Catalina Island Museum
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Catalina Island Museum’s new home in Avalon

Catalina Island Museum

AVALON CA., MAY 26, 2016: Dr. Michael de Marsche, director of the Catalina Island Museum holds one of the 62 black and white portraits of notorious 1950’s pin-up model Bettie Page during the installation May 26, 2016. The new $10-million museum in the heart of Avalon is changing course from a focus on historic Catalina to exhibits designed to attract younger crowds and compete with mainland institutions. De Marsche was hired 5 years ago to raise funds and then build the structure. That wasn’t easy. He is leaving his post, and the island, on Oct 1(Mark Boster/ Los Angeles Times).

 (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Catalina Island Museum

Michael De Marsche, director of the Catalina Island Museum, supervises the installation of 62 black-and-white portraits of pinup model Bettie Page. De Marsche still hasn’t decided whether to post an advisory that the exhibition, “Bettie Page Uncovered: The Unknown Photographs of Bunny Yeager,” may be unsettling for some viewers.

 (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Catalina Island Museum

Work is nearing completion on the Catalina Island Museum’s new home in the heart of Avalon. With the Bettie Page exhibit, the museum, which had been housed in the landmark “casino” building, is shifting away from what critics had derided as a dull and predictable focus on the Avalon of decades ago, when it was a storied getaway for movie stars and L.A. power brokers.

 (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Catalina Island Museum

Dr. Michael De Marsche, director of the Catalina Island Museum, supervises the installation of portraits of legendary 1950s pinup model Bettie Page. De Marsche, who had been the founding director of three museums, including the Cafesjian Center for the Arts in Yerevan, Armenia, was appointed in 2010 to oversee fundraising and construction of the Catalina museum. He plans to step down in October, 

 (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Catalina Island Museum

The museum’s new home, the $10-million Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building, takes its name from Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner, the first grandchild of William Wrigley Jr., the chewing gum magnate who bought the Catalina Island Co. in 1919. Schreiner died in 2010.

 

 (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Catalina Island Museum

Dr. Michael De Marsche, director of the Catalina Island Museum, looks over the Bettie Page photos being installed in the museum. “The point of this exhibition is to shine a light on a transformative moment in American history, one that changed attitudes forever toward sex. He added with a wry smile: “We’re not the Louvre. Our mission is to educate, entertain and test boundaries.”

 

 

 (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Catalina Island Museum

Building the museum in a 3,800-resident harbor resort community hit hard by drought and struggling to recover from an economic downturn was a feat. Just a week ago, the California Public Utilities Commission granted a minimal water allocation needed to open the museum, ending months of delays over concern that its use of eight bathroom sinks would violate local laws enacted to conserve water amid Stage 2 restrictions.

 

 (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Catalina Island Museum

The new museum features 11,000 square feet of floor space, with galleries devoted to special exhibits and the collection from the existing museum.

 (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
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