Hearst Castle was generously donated to the State of California by a deed of gift from the Hearst Family, held in trust for the people of California as part of the State Parks System. Revenues generated by the Castle do not stay at the Castle; they go directly to Sacramento and into the State Parks and Recreation Fund. The State provides operating costs, and small annual allocations are made to the museum for the purposes of maintenance, conservation and restoration; yet these do not begin to keep pace with the need.
Currently just $380K is earmarked for artifact restoration and $550K for building restoration, a tiny fraction of the estimated budget necessary to properly maintain the Castle and its treasures. There is a backlog of $60 million in conservation/maintenance projects waiting to be funded.
Many artifacts have been stabilized so they can continue their days in what is essentially a state of arrested decay. This is not an ideal solution, but a stopgap measure to prevent greater damage until resources can be secured.
Established in 1985, Friends of Hearst Castle (FHC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit cooperating association affiliated with Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument®. Friends of Hearst Castle supports preservation and interpretation of Hearst Castle, including its art, artifacts, architecture and grounds through membership, education, outreach and special events, enhancing understanding and appreciation, and thereby enriching the visitor experience.
We support docent programs, host special needs tours, and offer an ArtReach program for underserved youngsters . Friends has also funded lighting restoration at the hilltop, Living History props and clothing, vehicles for the disabled for Castle tour access, and landscape restoration of the historic gardens.
A long list of treasures and art objects have now been the beneficiaries of FHC’s conservation efforts and include: the 16th century Billiard Room ceiling, conservation of the Mille Fleurs tapestry and other textiles, altar frontals, statuary, paintings and numerous other priceless Castle artifacts both indoors and out. Over 9,000 Julia Morgan drawings have been preserved and archived.
Friends of Hearst Castle is proud to be a partner in preservation and education for Hearst Castle, a unique statewide cultural and historical resource. For decades, the impact of a visit to the Castle has been an inspiration, beckoning new generations, fueling the dreams of artists and architects, travelers and visionaries. Young and old alike are captured by the magic of this extraordinary expression of one man’s dedication and enthusiasm, as embodied in the Hearst Castle world renowned collections.
We are the stewards of that man’s promise to the generations yet to come. Please join the effort with a meaningful contribution to our endeavor.