Museum of Art
The Santa Barbara Museum of Art opened in 1941 and holds 27,000 works of art from the past 5,000 years. These works of art include masterpieces of French Impressionism and displayed at the entrance is the Portrait of Mexico Today, 1932- the only intact mural in the United States. The museum offers free education programs for the Santa Barbara School District students in grades K-12 as well as various after school activities.
In 1932, a society formed to foster research and study the history of the Santa Barbara County. Finally in 1965, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum was built as a permanent home for the Santa Barbara Historical Society. The Gledhill Library holds collections of books, pamphlets, photographs, newspaper files, and maps covering the history of Santa Barbara County. The museum also offers education programs and may be rented out for weddings or other special occasions.
A relatively new museum, opened in July 2000, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum overlooks the harbor and the kid-friendly atmosphere provides great educational exhibits. The museum also offers sea food tastings, book club nights, surfing lectures, art exhibits, and volunteer opportunities. Take a visit to the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum or become a member to make the most out of living so close to diverse marine life.
Museum of Natural History
Located in Mission Canyon, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History was founded in 1916 and contains more than 3.5 million artifacts and specimens in the field of archaeology, biology, geology, and anthropology. The museum now has a Sea Center located on Stearns Wharf to focus specifically on the ocean and coastal environments. The museum provides five outdoor exhibits including a Blue Whale skeleton and a Butterfly Pavilion, and offers various educational programs for students of all ages.
Presidio State Historic Park
Founded in 1782, The Santa Barbara Royal Presidio is an old Spanish colonial fort as well as Santa Barbara’s birthplace. The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation is a non-profit organization, established in 1963 to reconstruct and preserve El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park. Art exhibits, lectures, performances, activities, and educational programs are all offered at this historic site, located in Downtown Santa Barbara.