The Museum remains dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting the material culture of the Santa Barbara region in all its diversity; to educating through lectures, tours, and in the classroom; and to encouraging research, scholarship, and publication of the history of the Santa Barbara community. History can guide and inspire our actions, a tool with which we can build a better tomorrow. It is that belief which inspires the Museum’s motto, “building a future worth remembering.”
In addition to the Museum’s signature exhibition, The Story of Santa Barbara, the Museum hosts 4 major exhibitions highlighting our area history each year and recently completed a new immersive exhibition geared toward children, entitled The Haunted Mirror.
We aim to produce a vibrant schedule of public programming including history lectures and art demonstrations, exhibition premieres, film screenings, walking and hiking tours, and continuing education sessions for the Museum’s core volunteers program. Public interest topics include life in early California, conservation, architecture, art, film, agriculture and other local history topics.
Our school programs and education outreach are at the heart of our activities, as we endeavor to inspire a new generation to not only learn from the past, but integrate it into their lives.
The Santa Barbara Historical Museum has a long legacy in our community, and an enduring commitment to its mission. With a ninety year history, a stable budget, strong leadership and magnificent collection, we aim to continue to be a strong, solid voice for local history, education, and preservation. The Museum's beautiful campus in downtown Santa Barbara is a celebrated treasure of the community and often plays host to events such as weddings and corporate events, which lend visibility and also help fund our operation.
Our organization's progress can be measured in many ways -- visitor attendance, engagement with our members and volunteers, thoughtful and well attended events, a open dialogue with our generous patrons, and positive public relations.
Our Research Department produces three issues of Noticias, the Museum’s scholarly journal. Most recently, we completed the publication, Spanish Colonial Style: Santa Barbara and the Architecture of James Osborne Craig and Mary McLaughlin Craig, a scholarly hardcover book with Rizzoli.
On average over 28,000 guests, including many school tours, visited the Museum to explore, attend public functions and utilize the research library, and visit the historic homes (Fernald Mansion c. 1880s). Additionally, many others explored the Museum’s satellite exhibits at the Historic Terminal of the Santa Barbara Airport and the transitional exhibition Healing Arts Program at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.