For a great mix of history, art and interior design, visit the former vacation home of the late philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg. Over time, the Annenbergs gave $3 billion in grants and gifts to major research universities, hospitals, medical centers, public schools, and cultural and civic organizations. They dedicated Sunnylands, their winter home, to public service when they passed.
The Annenbergs Legacy
Among other things, Walter Annenberg was an ambassador to Great Britain and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts.
Leonore Annenberg served as Chief of Protocol in the Reagan Administration. She was instrumental in the collection and preservation of art for U.S. embassies, chanceries and ambassadorial residences. She won the Philadelphia Award and the Wagner Medal for Public Service.
For years the Annenbergs welcomed prestigious political, business, educational, and entertainment leaders to their home, including Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, and Nancy and Ronald Reagan.
Their 200-acre winter home in Rancho Mirage is now one of the top Palm Springs area attractions, open to visitors and remains a place for international leaders to hold summit and meetings.
Visits to the center and garden are free. View sculptures, rotating exhibitions and a film about the Annenbergs. The garden was inspired by the Annenberg’s personal collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. There are weekly 60-minute guided bird walks, too.
The midcentury home and lava stone center are impressive sights in and of themselves. In addition to their interior art collections, the Annenbergs commissioned a 20-foot, half-scale version of Mexican artist brothers José and Tomás Chávez Morado’s renowned fountain at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. It now sits at the entry to Sunnylands.
Other collections include Rodin’s sculpture “Eve,” personal items and serviceware from the Annenbergs and an archive of photographs and documents that tell the story of the Annenberg’s service and the historical visits that took place at Sunnylands.
There also is a cafe that serves lunch and mountain and garden views.
Admission and parking at Sunnylands are free.