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Treasures at Sunnylands to go on display this weekend

What do you get a man or woman who has everything? Over the decades, Walter and Leonore Annenberg received lavish gifts from U.S. Presidents, royalty and Hollywood legends, all guests of their Sunnylands estate in Rancho Mirage.

In all shapes and sizes 46 of their treasureswill make up the latest one-year long exhibition at the Sunnylands Visitors Center on Bob Hope Drive starting Sunday.

“It’s exploring all the gifts the Annenbergs have received,” said Anne Rowe, director of collections and exhibitions at Sunnylands.

A funny gift from President George H. W. Bush entertained the Annenberg’s home.

“He brought a singing plastic fish, which seems like an odd gift. This wasn’t a presidential gift, this was a gift from a friend,” said Rowe.

The biggest surprise that’ll be on display was from neighbor Frank Sinatra in 1968.

“He shocked them by delivering a vehicle here, it’s called a Mini Moke. It’s the grooviest 60s car, it’s open air, yellow and white and has the Sunnylands logo,” Rowe said.

Walter Annenberg would pile in his grandkids and drive them downtown Palm Springs for burgers and shakes, according to Rowe.

One of his most cherished gifts was a signed portrait of Winston Churchill.

“He was well-known for not wanting to sign his autograph,” said Rowe.

However, Churchill and Annenberg became friends after sitting beside each other during a dinner party and Churchill signed it.

The exhibit will also include sentimental treasures from loved ones.

“I think people will really go away with who the Annenbergs were as people and as a family,” said Rowe.

The Treasures at Sunnylands can be seen at no cost Thursday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m at the Sunnylands Visitors Center.

KESQ News Team

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