For the past decade the Fullerton Museum Center’s LEO FENDER GALLERY has provided a hometown venue for celebrating the life and works of the city’s most famous and influential son. Clarence Leo Fender was an unassuming man who couldn’t play guitar, yet his creations inspired generations of musicians, and changed the sound of popular music. While his instruments soared, Fender spent his life in Fullerton, looking for ways to make his great creations even better.


The life and work of Fullerton’s favorite son will be celebrated in a new exhibit at the Fullerton Museum Center. Leo Fender: Life and Legacy opens November 12, 2016 in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Museum’s Leo Fender Gallery.

Music legend Leo Fender (1909 – 1991) is recognized worldwide as the inventive genius who perfected the electric guitar. His groundbreaking Telecaster and Stratocaster electric guitars as well as the revolutionary Precision Bass were all invented in Fullerton, California, a town Fender loved.



“The 2006 inaugural opening of the Leo Fender Gallery was a dream realized by Museum Association Members, City of Fullerton staff, community members, and musicians around the world. Now looking back on ten years, we couldn’t be more proud of what we have been able to accomplish,” said Fullerton Museum Center Director Dannielle Mauk. “Now, a decade later, we are looking forward to taking the gallery to a new level. Over the past year we have identified and acquired some important artifacts and instruments for display, and are really excited to share these with the public.”

During the Leo Fender Gallery’s ten years of operation, it has featured changing displays on different aspects of the Fender story. Exhibits have included the photography of Bob Perrine, the specialties of the Telecaster, masterpieces from the Fender Custom Shop, and more. As part of the gallery’s mission, the Fullerton Museum Center has provided valuable education outreach for the past decade to the community through concert series, guitar classes, gallery tours, and presentations.

The newly renovated gallery will feature an in-depth look at the man behind the music and will include personal items and historic artifacts never before displayed.

“Leo Fender’s electric guitars, basses and amplifiers changed the sound of the 20th Century, and played a significant part in its artistic and social upheavals, but Leo himself was an unassuming man who seemed most comfortable at his Fullerton workbench. That’s where it all began, and it is fitting that the Leo Fender Gallery is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a fresh focus on the man and his works,” added Jim Washburn, local historian and music critic who is collaborating with the Museum on the new exhibit.

The opening reception Gala for Leo Fender: Life and Legacy will take place on Saturday, November 12 from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Also premiering the same night will be Spirited: Prohibition in America exploring the tumultuous years of the 1920s when alcoholic beverages were outlawed in the United States.

The event will be set up in speakeasy fashion courtesy of Found Vintage Rentals and will feature live jazz music; a specially prepared dinner by Colette’s Catering inspired by the season; Prohibition style cocktails by The Cellar; craft beer by The Public House; a curator’s talk: and special guests Phyllis Fender and Orange County historian Jim Washburn. Cost is $18 for the general public, free for Museum members, and includes the reception and admission to both exhibits.

The award winning Fullerton Museum Center is located at 301 N. Pomona Avenue in Fullerton. For hours and more information, please call (714) 738-6545.

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