“Flying Horses and Mythical Beasts” Exhibit Opens at the Pasadena Museum of History

Flying Horses and Mythical Beasts Now Open at the Pasadena Museum of HistoryFlying Horses and Mythical Beasts Now Open at the Pasadena Museum of HistoryFlying Horses and Mythical Beasts Now Open at the Pasadena Museum of HistoryFlying Horses and Mythical Beasts Now Open at the Pasadena Museum of HistoryFlying Horses and Mythical Beasts Now Open at the Pasadena Museum of History

Story and Photography by BRANDON VILLALOVOS

9:05 pm | June 1, 2016


On Wednesday, the Pasadena Museum of History opened the long-awaited exhibition showcasing the collection and artistry in the form of several dozen carousel horses from around the world. The exhibition called “Flying Horses and Mythical Beasts: The Magical World of Carousel Animals” is a nostalgic look into memories of fun that most of us associate with childhood and carnival tradition.

Lourinda Bray is the guest curator and longtime Pasadena who has a sprawling 6,000 square foot warehouse in Irwindale that houses upwards of 400 carousel horses dating back several decades. She restores and conserves these creatures not only for her own amusement but also for collectors and operating carousels throughout the nation.

“She is one of the fascinating people in Pasadena who is doing something that ties into our history. She is a walking history of carousels,” said Pasadena Museum of History Media Specialist Jeannette Bovard.

The museum has approximately 50 unique carousel creatures on display for guests to examine and touch and include American, European and German specific carousel creatures that are completely unique down to their paint, texture, size and age.

For instance, Mexican carousel creatures are intended for children which explains their significantly smaller size and cartoon aesthetic while turn of the century American creatures are large and often inspired by the mythical stylings in the form of centaurs and other similar creatures.

There is even a lion you can sit on for a vintage inspired photo op that will induce a smile or two for willing participants.

“Carousels were meant to be more of a gentile kind of amusement that was often used for courting and child entertainment in an era where young people were chaperoned a lot more than they are now. It’s always involved having fun,” explained Bovard.

Guests are sure to expand their knowledge about carousels in a way they never thought possible. Bray’s impressive collection features creatures that are in various stages of condition.

There are creatures that are meticulously restored to era-specific details with others revealing the century old wood contours that have remained untouched since the original artists’ construction.

This exhibit is nothing short a wonderland and a sight to be seen.

“I can’t imagine there’s another place on Earth like this,” said Bovard.

“Flying Horses and Mythical Beasts: The Magical World of Carousel Animals” will continue through August 28. Admission to the exhibition galleries is $7 per person. Museum members and children under 12 are free.

For more information visit www.pasadenahistory.org.