
General Admission: $4
Students (): $3
Online Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
Sherrie Smith, Director
Karen Holmes, Registrar and Carpenter Family Historian
Marvin Schenck, Curator
Kristen Marrow, Receptionist and Docent Coordinator
Diana Thomas, Gift Store Manager
Louise Yale, Membership Secretary
The Grace Hudson Museum and Sun House in Ukiah, California, is an art, history and anthropology museum focusing on the lifeworks of artist Grace Carpenter Hudson (1865-1937) and her ethnologist husband, Dr. John W. Hudson (1857-1936). Changing interdisciplinary exhibitions and public programs feature Western American art, California Indian cultures, histories of California's diverse North Coast region, and the work of contemporary regional artists.
Since its inauguration in 1986, the Grace Hudson Museum and Sun House has become an increasingly important cultural and educational resource for Northern California. The Museum's collections consist of more than 30,000 interrelated objects, with significant holdings of Pomo Indian artifacts (particularly basketry) ethnographic field notes, unpublished manuscripts, historic photographs and the world's largest collection of Grace Hudson paintings. The Museum's exhibitions and public programs are thematically shaped by, and linked to, its collections with their focus on Western art, history and anthropology. The Museum also houses a gift store with jewelry, items for children, local artists' work, books, and clothing. The Museum sits on the four acre Hudson-Carpenter Park.
The Grace Hudson Museum and the Sun House preserve, document, research and interpret the Hudson-Carpenter collections for public benefit, with emphasis on the life work of artist Grace Carpenter Hudson (1865-1937) and her husband, ethnologist Dr. John W. Hudson (1857-1936). The Hudson-Carpenter family's contributions to the understanding and development of the artistic, historical and cultural heritage of California's North Coast during the late 19th and early 20th century guide and inform the Museum's activities. A living cultural resource for the entire community, the Museum continues the Hudson-Carpenter family legacy by producing related programs, publications and exhibitions that provide quality educational experiences in the arts and humanities for all visitors.
In 1910, artist Grace Carpenter Hudson and her ethnologist husband John Hudson, M.D., began plans for the construction of a home in Ukiah, California, that would accommodate their respective interests. They engaged architect and photographer George L. Wilcox to design a two-story American Craftsman-style redwood bungalow to their detailed specifications. Construction began in 1911, and around New Year's Eve the Hudsons settled into their 3,400 square-foot custom built dwelling. They christened it the "Sun House," after the Hopi Indian sun deity representing fertility and growth.
The house served not only as their residence, but as Grace's studio, and the base for John's study of California Native American cultures, especially that of the local Pomo Indian peoples. The Hudsons, who had no children, occupied the Sun House for the rest of their lives. After John's death in 1936, and Grace's the following year, the Sun House passed on to Grace's nephew, Mark Carpenter, and his wife Melissa.
The Carpenters, also childless, occupied the house for over thirty years. Melissa drew up a will in agreement with the City of Ukiah, stipulating that upon her death, the house and grounds would be operated as an art and history museum in remembrance of Grace and John Hudson and their lifeworks. The City of Ukiah acquired legal title to the Sun House in 1975, the year of Melissa's death. In 1986, following the fundraising efforts of the Sun House Guild, (a support group comprised primarily of Ukiah area residents), and in partnership with the City of Ukiah, an 8,400 square-foot museum was constructed in back of the Sun House.
This new space, christened the "Grace Hudson Museum," allowed the Hudsons' enormous and varied collections to be stored more properly and displayed to greater advantage. A subsequent Guild fundraising campaign, in the spring of 2001, facilitated the addition of 2,400 square feet of gallery space, in part to display the Museum's ever-expanding collection of Grace Hudson paintings, and Indian basketry. Number 926 on the list of California historical landmarks, and on the National Register of Historic Places, the Sun House continues to receive recognition as one of the most significant artifacts in the Museum's collections.
In the fall of 2000, it was selected as one of the founding participant sites in the Historic Artists' Homes and Studios project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Most recently, in the fall of 2011, the California State Parks and Recreation Department's Nature Education Facilities Program awarded a $3 million grant to the City of Ukiah to create an outdoor educational component for the Museum by restructuring the Carpenter-Hudson park that surrounds the Museum and Sun House. This exciting project will utilize the Museum's grounds as interpretive spaces, landscaped entirely with native Mendocino County plants. The park will be used to teach visitors about Pomo Indian land management traditions and values, and how these can inform contemporary sustainable practices.
The collections of the the Grace Hudson Museum and Sun House include over 30,000 interrelated artifacts. These objects include Grace Hudson's paintings and other artworks; John Hudson's Indian basket collection and field notebooks; the photographic work of Grace's father, Aurelius O. Carpenter; the Western women's writings of Grace's mother, Helen McCowen Carpenter; a small number of personal effects belonging to Grace's paternal grandmother, women's rights activist Clarina Nichols; household items and furnishings; 19th century sheet music; and family memorabilia. One of the most significant artifacts in the collections is the Sun House itself, the Hudsons' 1911 Craftsman-style bungalow. It is #926 on the list of California historical landmarks, and on the National Register of Historic Places.
Research appointments may be made by contacting Museum staff.
Educational programs are tied to individual changing exhibits, and to the permanent collections focusing on Pomo basketry and culture, Grace Carpenter Hudson paintings, and Carpenter/Hudson family history. The Sun House is also available for docent-led tours. The docent program includes quarterly meetings for the docents to learn about recent exhibitions and museum news and history. Gallery tours are given for all exhibit spaces. Lectures frequently accompany the changing exhibits. Fees vary according to exhibit.
The main museum features a changing exhibit gallery, and three other galleries devoted to Grace Hudson's artwork, Pomo basketry and culture, and Carpenter/Hudson family history. A public room is available for programs. The Hudsons' historic home, The Sun House, sits in front of the modern museum building. The museum includes a gift store. The facilities are situated on a four acre park.
The Grace Hudson Museum and Sun House is a public/private partnership between the City of Ukiah and the Museum's support group, The Sun House Guild.
The Museum publishes a quarterly newsletter, The Sunletter. It also publishes occasional catalogs to accompany exhibits.
Aurelius O. Carpenter: Photographer of the Mendocino Frontier
parking, wheelchair access, re
Four galleries are available for school and general tours, as is the historic home, The Sun House. A public room is available for rent through the City of Ukiah. Park grounds are available for picnics, and a demonstration garden of plants used for Pomo basket weaving is available for guided tours.
North American Reciprocal Museum Program (NARM)
We belong to the North American Reciprocal Museum Program (NARM), with reciprocal membership privileges at more than
650 participating museums throughout North America.
Online Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
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