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Julia Morgan and the Riverside Art Museum

Female architect Julia Morgan was a pioneer in her profession and created the building that was once the Riverside YWCA, now home to the Riverside Art Museum.
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Photo Credit: Riverside Art Museum

Female architect Julia Morgan was a pioneer in her profession, best known for designing the iconic Hearst Castle on the Central Coast. Morgan was the first woman to be admitted to the architecture program at l'École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the first woman architect licensed in California. She designed more than 700 buildings in California, including the Inland Empire masterpiece, Riverside’s grand YWCA

Her work was revolutionary in pioneering the aesthetic use of reinforced concrete, which is a material that proved to hold structurally sound in the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes. Morgan embraced the Arts and Crafts Movement and used various producers of California pottery to decorate her buildings. Her style was feminine but sturdy, and her specialty was designing YWCAs in spots including San Pedro, Pasadena, Long Beach, Hollywood and Riverside. 

Today, this building that was once Morgan’s Riverside YWCA is home to the Riverside Art Museum. It’s a landmark that’s considered by locals and visitors alike to be a national treasure and dates back to 1929. The building features a mixture of Mediterranean and Classical revival styles and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982. 

The structure of the original architecture has been preserved but the building has undergone renovations to adapt its interior to accommodate modern necessities and offer a comfortable space for visitors. 

The lobby still features the building's original, authentic fireplace as well as the original two-story atrium which offers a large space for hosting gatherings such as exhibit openings. The building’s expansive rooftop offers panoramic views of Riverside and is also used as an event space that can host up to 160 people. 

Nearest Station
Riverside - Downtown
3425 Mission Inn Avenue
Riverside, CA 92501
(951) 684-7111
General directions
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From Riverside-Downtown Station head northeast toward Vine St.


The walk from the station will be 0.5 miles; 10 minutes.

Turn right onto Vine St. for 0.2 miles

Turn left onto Mission Inn Avenue for 0.2 miles

Arrive at your destination on the right.