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Shangri La Timeline

1912 - 1936 1937 - 1954 1963 - 1998 1998 - 2008 2008-present
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November 22, 1912

Doris Duke is born in New York City. Her father, James Buchanan Duke, had already amassed two large fortunes, one from tobacco products and the other from hydroelectric power. When her father died in 1925, she became the primary heir of his fortune.

Doris Duke and James B. Duke, c. 1913.
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1922-1928

Doris Duke attends the Brearley School in New York.

Doris Duke in New York, c. 1925.
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1923

Doris Duke travels to Europe with her parents.

Doris Duke and J.B. Duke in Europe, 1923.
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1935

Marriage to James Cromwell leads to a honeymoon around the world. 

Doris Duke at the Moti Mosque in Agra, India, 1935.
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Spring 1935

A visit to the Taj Mahal inspires Duke to commission an inlaid marble bed and bathroom suite known as the Mughal Suite

Doris Duke's bathroom suite.
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August 1935

Captivated by Honolulu, the Cromwells extend their short visit to four months.

Sam Kahanamoku, Doris Duke, James Cromwell and Chick Daniels with surfboards.
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1936

Purchase of ocean front property at Ka‘alāwai near Diamond Head.

The property prior to development, c. 1936-37.
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1936

Design and construction overseen by the architectural firm Wyeth and King.

Construction on the main house, c. 1938.
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1937

Purchase of over 900 Iznik tiles initiates collecting Iznik ceramics for many decades.

Detail of an Iznik dish made in Turkey.
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1937

Designer Rene Martin and Moroccan workshops create furniture, colored-glass windows, ceilings, and screens.

Detail of the ceiling in the Foyer made in Morocco.
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1938

Travels in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey result in numerous purchases; and a large commission for tiles is placed in Isfahan, Iran.

Detail of a mosaic tile panel commissioned by Doris Duke in Iran in 1938.
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1940

Purchase of the Veramin mihrab.

Detail of the mihrab (prayer niche) from the tomb of Imamzada Yahya at Veramin, Iran.
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1941

Purchases at the Hearst sales prompt transformations in the Living Room.

Detail of a luster dish made in Spain.
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1942-1946

Unable to return to Hawai’i after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Duke allows the U.S. Military to use Shangri La's grounds for officers' recreation.

Barbed wire wrapped the islands’ shoreline during World War II.
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1950s

Reconstruction of the Mughal Garden.

The Mughal Garden.
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1954

Travels to Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria result in the purchase of an 18th-century Syrian interior.

Detail of the wood paneling in the Damascus Room.
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1963-1966

The Dining Room is transformed as a result of Duke's travels in Egypt and Lebanon in the 1950s and 1960s.

Detail of an embroidered hanging in the Dining Room.
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January 11, 1965

Doris Duke creates the second codicil to her will, which stipulates the creation of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art in order “to promote the study and understanding of Middle Eastern Art and Culture.”

Page from the second codicil to Doris Duke’s will, 1965.
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1979-1983

Acquisition and installation of a 19th-century Syrian interior.

Detail of the wood paneling in the Syrian Room.
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1980s

Purchase of Zand and Qajar paintings enhances Duke's fine collection of Qajar arts.

Detail from a Qajar painting made in Iran.
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1985

Duke travels to Uzbekistan, a main site of manufacture of suzani textiles, numerous examples of which can be seen at Shangri La.

Detail from a suzani made in Central Asia.
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October 1992

Last major purchase of Islamic art: a large mosaic tile panel.

Detail of a mosaic tile panel made in Iran.
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October 28, 1993

Doris Duke dies at age 80 in Los Angeles, California.

Doris Duke on Lamu Island, Kenya, c. 1986.
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1998

The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art (DDFIA) is incorporated.

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1998-2002

Master planning, historic preservation and conservation of the collection begin.

Art conservators treating a mosaic tile panel.
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2002

Shangri La opens to the public.

Guided tours of main house and collections are first program offering.
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2003

Symposia and Convenings begin.

Senior journalists from the U.S. and Asia convened at Shangri La in 2010 with the East-West Center’s “Bridging Gaps between the U.S. and the Muslim World.”
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2004

Scholar-in-Residence program launched.

Resident scholar Amanda Phillips studied the collection of Ottoman velvets in 2012.
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2004-2006

Historic preservation efforts on Playhouse façade.

This three year project included building repairs and restoration of the elaborated stenciled ceilings, capitals and columns.
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2005

Artist-in-Residence program begins.

Resident artist Zakariya Amataya of Thailand answers questions following a poetry reading in 2011.
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2005

Cultural Landscape Management Plan prepared.

The Cultural Landscape Plan inventoried and assessed the character-defining features of the site and recommended management strategies for future care.
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2005-2008

Conservation of the Damascus Room in partnership with Winterthur University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation.

Interns from Winterthur University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation worked in three phases to survey, stabilize and conserve this 18th-19th century painted room from Damascus.
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2008

Historic Structures Report completed.

The Historic Structures Report documented architectural features, evaluated condition and made recommendations for treatment. It serves as guide for prioritizing annual repairs and maintenance of the site.
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2009-2014

Conservation of the Syrian Room in partnership with Winterthur University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation.

A conservator does a test cleaning of a calligraphic cartouche dated AH 1271/AD 1854–55.
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2012

The Damascus Room opens to the public, the exhibition Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art opens at the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC, and Doris Duke’s Shangri La: A House in Paradise is published.

Shahzia Sikander’s Unseen I, a high definition projection, is one of many contemporary works in the traveling exhibit.
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2013

Preservation of the marble Jali Pavilion on the roof of Shangri La's Mughal Suite completed in February.

The restored Jali Pavilion looking west © 2014, Linny Morris, courtesy of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.
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2014

The Mughal Suite opens to the public, featuring the exquisite marble and inlay work commissioned in India on Doris Duke’s 1935 honeymoon and highlights her South Asian collections.

Red velvet settees flank a marble fireplace in the bedroom of the Mughal Suite at Shangri La. © 2014, Linny Morris, courtesy of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.
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