Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Support the Venice Historical Society's Proposal to Re-Purpose the Westminster Senior Center as the Venice Historical Museum

Please send a message to Mike Bonin <> and <> asking him to support the use of the Westminster Senior Center for the Venice Historical Museum and Visitor Center.

Jill Prestup, president of the Venice Historical Society (VHS), has sent out a call for Venetians to help VHS obtain the use of the Department of Recreation and Parks building at Westminster and Pacific, commonly called the “Senior Center.”
Prestup has been through this before with Recreation and Parks and has waited by the phone to hear that the papers were signed, only to be disappointed when the phone didn’t ring. 

Recently, the Department issued a request for a proposals to re-use the building. Once again Prestup (and others) submitted proposals. 

As previously mentioned on this site, The Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCHC) submitted a proposal to use the building to house the belongings of transients, to offer unspecified services to the homeless and to use the parking lot, now used at night by residents, as a parking area for those living in cars, trucks and campers. 

There is a petition circulating by members of the community opposing the VCHC from obtaining the use of the property. 

Prestup has been looking for the right place to house the Venice History Museum and she and VHS members feel this is the proper place to serve the community and provide a place for all the Venice artifacts the Society has collected over the years. She has plans to bring the building up to code and make it a showplace for the community.

“As most of you know, VHS has been trying to secure the Westminster Senior Center as a Resource/Museum/Preservation/Visitor Center with extensive programs, displays, learning workshops and events to be shared by everyone – ages 5 to 105,” said Prestup.

“The building will house a first-of-its-kind research center & library; 10,000 rare artifacts will be displayed; educational workshops provided for ALL ages; special youth & student preservation programs; an official Venice visitor center; a museum; a place for historic lectures & events; space for area non-profits to hold meetings; and headquarters for the Venice Historical Society. 

“On a historic note, the building can be seen in Charlie Chaplin’s Kid Auto Races, released in 1914. That’s how long this building has been a part of the community,” Prestup said.

Prestup asks Venetians to lend their support by emailing Councilman Mike Bonin,; Recreation and Parks at; Prestup at; and send a copy also to Debbie Dyner Harris at

Prestup feels this is a win-win situation for the community. “Many individuals - visitors, residents, students, youth, journalists, seniors and all others will benefit from this,” she said. 

“This will be an incredible Visitor Center for Venice as well as being a resource and preservation facility place for Venice artifacts.”

(Thanks to Reta Moser of Venice Update for the information above.)