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Museums Walk (Self Guided), Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara has a variety of interesting museums, most of them situated in the downtown area of the city and in the harbor, the most important of which is Santa Barbara's Old Mission and Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Discover the astonishing Spanish heritage of America and the beauty and richness of local nature through this Museums self-guided walking tour.
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Museums Walk Map

Guide Name: Museums Walk
Guide Location: USA » Santa Barbara (See other walking tours in Santa Barbara)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.1 Km or 4.4 Miles
Author: HollyZ
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
  • Ty Warner Sea Center
  • Casa de La Guerra
  • Santa Barbara Historical Museum
  • Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art
  • Santa Barbara Mission Museum
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

1) Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (must see)

The Maritime Museum is located in Santa Barbara's harbor and contains interesting educational exhibitions laid out on nearly 8,000 square feet of museum space. It is a vital part of the community, providing both temporary and permanent exhibits. Exhibits include Survival at Sea, a sport fishing exhibit and some other entertainment for children.

There is a large variety of educational tours both for children and adults in order to familiarize the public with the maritime environment. Adult education covers topics such as celestial navigation, cruising skills for the Channel Islands, coastal navigation, and how to buy the best boat.
Ty Warner Sea Center

2) Ty Warner Sea Center (must see)

In the ‘’Living Beach’’ exhibit, visitors find an actual tide pool with waves rushing through it every 60 seconds. In the ‘’BioLab’’, visitors explore the life cycle of marine creatures, from eggs to larvae to juveniles and adults, as well as eggs and babies of sharks. The ‘’Wet Deck’’ opens to visitors the world of oceanography. A ‘’Moon Pool’’ (an open well in the floor allowing access to the water below) brings up samples of seawater, ocean floor sediment, and plankton. The ‘’Channel Theater’’ shows a video introducing the environs of the Santa Barbara Channel and the importance of this body of water for human communities. In the ‘’Submerged Science Lab’’, visitors further examine samples of seawater they have brought up from the ‘’Wet Deck’’ below and check it for its “vital signs.”
Sight description based on wikipedia
Casa de La Guerra

3) Casa de La Guerra (must see)

The Casa de la Guerra was the residence of the fifth commandant of the Presidio de Santa Barbara, José de la Guerra y Noriega from 1828 until his death in 1858. The site is currently owned and operated by the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation as a historic house museum.

The time when José lived in the casa it was known to locals as the casa grande (big house), as the thirteen room structure dwarfed the surrounding one room adobes. In the casa grande period, José added the altito structure. The altito structure no longer stands, but acted as José's office and was where he stored his money.

The most significant changes in this time were the removal of the adobe columns in favor of wooden columns and the addition of wooden siding to the house.

The Casa is a Santa Barbara City Landmark, a California Historical Landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (as a part of a composite object El Paseo and Casa de la Guerra).

The Casa de la Guerra interior is open to visitors Saturdays and Sundays, although the exterior may be explored any time.

Operating hours: Saturday – Sunday: 12 pm – 4 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Santa Barbara Historical Museum

4) Santa Barbara Historical Museum

The Santa Barbara Historical Museum is located in Santa Barbara. It features relics from Chumash, Spanish, Mexican, Yankee, and Chinese cultures, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum boasts artifacts, photographs, furnishings and textiles, dating as far back as the 15th century.

In October 1932 a voluntary association was formed consisting of representatives from a number of local organizations. This new association was the Santa Barbara Historical Society. Soon after its founding, the Society was offered the “tower” room in the Santa Barbara County Courthouse as an exhibition space. The Society’s growth necessitated a larger space than the courthouse tower room. Katherine Bagg Hastings offered her home and arranged to transfer ownership of the house to the Society upon her death. The Society would remain housed in the Old Mission for the next eleven years. In 1959 the Society acquired the Judge Charles Fernald Mansion. After a massive restoration project, Fernald House opened to the public as an historic home museum in 1962.

Operation hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm; Sunday: 12 – 5 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum

5) Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum

The Karpeles Manuscript Library is the world’s largest private collection of original manuscripts and documents.

The library was founded in 1983 by California real estate magnates, David and Marsha Karpeles, with the goal of stimulating interest in learning, especially in children. All of the Karpeles Manuscript Library services are free.

To make the documents more accessible, there are ten Karpeles museums across the US. Items are rotated between museums quarterly and each of the museums present a daily general exhibit and one or more special scheduled exhibits throughout the year. In addition, Karpeles is aggressively expanding the content of its website. Each of the libraries is located in an historic building.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Santa Barbara Museum of Art

6) Santa Barbara Museum of Art (must see)

It was founded in 1941 and currently ranks amongst the top 10 regional art museums in the United States. It is home to both permanent and special collections, the former of which includes Asian, American, and European art that spans 4,000 years from ancient to modern. The permanent collection also includes pre-Columbian sculpture, African sculpture, musical instruments, the Alice Schott Doll Collection, which includes dolls from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, American and European paintings, and French Impressionists. The American art collection contains early portraits as well as 19th- and 20th century still lifes, landscapes and sculptures. The Asian art collection contains art from China, Japan, Tibet, India and South-east Asia.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Santa Barbara Mission Museum

7) Santa Barbara Mission Museum (must see)

Mission Santa Barbara, also known as Santa Barbara Mission, is a Spanish Franciscan mission near present day Santa Barbara, California. It was founded December 4, 1786, the feast day of Saint Barbara, for the religious conversion of the indigenous local Chumash—Barbareño tribe of Native American people. The Mission grounds occupy a rise between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, and were consecrated by Father Fermín Lasuén, who had taken over the presidency of the California mission chain upon the death of Father Presidénte Junípero Serra. Mission Santa Barbara is the only mission to remain under the leadership of the Franciscan Friars since the day of its founding.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

8) Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (must see)

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is the oldest museum in Santa Barbara, founded in 1916.

Set in a traditional southern California environment, the museum campus occupies 12 acres (4.9 ha) of oak woodland along Mission Creek. It is housed in a mission-style, Spanish Mediterranean complex of buildings. The museum has 5,700 members and more than 150,000 people visit the Museum each year.

The early roots of the Museum date back to the 1890s, when a group of professional and amateur scientists started the Santa Barbara Natural History Society and an accompanying museum at 1226 State Street.

The museum is renowned for fine dioramas of birds, mammals, and southern California habitats. It has collections of over 3 million specimens and an active research program with a focus on marine biology, terrestrial vertebrates, insects, anthropology, geological mapping, and natural history art.

Operating hours: Sunday - Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Santa Barbara, California

Create Your Own Walk in Santa Barbara

Create Your Own Walk in Santa Barbara

Creating your own self-guided walk in Santa Barbara is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Santa Barbara Downtown Walk

Santa Barbara Downtown Walk

Santa Barbara is a beautiful city in California. Popular as a tourist resort, the city has everything you need to enjoy a fabulous holiday – sunny beach, interesting museums, art galleries, numerous lovely shops and an impressive historic architecture. This walking tour will guide you to Santa Barbara’s most popular tourist attractions.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Santa Barbara Art Galleries

Santa Barbara Art Galleries

Santa Barbara is a poplar tourist destination in California. This lively city has a number of art galleries hosting exciting art collections. Most of the galleries highlight the visual creativity of local artists. The following walking tour will help you discover the most visited art galleries in Santa Barbara.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.9 Km or 0.6 Miles
Santa Barbara Shopping Tour

Santa Barbara Shopping Tour

Santa Barbara has plenty of world class retail shops and diverse local crafts shops for pleasing the most meticulous consumers. Wonderful outdoor paseos, shadowed plazas and long-brick sidewalks make shopping in Santa Barbara the most enjoyable way to spend your free time. Take this tour to discover the best venues for shopping in Santa Barbara.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Santa Barbara Introduction Walk

Santa Barbara Introduction Walk

Nowadays widely regarded as a posh location favored by the rich and famous, Santa Barbara is a beautiful coastal town and a popular weekend spot in Southern California. Other than its beaches and warm climate, the city is also famous for its red-tile roofed stucco architecture, reflecting Spanish colonial heritage, and a plethora of cultural attractions. Follow this orientation walk and discover...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles