Santa Barbara Museums
(Santa Barbara, California - CA, USA)
Despite its small size, Santa Barbara has a wide selection of unique and worldly museums. Focusing on natural, cultural, historical and artistic displays, the variety within these cultural attractions makes for a comprehensive and inspirational experience.
From a stone copy of the original Declaration of Independence to Will Rogers's saddle, a 72-foot / 22-meter long whale skeleton, architectural examples of Spanish-Mexican influence and native Chumash artifacts, exhibits at the museums in Santa Barbara are priceless and entertaining for all ages and interests.
The Maritime Museum
Address: 113 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, California CA, 93109, USA
Tel: +1 805 962 8404
Located along the waterfront, the Maritime Museum celebrates local history and Santa Barbara's maritime influence. Constructed by the Federal Government's Works Project Administration during the 1930s and 1940s, the building was once the Old Naval Reserve Center and was used as a training facility up until 1995. On permanent display are artifacts detailing the impact of the ocean on local residents, as well as traveling exhibits and the museum sometimes hosts lecture series.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 18:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for children, military, students and seniors; children under one year and military members in uniform free
Casa de La Guerra
Address: 15 East De la Guerra Street, Santa Barbara, California CA, 93101, USA
Tel: +1 805 966 6961
A remarkable example of Santa Barbara's Spanish-Mexican heritage, Casa de la Guerra was built between 1819 and 1827. Founded by one of the city's most influential residents, whose descendants remain prominent throughout the area, Casa de La Guerra is now designated as a California Landmark. The structure was originally used as a personal residence and to house government emissaries as well as for fiestas and wedding celebrations. Tours that take visitors through the restored building which displays many original furnishings are available.
Open hours: Thursday to Sunday - 12:00 to 16:00
Admission: free, donations welcome
Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum
Address: 21 West Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara, California CA, 93101, USA
Tel: +1 805 962 5322
As the world's largest private collection of original manuscripts and documents, Karpeles Library is an inspiring educational destination in Santa Barbara. On permanent display is an original stone copy of the Declaration of Independence, a reproduction of the map used by Columbus, handwritten scores by leading composers, Amelia Earhart's 'certificate of landing' celebrating her solo Atlantic flight and the computer guidance system used during the first flight to the moon. The library also hosts weekly lecture series and rotating exhibits by local artists and photographers.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 16:00
Santa Barbara Carriage and Western Arts Museums
Address: 129 Castillo Street, Santa Barbara, California CA, 93101, USA
Tel: +1 805 962 2353
Located in Pershing Park adjacent to Santa Barbara's waterfront, this is the country's largest collection of horse drawn transports. Highlights here range from sparkling hearses to stagecoaches, police buggies, circus vehicles, mud wagons and army wagons. Also on display at the Santa Barbara Carriage and Western Arts Museums are more than 50 saddles once used by famous historical characters such as Cisco Kid, Will Rogers and Clark Gable. A relatively unknown attraction, this dynamic display is definitely worth a visit and in August the museum lends many of its vehicles to the Old Spanish Days Fiesta Parade.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 15:00, Sunday - 14:00 to 16:00
Santa Barbara Historical Society Museum
Address: 136 East de la Guerra Street, Santa Barbara, California CA, 93101, USA
Tel: +1 805 966 1601
The Historical Society Museum presents permanent and traveling exhibits of Santa Barbara's vibrant history, ranging from Chumash Indian artifacts to modern artworks, historic photographs, books, manuscripts and maps. Tours of two historic homes, the Fernald Mansion and Trussell-Winchester Adobe, are available.
Open hours: Tuesday to Saturday - 10:00 to 17:00, Sunday - 12:00 to 17:00
Admission: free, suggested donations; charge for tours of historic homes, discounts available for children
The Museum of Natural History
Address: 2559 Puesta del Sol Road, Santa Barbara, California CA, 93105, USA
Tel: +1 805 682 4711
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History features the largest collection of Chumash Indian artifacts outside of the Smithsonian in the world and an impressive assortment of local flora and fauna. Also housing a planetarium, space lab, unique gem and mineral display, gigantic blue whale skeleton and stuffed bird specimens, the museum is a great destination for families and anyone interested in native culture and local wildlife. Surrounding Santa Barbara's Museum of Natural History is a series of nature trails, which wind through the beautifully forested grounds.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for children, youth and seniors; children under two years free; free every third Sunday of the month
Reagan Ranch Center Exhibit Gallery
Address: 217 State Street, Santa Barbara, California CA, 93101, USA
Tel: +1 805 957 1980
Opened since 2006, the former home of one-time American President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy is now owned by the Young America's Foundation. With a view to educating people about conservative ideas the Exhibit Galleries features memorabilia from Regan's presidential years including letters, interviews, speeches and the focal interactive timeline.
Open hours: June to August, Monday to Thursday - 11:00 to 16:00; September to May, Tuesday and Thursday - 11:00 to 16:00, group tours by appointment