Grace Hudson Museum and Sun House

Grace Hudson Museum and Sun House

Born to well-educated, socially-conscious pioneer parents in California’s rural Mendocino County, Grace Carpenter (1865-1937) showed an early talent for portraiture that was developed by professional training in San Francisco in the 1880s. In 1891, soon after her marriage, she painted a portrait of a sleeping California Indian child, “National Thorn," that was the first in a numbered series of over 684 oils, the last completed in 1935. Nearly all of her subjects were local Pomo Indian peoples. Hudson’s reputation as a painter was national during her lifetime; today her work enjoys renewed interest and recognition for its culturally accurate and sympathetic portrayals of native peoples.

Grace Carpenter’s husband was Nashville-born and raised John W. Hudson (1857-1936). Hudson went to medical school and became a practicing physician before emigrating to Northern California in 1880. But a young man’s interest in Tennessee archaeology soon grew into a doctor’s fascination with the living American Indian peoples of Mendocino County. Within five years of his marriage to Grace Carpenter, Hudson gave up his medical practice and spent the rest of his life as a collector-ethnographer, amassing significant collections of California Indian basketry that are in the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution, Chicago’s Field Museum, and Arizona’s Heard Museum.

Grace Carpenter Hudson belonged to a family whose interests and talents, particularly those of the female members, involved them in notable historical and cultural events of 19th and early 20th centuries. The Carpenter-Hudson family left a legacy that encompasses California art, Pomo Indian culture, regional history, the women’s suffrage movement and the American Arts and Crafts period. The Grace Hudson Museum displays and interprets objects from the multifaceted estate of this distinguished family, using them as a springboard for contemporary examinations of a variety of cultural and artistic themes. The Museum, with its four exhibition galleries, provides opportunities for art appreciation, historical reflection, cultural enrichment, guided tours and special events.

Grace and John Hudson built their redwood Craftsman bungalow home, Sun House, on a large lot in central Ukiah in 1911, where they spent the remainder of their lives. The six room home retains the flavor of the Hudson’s bohemian lifestyle, furnished with items from their eclectic collection.

A California Historical Landmark, the museum is open the following days: Wednesday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p. m. Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Sun House is available for docent-led tours from noon to 3:00 p.m. during the Museum’s regular open hours. Closed for major holidays.

Grace Hudson Museum and Sun House
431 S. Main St
Ukiah, CA 95482-4923
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(707) 467-2836