The Grand Moving Mirror of California

Recreating a moving panorama performance which had not been seen in 130 years.


The Velaslavasay Panorama in Los Angeles, California, is a historic exhibition hall, theatre and garden dedicated to the production and presentation of unusual visual experiences.

Not that many years ago, a photo copy of the 1853 script for  The Grand Moving Mirror of California, landed on the doorstep of the Velaslavasay Panorama, to the attention of museum director Sara Velas.  The script had been recently rediscovered in storage at the Saco Museum in Saco, Maine and was sent by moving "panoramaniac" Peter Morelli. The painted scroll no longer existed, just the script. What better place than the Velaslavasay Panorama  and what more talented person than Sara to take up the challenge of bringing this performance back to life?  It was a perfect match. 

Sara, along with a diverse team of very talented people, set out to recreate the moving panorama, The Grand Moving Mirror of California.  They didn't stop at merely creating the painting with the cranking apparatus, narration and music (a Herculian task by itself).  They went on to create other accompanying pieces in the spirit of 19th century moving panorama performances: flyers, miniature panorama souviners, a display of Gold Rush artifacts and a logo reminiscent of 19th century engravings.

For more information visit the museum's website.

THE GRAND MOVING MIRROR OF CALIFORNIA tells the story of a sea voyage around the South American continent to reach GOLD RUSH ERA California. On the voyage, one encounters the thrills and chills of rough seas, exotic landscapes, wild fires and dangerous animals!!!
The box and cranking mechanism was made by Erik Newman. The design was based on a 19th Century moving panorama patent. Erik made improvements to that design, then drove the box from Chicago to LA in a 1981 VW Rabbit Diesel named Rosebud. Further adjustments were made by Brandy Kana.
Khylin Woodrow: crankist
The beautiful, 270 foot painting was designed and painted by Guan Rong.
More details of the gorgeous painting. This is the ship Albatros.
I love this. Artifacts from the Gold Rush era, in the Velaslavasay garden.
The Grand Moving Mirror of California logo, reminiscent of 19 Century moving panorama engravings.
You can purchase a miniature replica of the panorama through the Velaslavasay website They make a totally unique and delightful gift.
Wonderfully creative promotional flyers and a miniature moving panorama souvenir.
Performance Program
Watch an excerpt of a performance with Tony Abatemarco narrating and Kate Kohler playing piano.