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Santa Barbara Historical Museum


Building a future worth remembering

One of the cultural gems of our city, a collection of more than 80,000 irreplaceable objects and artifacts of significance relating to Santa Barbara’s extraordinary past. There is no better resource for discovery of local history than this beautiful museum. 

Constructed in 1965, the Museum has been the primary repository of Santa Barbara’s collective cultural heritage and ethnic diversity for over four decades. A tour of the Museum enables visitors to see a wide array of unique paintings, objects, photographs, furnishings and textiles dating from the 15th century. Santa Barbara’s rich past is represented with artifacts from Chumash, Spanish, Mexican, “Yankee” and Chinese cultures. 

Our visitors love the special seasonal exhibitions in the rotating Sala gallery.  


Santa Barbara Historical Museum is headquartered in a 25,000 square-foot adobe building in the historic district of downtown Santa Barbara. 

136 East De la Guerra
Santa Barbara, California
(805) 681-7216 

Open Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sunday 12-5:00 p.m., closed Mondays.  Guided Tours are offered by appointment.

The Gledhill Library contains rare literary and visual documents, including 80,000 historic photographs. 

Open Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00pm and the first Saturday of each month, 10:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.


Also preserved by Santa Barbara Historical Museum:

Covarrubias Adobe (1817): One of the oldest buildings in Santa Barbara the adobe, which serves as the Museum’s education center, is adjacent to the downtown museum. California State Landmark and Santa Barbara Landmark 

Historic Adobe (1836): Adobe adjacent to the downtown museum. Santa Barbara Landmark

Trussell-Winchester Adobe (1854): California State Landmark and Santa Barbara Landmark

Hon. Charles Fernald Mansion (1865): A fourteen- room Queen Anne Victorian-style home of one of the city’s most prominent historical figures. Santa Barbara Landmark

Our Mission

To foster a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the history of the city and county of Santa Barbara.

We are 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.  The Museum is a community resource and a welcoming, accessible center for community engagement.

We need our history today more than ever, not to quote dates and events, but to guide and inspire us, to encourage us to persevere, to teach us hope and optimism that we have within us the power to make tomorrow better for everyone.

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