OAKLAND -- Julia Morgan is a difficult architect to forget. Throughout California and the Bay Area, examples of her distinctive Craftsman and Mediterranean designs grace homes, churches, clubs, schools and YWCAs, including Oakland's Chapel of the Chimes, the Oakland YWCA and various buildings on the campus of Mills College, culminating in Hearst Castle at San Simeon.
Morgan also represents an important figure for women, succeeding as she did in a male dominated profession, being one of the first women to graduate from UC Berkeley with a degree in civil engineering and becoming one of California's first licensed female architects. In her 50-year career, she completed more than 700 projects, and had a lifelong commitment to working with women's philanthropic organizations.
Admirers of this California icon are in for a rare treat when Julia Morgan, visiting with the assistance of Betty Marvin, comes to the Lecture Hall of the Oakland Museum of California on March 14. Speaking in conversation with her audience, Morgan will reminisce about her struggles to become an architect and regale her listeners with stories of her colorful clients and associates, including Bernard Maybeck and the Hearsts.
The event is presented by the museum's History Guild as part of Women's History Month. The museum guilds were established to raise money to donate to their particular area -- art, natural science or history -- and thus to support the museum. The History Guild plans four programs every year and organizes trips, with a contribution from each trip going toward the museum.
The program is open to the public at no cost. After an hour of conversation, Marvin, as Morgan, will welcome questions.
The program was the idea of H Nona Hungate, History Guild program chair who selected Morgan as an important figure in Oakland's past.
"Julia Morgan is an historic figure, of course, and she built a number of public places that have a real place in history," she said. Hungate has seen Marvin perform several times, each time updating her material.
"I had seen Julia Morgan, so to speak, several years ago and I was amazingly impressed as to how good she was," Hungate said. "She is just Julia Morgan up there talking; she is just so clearly Julia."
Marvin, in real life, works as an historian and preservation planner with the City of Oakland's Cultural Heritage Survey Project, which has compiled a comprehensive citywide inventory of historic buildings and neighborhoods. The professional historian with degrees from Stanford and UC Berkeley bases her impersonation of Julia Morgan on extensive and continuing research.
Julia Morgan in conversation will be at 1:30 p.m. March 14, at the Oakland Museum of California Lecture Hall, 1000 Oak St., http://museumca.org/event/history-guild-lecture-conversations-julia-morgan.
History Guild membership ($20) is open only to museum members. It is possible to join the museum and a guild through the museum's membership online membership application. The web address is www.museumca.org/membership.