Mission San Gabriel Arcángel reopens with new exhibit

It's almost three years to the day that the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel was badly damaged by an arsonist. Since then, it has undergone a massive renovation project, which includes a new museum exhibit.

It shows a much more realistic history of the mission and the Native Americans who built it. To do this, they brought in members of the Gabrieleno Tongva San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians – not only as advisors but as co-curators. 

The church, dating back to 1771 has undergone impressive renovation – a major contrast to the heartbreaking images of the aftermath of the July 2020 arson fire.

"We are resurrection people," said Father John Molyneux, the church's pastor. "We're going to come back stronger and we're going to come back better."

The church took into account the significant and controversial reality of the Native Americans who carried the heavy rocks they used to build those massive walls.

"We need to not only tell their story, but also of the blessed story," Father Molyneux said.

Thousands of Native Americans are buried in the mission where they served as Spanish missionaries and were converted too often against their will. The first of the new museum galleries opened with the names of more than 7,000 who were baptized here.

You can click here for more information on the church.