Museums Walking Tour, Santa Barbara

Museums Walking Tour (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 Spanish heritage of America and the beauty and richness of local nature through this Museums self-guided walking tour.
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Museums Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Museums Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Santa Barbara (See other walking tours in Santa Barbara)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Author: HollyZ
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Ty Warner Sea Center
  • Casa de La Guerra
  • Santa Barbara Historical Museum
  • Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Ty Warner Sea Center

1) Ty Warner Sea Center

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

2) Casa de La Guerra

Casa de La Guerra dates back to a time between 1818 and 1828 when José de la Guerra was the Presidio commander. The de la Guerra family lived in this home until 1943. The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation did renovations during the 1990s that restored this home to its original state as an adobe house.

Exhibits that visitors can see include exciting information about the house's architectural history, as well as the de la Guerra family. There are two rooms that host regular changing exhibits. Most of these exhibits are about California's Hispanic heritage and other fascinating aspects of local history.

This house also has a gift shop that visitors will enjoy stopping by in their travels. Some of the goodies that await include books about the local history, puzzles and games, and local food items such as chocolate, honey, and olive oil.

Operating hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 12:00 – 16:00
Santa Barbara Historical Museum

3) 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

4) 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

5) Santa Barbara Museum of Art (must see)

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is in a building that served as the Santa Barbara Post Office between 1914 and 1932. David Adler, a Chicago architect, simplified the facade that helped make the building more suitable as a museum. Adler was also responsible for the creation of the gallery areas, which guests have enjoyed since 1941.

Gallery additions in 1942, 1963, 985, and 1988 increased the numbers of works for the public to savor. The museum offers 60,000 square feet of exhibition and activity space in a well-lit setting. A children's gallery includes exhibits with interactive programming.

Visitors can visit the Museum Shop for gifts and the cafe for quick snacks. The auditorium has 154 seats and is perfect for special events. There is also a library with 50,000 books in its collection, as well as 55,000 slides.

The permanent collections span all forms of art, from prints and paintings to textiles, ceramics, and furniture. Some of the most famous artists featured include Ansel Adams, Henri Rosseau, Claude Monet, Auguste Rodin, and artists from the Santa Barbara Collections.

Collections on display at this museum include antiquities from the Greek and Roman Empires and the Mediterranean, as well as the ancient people of North and South America. Asian art on display in this museum includes sculptures and tapestries from China, Japan, Korea, and the Himalayan region.

The museum also has a collection of Latin American art, spanning 1930 to 1990. These collections offer a diverse look into how different cultures have shaped the artistic world.

Why You Should Visit

Check out a diverse collection of art from all eras, including ancient and modern times.
Enjoy the evolution of this building from a post office to its current museum status.


Look for the free hands-on workshops regularly offered.

Walking Tours in Santa Barbara, California

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