Santa Barbara Historical Museum
136 E. De la Guerra Street
Santa Barbara, CA  93101

(805) 966-1601 (Phone)   |   (805) 966-1603 (Fax)
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OUR LATEST BUZZ
   

OUR COMPLETE CALENDAR
   
Year Founded:
    1932
Description:
   The Museum represents ALL of Santa Barbara's history and should serve as a "first stop" for visitors interested in a beautiful introduction to the city's rich cultural heritage.
    The Museum is headquartered in its 25,000 square-foot adobe building in downtown Santa Barbara. Here are housed the museum galleries featuring the signature exhibition, The Story of Santa Barbara, which traces the evolution of the region from the days of the Chumash into the 21st century. In addition, the Sala Gallery offers changing exhibitions four to five times annually.
    The Museum holds in public trust over 80,000 irreplaceable historic artifacts including paintings, drawings, furniture, saddles, decorative arts, and one of the largest costume collections west of the Mississippi. The Gledhill Library counts over 5,000 books, over 70,000 photographs as well as maps, newspaper volumes, government documents, private papers, and oral histories among its collections.
    The Historical Museum operates two historic house museums: The Hon. Charles Fernald Mansion (c.1865), the exquisite Queen Anne Victorian home of one of the city’s most prominent historical figures and the neighboring Trussell-Winchester Adobe (1854) with its period furnishings. The Museum also owns and has seen to the preservation of the Covarrubias Adobe (1817), one of the oldest buildings in Santa Barbara, and the Historic Adobe (1854), both adjacent to the downtown museum building. The Santa Barbara Historical Museum is almost eighty years old, yet its mission remains much the same. It is 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 on 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 informs the Museum’s motto, “Upon the foundation of the past, we build a future worth remembering.”
Museum Category:
    Historical


Business Hours:
    10 - 5PM (Tue-Sat); 12-5 (Sun); Closed Monday
Location Type:
    Museum
Payment Accepted:
    Cash,   Check,   MasterCard,   Visa,  
Languages Spoken:
    English,   Spanish,  
Admission:
    FREE
General Business Classification:
    Museums, Historic Sites, Attractions
    Categories:
    Historical Museum
    Museums/Attractions/Historic

Legal Entity:
    Non-Profit
Number of Employees:
    6 - 10
Average Visit:
    1 hour
Admittance:
    During normal business hours.
Indoor/Outdoor:
    Indoor/Outdoor Location
Parking On-Site?
    Yes  
Handicapped Accessible?
    Yes
Cell Phones & Pagers?
    Some restrictions
Cameras/Recording Equip.?
    Some restrictions
Pets Allowed?
    No
Guided Tours?
    Yes
Gift Certificates?
    Available for Sale
Classes Offered?
    Yes.

www.santabarbaramuseum.com
 Recent Buzzes!!
12/1/14 - Holiday First Thursday at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum
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Join us for holiday music and wine as you enjoy an enchanting model train display depicting Santa Barbara's downtown (1920-1940), courtesy of Ken Kelley. Browse Pacific Coast Rail Road artwork along with our latest exhibition dedicated to architect Lutah Maria riggs. Georgia's Smokehouse will be onsite serving their delicious BBQ from 5:30 to 7:00 PM. Always family-friendly, we welcome all ages to "Polar Express" themed activities (story time, crafts and hot chocolate).  Email
11/18/14 - Tales of Everyday Life in Santa Barbara 100 Years Ago
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Wednesday, December 10 at 11am Free for members/ $10 Guests What was it like to live in Santa Barbara in 1914? What did people wear? What did they eat? What did they do for fun? Author Betsy J. Green's will introduce her latest book which tells it like it was, along with a healthy dollop of humor. Betsy has compiled her writings of Way Back When on Edhat.com, along with interesting comments from readers, into the first of her series of books on Santa Barbara history - one year at a time. 1914 was the year of: the tango, the 500-year flood, "tidal waves," stunt pilots, Buffalo Bill, Pancho Villa, Sex at the Arlington Hotel, knee-length bathing suits, the war in Europe, an X-rated movie, Peter-the-movie-dog, glowing fish, Mule Man, Rattlesnake Jim, Flying "A" films, Martha Graham, German warships, Charlie Chaplin, the Rose Parade, and much more. Reservation required. Limited parking. Tickets available by phone or online: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lecture-way-back-when-santa-barbara-in-1914-by-betsy-green-tickets-14454942121   Email
10/23/14 - The Rise of UCSB, 1944-2014 (Lecture)
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Thursday, November 13 at 5:30 pm

Sponsored by the Arthur M. Rupe Foundation

Dr. Lanny Ebenstein examines the development of this major institution on the occasion of its 70th anniversary. Santa Barbara was a pioneer in California education from the 1790s and UCSB has continued this tradition. The presentation traces this history from the earliest days, through the period on the Riviera campus, to today with UCSB’s proud roster of Nobel laureates past and present.

Reservations required. Members/ UCSB Affiliated $20/ Guests $25.

Dr. Lanny Ebenstein is a graduate of Santa Barbara High School, UCSB, and the London School of Economics. He served on the Santa Barbara Board of Education from 1990 to 1998. He teaches economics at UCSB where his father, William Ebenstein, taught at UCSB from 1961 to 1976.
10/16/14 - Under the Umbrella: Lutah Maria Riggs and Her Santa Barbara Style (October 23rd)
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Explore the life and work of architect and draftswoman Lutah Maria Riggs and her contribution to what has become “Santa Barbara Style.” The special exhibition celebrates the iconic architectural elements that define America’s Riviera― white walls with arched openings, red-tile, wrought iron, classical Mediterranean mixed with Art Moderne, and a focus on outdoor living and enjoying the views. The fascinating tribute highlights the work of a very talented designer who left her mark on Santa Barbara landmarks such as the Lobero Theatre and the Vedanta Temple. Her handiwork as designer for renowned Spanish Revival architect George Washington Smith, and later on her own, graces the historic El Paseo complex in downtown Santa Barbara and Casa del Herrero in Montecito.

Riggs led a remarkable life and left a lasting impression not only in Santa Barbara and Montecito, but throughout California. From her days as a set designer in Hollywood, to her creation of the oversize Santa Barbara umbrella, to her work on Greta Garbo’s tiny Hollyood hideaway and the design of Baron Maximilian von Romberg’s palatial villa, her story is explored through drawings, photos, oral history and costume. The Santa Barbara Historical Museum collaborated with the Lutah Maria Riggs Society and the UCSB Art, Architecture and Design Museum to fully illustrate her work and the evolution of her own “Santa Barbara Style.”

Earlier this year, the documentary Lutah premiered to much acclaim and renewed interest at the prestigious Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and will be screened again at special events during the 6-month exhibition at the Historical Museum. Located in the heart of Santa Barbara's historic district, the museum and its historic adobes, exquisite courtyards and gardens are reminiscent of early Spanish California.

SBHM is open Tuesday through Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 12-5pm. (Closed on Monday.) Guided tours are offered on Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00pm and group tours can be reserved by contacting the Museum. Admission is free, donations are appreciated. The museum is located at 136 East De la Guerra Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. For information call 805-966-1601 www.santabarbaramuseum.com   Email
7/17/14 - Saturday! La Fiesta de Museo -- at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum
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Dinner and dancing under the moonlight in an exquisite courtyard to the sensational sounds of salsa band, Mescal Martini. The enchanting evening features an exclusive auction, fully hosted cocktails and fine wines, Old Spanish Days exhibition, and performances by the Spirits of Fiesta and Timo Nunez, “America’s Number 1 Flamenco Dancer.” Reservations required.
Presented by ... Santa Barbara Historical Museum
Venue ... Santa Barbara Historical Museum
7/9/14 - Old Spanish Days: Book Lecture and Signing July 23rd, 2014
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Erin Graffy de Garcia, Guest Curator, uncovers the history behind Old Spanish Days Fiesta in a lecture and walking tour based on her newest book,Old Spanish Days: Santa Barbara's History Through its Public Art. She provides fascinating details and lavish illustration to highlight this exceptional Rancho era- one of the largest non-nomadic pastoral societies in history. This Spanish Arcadia of early California was distinguished by expert horsemen, extraordinary hospitality, exuberant living, and an exhilarating love of dance. Time: 11:00am
6/4/14 - Project Fiesta! – Building a Complete History of Old Spanish Days, Exhibit Premiere
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June 26, 5:30 pm $20/ Members $30/ Guests Book lecture and signing of Old Spanish Days: Santa Barbara’s History Through its Public Art In celebration of the 90th anniversary of Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, join us for the premiere of our latest exhibition, Project Fiesta! Experience the pageantry, fashion and traditions of Santa Barbara’s most cherished cultural festival. Featuring vintage posters, artwork, restored costumes, artifacts and historical photos, the exhibit will continue to grow as we collect your viva la fiesta memories and images. Erin Graffy de Garcia, Guest Curator, uncovers the history behind Old Spanish Days Fiesta in a lecture based on her newest book, Old Spanish Days: Santa Barbara’s History Through its Public Art. She provides fascinating details and lavish illustration to highlight this exceptional Rancho era - one of the largest non-nomadic pastoral societies in history. This Spanish Arcadia of early California was distinguished by expert horsemen, extraordinary hospitality, exuberant living, and an exhilarating love of dance.
5/30/14 - First Thursday June 5, 2014
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Join the Santa Barbara Historical Museum for an evening of "Pop-up Solstice" including a selection of posters on display from the Santa Barbara Solstice Celebration's forty year history, with performers, musicians and fun. Also, experience the Museum's exhibition, Impressions In Ink- Etchings From The Collection, with wine in hand, for it's final First Thursday. Always family-friendly.
5/10/14 - Lutah Film Screening
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Lutah explores the life of a little known architect who left a big legacy. Initially eclipsed by her male contemporaries in the early 20th century, Lutah Marie Riggs navigated her way through the male-centric world of architecture and brought a freshness to the established architectural styles of Southern California. Riggs blazed a trail for women, relying on the courage of her convictions and a hint of eccentricity. She pursued her passions and created a life of independence, an exceptional choice for a woman at that time. With never before seen photos and journal entries from Riggs’ personal collection, and candid interviews, this documentary reveals a side of Lutah Marie Riggs that has gone unnoticed. With stunning tours of some of Santa Barbara’s most iconic structures and a rare glimpse of private homes, Lutah sheds light on a true Santa Barbara treasure. Thursday May 29 at 5:30 p.m. Members $20/ Guests $30 Reception to follow. Reservations are required. Introduction by Melinda Gandara, historian. Generously sponsored by John Woodward and the Lutah Maria Riggs Society. Santa Barbara Historical Museum 136 East De la Guerra, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 SantaBarbaraMuseum.com (805) 966-1601
4/29/14 - Tweed Ride and Bike-In Movie
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CycleMAYnia and the Santa Barbara Historical Museum invites you to the Santa Barbara Tweed Ride, an annual, leisurely ride through downtown on May 8th. Following the ride, join us for a free film under the stars, historic bicycle display, libations and good cheer in the Museum courtyard. Outdoor screening of historic flick, "Triplets of Belleville." Food truck will be onsite!
4/18/14 - Keepers of the Light- History of the Point Conception Lighthouse
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Keepers of the Light- History of the Point Conception Lighthouse Weds, May 21 at 11am Members are complimentary/ $10 Guests. Reservations required. In 1850, Congress approved the building of 8 lighthouses along the Pacific Coast. Point Conception was the most shipwreck-prone place on the coast, called the “Cape Horn of the Pacific” and the “Graveyard of Ships.” Mariners racing to San Francisco and the gold fields of the Sierra Nevada demanded a lighthouse on the Point. Keepers of the Light chronicles its story from its building in the early 1850s until the decommissioning of its gigantic first order Fresnel Lens by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1973. With historical records and interviews, focuses a steady beam of history on the people who made this remote site a bustling village and beacon of safety for mariners approaching the coast.Lecture generously sponsored by John Woodward About the ppeaker - Willard Thompson is an award-winning writer, lecturer and historian. His extensive works have included historical fiction novels and historical journals including a Noticias. Thompson is currently president of Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.
4/16/14 - First Thursday "Lutah"
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First Thursday - “Lutah” May 1, 5-8 p.m. Free Enjoy a sneak peek of Lutah: A Passion For Architecture, A Life In Design, which was launched into the headlines during the Film Festival. The film, presented by the Lutah Maria Riggs Society and directed by award-winning Kum-Kum Bhavnani, explores the life of a little known architect during the early 20th century in Santa Barbara. While you are here visit the Museum’s latest exhibition, Impressions in Ink-Etchings From The Collection, which showcases prints by Santa Barbara artists: Henry Chapman Ford, Carl Oscar Borg, Reginald Vaughan, and Edward Borein. Wine-tasting provided by Lieff Wines. Always family-friendly
2/6/14 - Save the Date! A Legacy of Medical Innovation -- 2/28
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The Women’s Council of Sansum Clinic and the Santa Barbara Historical Museum cordially invite you to a special release of NOTICIAS and presentation by Sansum Clinic Physician, Dr. Erno Daniel and Historian, Erin Graffy on A Legacy of Medical Innovation on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 1:30 PM. With special unveiling of the bust of Dr. William David Sansum by the Burtness Family. RSVP by February 24 to 805-966-1601 or reception@sbhistorical.org
Presented by ... Santa Barbara Historical Museum
Venue ... Santa Barbara Historical Museum
1/30/14 - Tomorow (Friday)! The Story of the Flying A - Film History in Santa Barbara -- 1/31
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Join us for this nostalgic glimpse of Santa Barbara's contribution to the film industry with a presentation by historian Neal Graffy. From early 1911 to the summer of 1912, the American Film Company's western unit consisted of half-a-dozen actors and a handful of cowboys shooting one-reel westerns around southern California. Known as the Flying A, the company settled in Santa Barbara that summer and grew to become a film industry leader. From historic adobes to magnificent mansions, sandy beaches to mountain peaks, the cameras of the Flying A cranked out hundreds of westerns, dramas, and comedies that were seen world-wide. The film pioneers of the Flying A left a legacy which continues to influence the movies and television shows of today.
Presented by ... Santa Barbara Historical Museum
Venue ... Santa Barbara Historical Museum
10/22/13 - Lockwood de Forest Exhibiti opens on Friday, October 25
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Lockwood de Forest, N.A. (1850-1932) trained within the Hudson River School as a painter, and was accepted into the prestigious National Academy in 1898. An avid traveler and accomplished designer, de Forest produced Indian furnishings with Louis Comfort Tiffany in New York, and in 1915 he settled permanently in Santa Barbara. Here the artist returned to landscape painting with an emphasis on color and light, in his own unique and objective artistic vision of the region’s natural surroundings.
We invite you to explore his work from the Museum’s collection, loans, and an outstanding collection of promised gifts that have not been publicly displayed in their entirety.
Exhibit Duration: October 25, 2013 – March 2, 2014

Presented by ... Santa Barbara Historical Museum
Venue ... Santa Barbara Historical Museum
4/1/13 - April 4th - Opening Celebration for De la Tierra - Art of the Adobe
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The exhibit features works from the museum's collection by renowned artists such as Alexander Harmer, Ludmilla Welch, A.M. Podchernikoff, Charles Rollo Peters, and Henry Chapman Ford. The artwork is displayed alongside historic photographs by J. Walter Collinge, N.H. Reed, and others, to illuminate adobe structures from the area in a unique and century-old artist's perspective.
Unlike the standardized Spanish Colonial and Mediterranean look of modern Santa Barbara, our downtown architecture at the turn of the 20th century was an eclectic mix of Victorian, East Coast American, rural Western, and traditional Mexican adobe structures. During that time, the faithful adobe-style of construction fell out of popular favor, and as the century progressed, the majority of our adobes became neglected and were demolished or destroyed by the elements. This exhibit will examine the rustic beauty and time-worn romance of our historic adobes - some of which are preserved today, along with others that have vanished forever .
3/23/12 - The Flying A: Silent Film in Santa Barbara -- through March 31
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The Flying A: Silent Film In Santa Barbara From 1910 to 1912, the American Film Company’s western unit consisted of half-a-dozen actors and a handful of cowboys shooting one-reel westerns around southern California. Known as the Flying A, by 1915 they had built the nation's largest studio in Santa Barbara with some of the industry's top directors, actors, and writers. From historic adobes to magnificent mansions, sandy beaches to mountain peaks, the cameras of the Flying A cranked out hundreds of westerns, dramas, and comedies. The film pioneers of the Flying A left a legacy that continues to influence the movies and television shows of today.
The exhibition features original Flying A artifacts, documents, photographs and a selection of original Flying A silent films (which will play on our Sala Gallery Wall Theatre). This groundbreaking exhibit, on view from January 26 through August 19, 2012, will run through the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and mark the centennial anniversary of the Flying A’s arrival in Santa Barbara. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday from noon to 5:00 pm. Docent led tours are offered on Saturdays & Sundays at 2:00 pm.
Venue: Santa Barbara Historical Museum.  Website
1/19/12 - New Exhibition: The Flying A: Silent Film in Santa Barbara -- Opens January 25th
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The Flying A will focus on the studio’s influential and prolific operation in Santa Barbara between 1911 and 1921, when nearly one thousand silent films were made by the company before it was disbanded.
The exhibition will feature original Flying A artifacts, documents, photographs and a selection of original Flying A silent films (which will play on our Sala Gallery Wall Theatre). This groundbreaking exhibit, on view from January 25 through August 19, 2012, will run through two very special occasions: the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and marking the centennial anniversary of the Flying A’s incorporation in Santa Barbara.  Email   Website
2/22/11 - Missions of Will Sparks -- February 25 – June 26 -- Santa Barbara Historical Society
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A selection of works by internationally renowned “painter of the missions” Will Sparks (1862-1937) will be on full view during a special exhibition at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum beginning February 25. Missions of Will Sparks will include the complete Alma de Bretteville Spreckels collection of Sparks’ final mission suite with paintings of California, the Southwest and Mexico. Painter, etcher, and muralist, Sparks was known for his mission and nocturnal adobe scenes.   Email   Website
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