Admission Free Exhibits at the Bascom

Mon, Fri, Sat. 10am-5pm | Sun. 12-5pm
Admission Free Exhibits at the Bascom
Repeats every week every Sunday and every Monday and every Friday and every Saturday until Fri Feb 07 2020.
Friday, February 1st
Saturday, February 2nd
Sunday, February 3rd
Monday, February 4th
Friday, February 8th
Saturday, February 9th
Sunday, February 10th
Monday, February 11th
Friday, February 15th
Saturday, February 16th
Sunday, February 17th
Monday, February 18th
Friday, February 22nd
Saturday, February 23rd
Sunday, February 24th
Monday, February 25th
Friday, March 1st
Saturday, March 2nd
Sunday, March 3rd
Monday, March 4th
Friday, March 8th
Saturday, March 9th
Sunday, March 10th
Monday, March 11th
Friday, March 15th
Saturday, March 16th
Sunday, March 17th
Monday, March 18th
Friday, March 22nd
Saturday, March 23rd
Sunday, March 24th
Monday, March 25th
Friday, March 29th
Saturday, March 30th
Sunday, March 31st
Monday, April 1st
Friday, April 5th
Saturday, April 6th
Sunday, April 7th
Monday, April 8th
Friday, April 12th
Saturday, April 13th
Sunday, April 14th
Monday, April 15th
Friday, April 19th
Saturday, April 20th
Sunday, April 21st
Monday, April 22nd
Friday, April 26th
Saturday, April 27th
Sunday, April 28th
Monday, April 29th
Friday, May 3rd
Saturday, May 4th
Sunday, May 5th
Monday, May 6th
Friday, May 10th
Saturday, May 11th
Sunday, May 12th
Monday, May 13th
Friday, May 17th
Saturday, May 18th
Sunday, May 19th
Monday, May 20th
Friday, May 24th
Saturday, May 25th
Sunday, May 26th
Monday, May 27th
Friday, May 31st
Saturday, June 1st
Sunday, June 2nd
Monday, June 3rd
Friday, June 7th
Saturday, June 8th
Sunday, June 9th
Monday, June 10th
Friday, June 14th
Saturday, June 15th
Sunday, June 16th
Monday, June 17th
Friday, June 21st
Saturday, June 22nd
Sunday, June 23rd
Monday, June 24th
Friday, June 28th
Saturday, June 29th
Sunday, June 30th
Monday, July 1st
Friday, July 5th
Saturday, July 6th
Sunday, July 7th
Monday, July 8th
Friday, July 12th
Saturday, July 13th
Sunday, July 14th
Monday, July 15th
Friday, July 19th
Saturday, July 20th
Sunday, July 21st
Monday, July 22nd
Friday, July 26th
Saturday, July 27th
Sunday, July 28th
Monday, July 29th
Friday, August 2nd
Saturday, August 3rd
Sunday, August 4th
Monday, August 5th
Friday, August 9th
Saturday, August 10th
Sunday, August 11th
Monday, August 12th
Friday, August 16th
Saturday, August 17th
Sunday, August 18th
Monday, August 19th
Friday, August 23rd
Saturday, August 24th
Sunday, August 25th
Monday, August 26th
Friday, August 30th
Saturday, August 31st
Sunday, September 1st
Monday, September 2nd
Friday, September 6th
Saturday, September 7th
Sunday, September 8th
Monday, September 9th
Friday, September 13th
Saturday, September 14th
Sunday, September 15th
Monday, September 16th
Friday, September 20th
Saturday, September 21st
Sunday, September 22nd
Monday, September 23rd
Friday, September 27th
Saturday, September 28th
Sunday, September 29th
Monday, September 30th
Friday, October 4th
Saturday, October 5th
Sunday, October 6th
Monday, October 7th
Friday, October 11th
Saturday, October 12th
Sunday, October 13th
Monday, October 14th
Friday, October 18th
Saturday, October 19th
Sunday, October 20th
Monday, October 21st
Friday, October 25th
Saturday, October 26th
Sunday, October 27th
Monday, October 28th
Friday, November 1st
Saturday, November 2nd
Sunday, November 3rd
Monday, November 4th
Friday, November 8th
Saturday, November 9th
Sunday, November 10th
Monday, November 11th
Friday, November 15th
Saturday, November 16th
Sunday, November 17th
Monday, November 18th
Friday, November 22nd
Saturday, November 23rd
Sunday, November 24th
Monday, November 25th
Friday, November 29th
Saturday, November 30th
Sunday, December 1st
Monday, December 2nd
Friday, December 6th
Saturday, December 7th
Sunday, December 8th
Monday, December 9th
Friday, December 13th
Saturday, December 14th
Sunday, December 15th
Monday, December 16th
Friday, December 20th
Saturday, December 21st
Sunday, December 22nd
Monday, December 23rd
Friday, December 27th
Saturday, December 28th
Sunday, December 29th
Monday, December 30th
Friday, January 3rd
Saturday, January 4th
Sunday, January 5th
Monday, January 6th
Friday, January 10th
Saturday, January 11th
Sunday, January 12th
Monday, January 13th
Friday, January 17th
Saturday, January 18th
Sunday, January 19th
Monday, January 20th
Friday, January 24th
Saturday, January 25th
Sunday, January 26th
Monday, January 27th
Friday, January 31st
Saturday, February 1st
Sunday, February 2nd
Monday, February 3rd
Friday, February 7th
The Bascom

Free Admission to exhibition spaces and SmArt Space for children.  Shop for a handmade local art in The Bascom Shop.  Enjoy The Story Walk Trail around The Bascom's campus.


Click for More Info   |  (828) 526-4949

The American Woody:The first generation of depot hacks boasted open bodies constructed of wagon-style solid planking. But by the mid-1910s, closed station wagon bodies became more common and lighter construction was required. The rib-and-panel style that is familiar today made its first appearance on these vehicles and allowed for the first partially enclosed wooden station wagons with side curtains, two or more rows of seats, and side doors. These new wagons could still be considered depot hacks, but were now called Suburbans, Combinations and Country Clubs. (Versions of these names still appear today.) The lower halves of these wagonette bodies resembled the earlier versions and were now combined with a flat roof. These designs found favor with non-commercial customers, and an increasing number of firms began building them. Major manufacturers such as Ford started offering woodies through dealerships, although independent body builders performed the actual construction. The Martin Truck and Body Corp. in York, Pennsylvania, made so many bodies for Ford, Dodge and others during the 1910s and 1920s that they billed themselves as "The Largest Commercial Car Builder in the World." The golden age of the custom wood body maker ended during the Depression, as many of the small independent firms went out of business. Some reorganized and diversified, like the Kentucky Wagon Manufacturing Company, which stopped making wood Ford Model T and Model A bodies (and its own line of automobiles as the Dixie Motor Car Company) and started manufacturing truck trailers. The company is still in business today as Kentucky Trailer. The major automobile manufacturers acquired many others at fire-sale prices during this time. The fortunes of Martin Truck and Body, who called themselves "The Largest Commercial Car Builder in the World," changed dramatically during the Depression. After merging with failed carmaker Parry in 1919, Martin Truck and Body was acquired by Chevrolet in 1930 and became its first in-house commercial truck body division. Ford, with its vast timber operations near Lake Superior, was gaining experience in woody manufacturing. That experience would be put into practice in 1936 when a plant opened at Iron Mountain that built complete wood wagon bodies that were then shipped to Ford plants around the country for final assembly. While Ford was the only manufacturer building woodies from the ground up, there were still coachbuilt versions available based on GM, Chrysler, Packard, Willys, Hupmobile, Graham, Hudson, Studebaker and even American Bantam chassis. The trend toward luxury continued through the 1930s, although woody amenities lagged far behind those in production automobiles. Pontiac, for instance, did not offer full glazing until 1939. As the country began to recover economically, woodies were increasingly perceived as upscale vehicles and sales rose accordingly. Ford easily maintained its dominance, selling almost 10,000 redesigned Standard and DeLuxe station wagons in 1940 alone. Chrysler introduced its first truly car-quality woody, the Town & Country, in March of the following year. It boasted an all-steel roof and a white ash and mahogany body by Pekin Wood Products of Helena, Arkansas. With Willys, Buick, Pontiac and Plymouth all getting serious about passenger comfort in their woodies, things were about to heat up when the manufacturers were told to cease production of passenger cars and contribute to the war effort. A trickle of cars continued for a brief time, but all domestic automobile production had ended by March of 1942. Ford continued to produce a small number of Ford and Mercury woody sedans and ambulances used during the war. We reach Crystal Cove and its landmark Shake Shack and pull in to switch drivers. Remembering the earlier starting difficulty, we leave the Ford idling while photographer Joseph Puhy shoots some images. Little do we know, the ethanol-laced modern gas blend is busy vaporizing in the fuel line, a common Ford flathead V-8 problem. It happens on the uphill leaving the Shake Shack, the woodie chugging slower and slower, until it can’t chug anymore. Now we’re stranded beside the Coast Highway, with Audis and Acuras zipping past at speed. Bad scene. With no luck re-firing the engine, I resort to bump-starting it backward downhill. This works, and the ’34 has just enough power to get us turned around and find safe haven in a nearby park. But the woodie’s day is over. “I think this has cured me of wanting an old car!” Dean says, laughing. Oddly enough, another “Surf City” lyric has portended our current situation: “And if my woodie breaks down on me somewhere on the surf route/Surf City, here we come/I’ll strap my board to my back and hitch a ride in my wetsuit.” With the photo and video teams close behind, our rescue isn’t quite that dramatic, and we all safely return to the museum in modern cars, leaving the generous McPherson and his beautiful ’34 awaiting Hagerty Plus Roadside Service. The last great year of the woody was, by some accounts, 1949. Handcrafting complicated and maintenance-intensive wood frames and panels was becoming very difficult to justify in the red-hot, new-car market. The epochal Chrysler Town & Country switched to Dinoc vinyl (still available in aftermarket "wallpaper woody" kits today) with ornamental ash framing, and the 1949 Ford used all-steel construction with experimental plywood-like panels that underwent a dramatically high rate of failure. General Motors abandoned wood framing after 1948, and from 1948 through 1951, Packard produced station wagons with window framing and ornamental wood door trim by Briggs Manufacturing. The few coachbuilders that survived the Depression and World War II were again in jeopardy during the 1950s. Despite efforts to make the transition to more modern products such as hearses and other steel bodies, the wood-body manufacturers, steeped in old-world hand craftsmanship, were almost all gone by the end of the decade. Car design and manufacture, as well as the tastes of the car-buying public, were undergoing radical changes and the woody, redolent of 1930s and 1940s country clubs, fell from favor. The Chrysler Town & Country was discontinued in 1951, and while Fords continued to sell well, they now increasingly used vinyl and paint instead of real wood. The 1953 Buick wagons were the last real woodies from any major American manufacturer. Various wallpaper woodies or "vinylies" are still offered by Detroit to this day, but the age of the real woody ended in 1953. Fiberglass would come to substitute for ash and Dinoc for mahogany. It was a slow death, and the last real wood exterior trim of any kind on an American vehicle appeared on the Dodge Adventurer 150 "Li'l Red Express Truck" option available in 1978 and 1979.By the time I had my summer epiphany in San Diego, woodies were already in their second incarnation as an American icon. Furniture makers constructed the first of them on truck frames in the late 1920s. The car replaced the horse-drawn vehicles–jitneys or hacks–that had hauled passengers from train depots to hotels. Woodies were, literally, “station wagons,” and you’ll see them turn up. In Southern California, the place to see any style in wood cars is the annual Wavecrest meeting, held every September at Moonlight Beach near San Diego. Trophies are given for Best 1960s Surfing Woodie and Best Hot Rod Woodie. There are big-money restorations and Model A’s with rotting wood, Buick Estate Wagons with fewer than 50,000 miles on the odometer and more Town and Country wagons than Pasadena’s Rose Parade. Lovely as these ghosts are, there’s nothing that can duplicate your first time. Nearly 40 years ago, on the afternoon when I saw that first woodie in a San Diego gas station, I was just way to my part-time job in a suit and tie. What I watched from across the street was a preview of another kind of life, one that was raw and vital, one where a whole world was spread out along the coast waiting to be discovered. It was a moment that changed my life–because that day I quit my job and started surfing.