The missions are
California's most visited historical attractions. But if they are
to remain so, we must act now to ensure that the rich legacy of mission
history is preserved for future generations. The list of potential
preservation and restoration projects is as diverse as the backgrounds
of the people who originally built these missions.
Basic structural repairs, long overdue, head up the
list. And in this land of fault lines, seismic retrofitting and
adobe stabilization are additional necessities. The usual problems
related to such endeavors are compounded-and made even more expensive-by
the recognized need to respect the historical integrity of these
The legacy of the missions is more than buildings.
It also includes priceless artworks and artifacts, statues, songbooks,
and irreplaceable manuscripts. The preservation of these treasures
is important to us all, as is the information gleaned from archaeological
excavation and study.
Theft is a relatively new problem, but a threat nonetheless.
With limited staff, mission churches and museums must often be left
unattended-and vulnerable to thieves. In increasing numbers, articles
of incalculable value are disappearing from mission museums and
even from their churches. Electronic sensors and surveillance, and
additional staffing, offer possible solutions.
Restoring. Repairing. Reconstructing. Replacing. Resurfacing.
Revitalizing. The list of needs is long. The price tag is high.
And the message is clear-the missions need our help.