Restoration Project: "Saving the Irreplaceable"

Capital Campaign Goals

Saving the Irreplaceable is a landmark campaign started to secure critically needed funds to strengthen and retrofit the mission complex. The campaign's success will ensure that the Mission San Miguel remains a jewel of California's past, a living center of historical and cultural education, and a revered place of worship for generations to come. 

We embarked on this historic and extraordinary capital campaign recognizing that Mission San Miguel:

...is historically and spiritually important. The “jewel of the California Missions,” Mission San Miguel, is the only mission in the United states with the original fresco paintings. Its artifacts are also the best preserved. Its spiritual impact lies in the centuries of cultural, social, and spiritual exchange that have taken place and are recorded here.

is an educational beacon. Mission San Miguel serves as a gateway to our nations history and ancestors. Many remark that visiting Mission San Miguel is like taking a trip back in time. This observation is unique to Mission San Miguel not only because of the original frescoes and authentic artifacts on site, but also because the town of San Miguel itself is a quite, rural community and remains deeply-rooted in its history. Touring and studying the missions is an educational component of California's fourth grade curriculum in an effort to appreciate the social, political, and cultural interactions between the California and pre-Columbian societies.

...is a local treasure. Overall, the California missions receive nearly 5.5 million visitors from around the world every year, which has a significant impact on their local economies. The complete re-opening of Mission San Miguel will be a major boon for local culture, tourism, and business.

Following a strategic planning process, Saving the Irreplaceable set forth to address Mission San Miguel's most immediate needs. The Capital Campaign Executive Board determined that the campaign be used to meet the following goals:

Goal #1: Perform emergency repairs and shoring to prevent further damage and deterioration of the Mission San Miguel buildings.

Goal #2: Begin retrofit process in order to reopen as much of the old Mission annex as possible for public access and for community use.

Goal #3: Increase future philanthropic support of Mission San Miguel, working toward the $14.8 million total needed for complete restoration.

Construction & Site Plan

Phase I: (6,010 sq. ft.) Gift Shop & Museum $700,000 5 mos.

Phase II: (10,973 sq. ft.) Convento & Museum $1,225,000 6 mos.

Phase III: (6,205 sq. ft.) Retreat Wing. $1,150,000 6 mos.

Phase IV: (5,849 sq. ft.) Tailor Shop & Refectory. $1,800,000 6 mos.

Phase V: (7,205 sq. ft.) Friar's Residence & Retreat Rooms. $1,575,000 6 mos.

Phase VI: (5,849 sq. ft.) Friar's Library & Chapel. $1,650,000 8 mos.

Phase VII: (34,996 sq. ft.) Church, Sacristy & Cemetery $6,700,000 24 mos.

Total Construction Cost = $14,800,000

After several million dollars of earthquake repair and retrofitting, Phases One, Two, Three, Four , part of Five (Retreat Rooms) and part of Seven (Church) of the restoration of the mission are completed and the historic old convento, museum, gift shop, church, and cemetery are all now reopened to the public. The staff are back in their offices and community room in the old convento wing. Mass is once again being held in the church, meeting the ministerial needs of our community and beyond. Phase Four of the restoration was recently completed in October of 2011 however funds are still needed to complete Phases Five, Six and Seven. 

How You Can Help

The campaign continues to seek to raise funds from Mission San Miguel supporters, community members, corporations, foundations, and government entities to maintain the Mission's status as one of the most significant religious and historical landmarks in California. "Friends of Mission San Miguel ", a California non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)3 corporation, has been established for this specific purpose - Tax I.D. # 20-1340149 

If you would like to help, please consider making a donation electronically or by mailing your donation to:

Friends of Mission San Miguel

P.O. Box 69

San Miguel, CA 93451-0069

Special Thanks

Recognizing the importance of preserving our heritage and Saving the Irreplaceable, many outstanding foundations, corporations, and individuals have responded to the call for leadership and have taken responsibility for ensuring the success of the campaign. Mission San Miguel has gratefully received support from the following foundations, corporations, and entities:

  • National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Diocese of Monterey
  • The Getty Foundation
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein
  • Denablia Estate
  • The Willis D. Perkins Fund, an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation
  • Save America's Treasures Foundation
  • U. S. Department of Interior
  • Franciscan Friars
  • Ahmanson Foundation
  • Huell Howser Productions
  • Sen. Barbara Boxer
  • California Missions Foundation
  • Friends of Mission San Miguel
  • In Memory of Walter Johansing
  • Local media including San Luis Obispo Tribune and KPRL Radio

Frequently Asked Questions 

How much has been raised to date for the Saving the Irreplaceable Campaign?

As of June 8, 2012, $10,585,499 has been raised for the restoration. Initial funds needed were $15,000,000.00. Funds still needed amount to $4,414,501. So far $10,566,397 has been spent to date for the restoration.   

Is Mission San Miguel owned by the Diocese of Monterey? Why isn't the Diocese or the Franciscans giving Mission San Miguel complete funding to reopen the mission?

Yes, Mission San Miguel is owned by the Diocese of Monterey and the Franciscan Friars, both of whom have been very supportive of our efforts. The fact is there are simply not enough funds at the diocesan level for this immense repair. We at Mission San Miguel believe our mission benefits the public at large, and the operation of the mission is primarily as a museum open to the public. Therefore, we must have community support.

Is Mission San Miguel a National Historic Landmark?

Yes. The National Park Service and the National Park System Advisory Board unanimously approved Mission San Miguel as a National Historic Landmark in October 2005 and the Mission officially became a National Historic Landmark in 2006.

Are all the missions in California considered National Historic Landmarks?

No, of the 21 missions in California, only seven have been declared National Historic Landmarks.

Are gifts to the Saving the Irreplaceable Campaign tax deductible?

Yes, Friends of Mission San Miguel is a 501(c)3 organization - Tax I.D. # 20-1340149, and donations to the Saving the Irreplaceable Campaign are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Please contact your tax advisor for more information.


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