Cambrian: Arts & Events

Noted shipwreck explorer to speak at Cambria Historical Society event

Robert Schwemmer is seen with an artifact from the S.S. Montebello; the only other is an oar on display at the Cambria Historical Society Museum.
Robert Schwemmer is seen with an artifact from the S.S. Montebello; the only other is an oar on display at the Cambria Historical Society Museum.

We hope you have saved the date for a memorable evening with the Historical Society as we kick off another eventful year.

Get your reservations in by Feb. 11 for the annual Recognitions Banquet, which will be at 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, in the Peacock Room of the Cambria Pines Lodge. We have plenty of room to accommodate the general public with dinner reservations, as well as members, for a splendid sit-down meal at 6 and dynamic speaker at 7:15.

Following a brief address by President John Ehlers with news of the year to come, a recap of our accomplishments in 2018 and introductions of the Board of Directors for 2019, we will be treated to keynote speaker Robert Schwemmer.

He is currently the West Coast Regional Maritime Heritage Coordinator for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and is based at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. Besides accessing the 1941 Montebello shipwreck several times via deep sea submersibles off the coast of Cambria, he received the U.S. Coast Guard Award of Operational Merit for that unprecedented underwater assessment. Moreover, after extensive research, he succeeded in having the site placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the only one “under the sea.”

His many other explorations include shipwrecks along the Pacific West Coastline, Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the Arctic and Great Lakes. His archaeological surveys and site assessments also utilize SCUBA equipment, ROV remotely operated vehicles and AUV autonomous underwater vehicles. When we were able to contact him recently, he was on a project with National Geographic, and we at CHS are indeed honored to host a man of such distinguished experience and accomplishments.

Please join us. Contact Chairman Penny Church at 805-927-1442 or order on line at or stop by the museum during regular hours. Entrees are prime rib, salmon or vegetarian ravioli, complete with sides, dessert and beverage.

Church has reserved an impressive line of speakers for presentations in our museum parlor through 2019, usually on the third Thursday of the month. Reservation information will be available on our website, at the museum and next month’s Cambrian. Also on third Saturdays, the Educational Committee is providing historical interactive and fun activities for all to participate at no charge during “Vintage Afternoons” from 1-4 p.m.

Curator/Archivist Melody Coe has the Nancy Moure Resource Center next door up and running for research and information. Because of space limitations, she cannot accept any antique furniture. While at the museum and center, be sure to enjoy the promise of spring as the Spirea Hedges , narcissus and other blooms emerge. Soon to appear will be the unique black Arum Palaestinum lilies and the traditional white callas, not mention roses all about, including some original to the property and others from Hearst Castle.

Hollyhock seeds from our yard are available for a small donation in the gift shop. We are excited to announce that a year-old stripling coast live oak is to be planted out front to replace the mature 35-year-old oak that fell away last year. The date will be announced in The Cambrian. There is so much to see and do, so please join in, and consider joining as a family or business member to support our museum and programs.

Located at 2251 Center Street at Burton Drive, the museum and book store are staffed by volunteers from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday-Sunday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday; the heirloom gardens and backyard nursery are open all day every day. Phone: 805-927-2891. Go to and like us at

Consuelo Macedo’s column is special to The Cambrian. Macedo is the Community Relations Chairwoman on the Board of the Cambria Historical Society.