Motel California Mid-mod kitsch featured at Dome Talks

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– Heather M. David, author of Motel California, is the featured Dome Talks speaker on Thursday, March 28, at the San Bernardino County Museum.

David is a California-based cultural historian and freelance writer. She is also the author of Mid-Century by the Bay and numerous articles on American popular culture and historic preservation. She is an advocate for the preservation of mid-century modern architecture, art, and signage – with a focus on California Modernism. Motel California, published in 2017, is the story of the rapid rise and subsequent decline of the individually owned mom-and-pop motel in The Golden State. It is a celebration of sparkling blue pools, flashing neon signs, automatic ice machines and bleached white towels. It is an exploration of theme-based marketing and a documentation of American culture at perhaps what was the most prosperous time in United States history.

Museum Director Melissa Russo remarked, “For several generations, California’s brand was associated with deep azure swimming pools, space-age rocketships, and funky exoticism so prevalent in neon signage along our interstate highways advertising the wondrous experience of a motel stay to vacationing families. Heather David’s compelling story about the rise of motels in the state is a fascinating cultural journey and a peek at the motels that still exist today.”

All Dome Talks evenings open at 6:30 p.m. for a light reception sponsored by the San Bernardino County Museum Association, and Lorenzi Estate Wines. David’s talk starts at 7 p.m. and will include sales of her book and signing. ‘

Tickets for the evening are $25 ($18 museum members), subject to availability as the Dome Talks theater has limited seating. Tickets can be purchased online at or may be purchased at the Museum’s Guest Services Desk.

The San Bernardino County Museum’s exhibits of regional, cultural and natural history and the Museum’s other exciting events and programs reflect the effort by the Board of Supervisors to achieve the Countywide Vision by celebrating arts, culture, and education in the county, creating quality of life for residents and visitors.

The San Bernardino County Museum is at 2024 Orange Tree Lane, at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. Parking for Dome Talks is free. For more information, visit The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.

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