Vintage postcards show how travelers of yesteryear documented trip memories – Museum offers calligraphy workshop with postcard exhibition

A vintage postcard exhibition is currently at the Temecula Valley Museum and shows how people captured memories of their travels in the early 20th century. The exhibition, “The Grand Tour: 1908-1928”, is on loan from the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton until Aug. 31.

Purpose of postcards

TVM Manager Tracy Frick explained that a hundred years ago people used postcards to document their travels.

“Nowadays we take selfies to document on Facebook,” she said. “Back then postcards were the technological equivalent of Facebook. It was how you shared your trip with your family back home.”

Frick said the exhibition struck her as a romantic look at travel in an era when it was less hectic and hurried. She commented that today’s travelers are rushing to get to destinations unlike yesteryear’s travelers who journeyed at their leisure and enjoyed the experience more.

“The exhibition allows viewers to contemplate their modern travel in caparison with travel in the early 20th century,” she said.

Frick scheduled the exhibition during the summer because it’s when most people travel and she wanted them to reflect on their own travels when viewing it. 

“The exhibit was attractive to offer in the summer as we get many people from around the world,” she said.

The Slauson Family

The exhibition contains hundreds of postcards of Europe from the early 1900s. It documents the travels of Marion Mac Neil and her daughter, Jacqueline Smith, members of the prominent Slauson Family of Los Angeles. The Slausons are well known in Southern California for contributing to its growth and development, including founding the city of Azusa.

Some countries that Mac Neil and Smith visited on different tours of Europe include Belgium, Holland, Spain, Switzerland, England, France, Italy, Germany, Austria and Scotland.

Mac Neil and Smith collected postcards with beautiful landscapes, famous landmarks, quaint villages and other notable images. Most of the postcards have drawn images, some have photographs and a few are color tinted. Frick commented that some buildings shown on the postcards no longer exist because they were destroyed during WWII.

Exhibition display

​The exhibition’s postcards are all matted and framed and hung on several walls on the museum’s second floor. Antique items such a steamer trunk have been added to enhance the display.

“The Muckenthaler loaned us a few items of personal effects of what would have been typical of a traveler to have taken with them including a collapsible top hat,” Frick said. The Vail Ranch Restoration Association in Temecula lent some antiques, too.

Calligraphy workshop offered in conjunction 

The museum is holding a free calligraphy workshop in conjunction with the exhibition on Aug. 16 at 2 p.m. The two-hour Saturday afternoon workshop titled “From Ordinary to Extraordinary” will be presented by Risa Gettler, a calligraphy expert and Murrieta resident.

Workshop attendees will learn how to add a few curves and loops to their handwriting to make it fancier. They’ll take home a postcard with their name hand drawn on it by Gettler. All supplies are included in the workshop and its space is limited. To attend, call the museum at (951) 694-6450.

“This calligraphy workshop will teach attendees how to handwrite with a flourish,” Frick said.

Museum’s next exhibition

The museum’s next exhibition is “Apron Strings:  Ties to the Past.”  It runs from Sept. 6 to Oct. 26. It’s a vintage apron collection from the 1920s to 1950s that chronicles the changing attitude toward women and domestic work and reviews the apron’s role in society. The collection belongs to Perris resident Maria Earle. She sells handmade and customized vintage-style aprons at The Emporium Shops in Old Town Temecula. 

“That one’s going to be fun,” Frick said.

Earle will present a workshop on vintage aprons at the museum on Sept. 13 and the first 20 attendees will receive a genuine vintage apron, Frick said.

For more information on exhibitions and workshops, call the museum at (951) 694-6450 or visit

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