Santa Barbara Historical Museum, Santa Barbara

4.5
History Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
The Santa Barbara Historical Museum is located in Santa Barbara, California, U.S.. It features relics from Chumash, Spanish, Mexican, Yankee, and Chinese cultures, including artifacts, photographs, furnishings and textiles, dating as far back as the 15th century.
The Museum is located at 136 East De la Guerra in the heart of historic downtown Santa Barbara. The facility was built in 1965 by the Santa Barbara Historical Society.

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Santa Barbara Historical Museum reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
61 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • A nice museum that gives you an excellent overview of the history of Santa Barbara. If you have enough time, it's well worth visiting this place.  more »
  • Gave me a good idea of the brief history of this beautiful city. Good signage and clearly organized.  more »
  • Not to be missed. Everything about Santa Barbara in the early days, including period pieces, dresses from the 19th century to an exhibit of art and photos by a cowboy and artist from the 20th...  more »
Google
  • Nice museum, informative exhibits and beautiful space, but my low rating is for one reason only, the nearly complete absence of information and exhibits of the original people of the Santa Barbara region, who would become known as the Chumash. On my visit there were only two small exhibits of the Chumash, showing a few baskets and stone tools. These were people who were here thousands of years before the Spanish arrived (8,000+ years ago, it’s estimated), developing one of the most populated regions of native people in what is now North America. They developed advanced societies, trade, commerce and governance. They were master boat-builders, inhabiting the Channel Islands, and had an understanding of the natural environment, plant and wildlife far advanced from the Spanish colonialists. Unfortunately, the Spanish Imperialists saw them as primitive savages, vilifying their customs, belief systems and culture. Many of the Spanish sincerely believed theirs was good intent, though many were outright opportunists. They enslaved many native people, justifying it in order to “save” them, and brought diseases that killed over 90% of the native people. None of this is conveyed in the museum that, based on it’s name, exists to tell the history of Santa Barbara. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, just a few miles away, does a far better job of providing a truer depiction of the role the original people here played in Santa Barbara’s history. There are countless books they do so as well (Thrown Among Strangers by Doug Monroy is highly recommended). I understand that many in Santa Barbara have historically chosen to tell only the portion of its history from a Spanish perspective, but it’s time a truer history be told.
  • Found a Free parking spot out front. During Old Spanish Days entry is free! A beautiful front building, walk through to the old Adobe structure. The staff very friendly 😊
  • Such a cool little museum. I was by myself the whole time. It’s not very big but it’s worth it. If you’re a student, it’s free. There’s parking in the back and you walk through a pretty courtyard to get to the front door. Great pictures that explain the history of Santa Barbara. Loved it!
  • The museum is small but packed with great exhibits and photography. I was especially impressed with the way they cleaned up photos from the late 19th century. The details of those photos was astounding!
  • This place was so cool the exhibits that were presented were interesting and very educational. The place out side is just a nice view.

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