Eighteen Santa Barbara County Museums Provide Access for Low-Income Families

Eighteen Santa Barbara County Museums Provide Access for Low-Income Families title=
Animatronic T-rex on exhibit at SB Museum of Natural History (Photo: SBMNH)
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Source: Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Eighteen museums across Santa Barbara County have joined Museums for All, a signature access program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), administered by the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), to encourage people of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build lifelong museum-going habits.

The program supports those receiving food assistance (CalFresh/SNAP) benefits by offering admission to these 18 Santa Barbara County museums for a minimal fee of $0-3 per person, up to four people, with the presentation of a CalFresh (SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer – EBT) card. Similar free and reduced admission is available to eligible members of the public at more than 700 museums across the country. Museums for All is part of these Santa Barbara County museums’ broad commitment to seek, include, and welcome all audiences. 

Participating Santa Barbara County museums: 

• Art, Design & Architecture Museum, UC Santa Barbara

• Casa del Herrero

• Dunes Center            

• Elverhoj Museum

• Goleta Valley Historical Society

• Lompoc Museum

• Ganna Walska Lotusland

• MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation

• Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara

• Museum of Sensory & Movement Experiences

• Old Mission Santa Barbara

• Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

• Santa Barbara Historical Museum

• Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

• Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History & Sea Center

• Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation 

• Santa Barbara Zoo

• Wildling Museum of Art & Nature


Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History President & CEO Luke J. Swetland believes, “This collaboration activates the transformative power of the county’s museums and cultural institutions to sustain our residents’ most important human impulses and needs – to open our eyes, to delight our senses, to feed our minds, and to raise up our spirits. For those among us who are most economically challenged, these needs are acute and urgent, though too often ignored or sidelined. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is proud and humble to be a part of this effort to raise all of us up together.”

Robin Gose, president and CEO of MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation sees the program as a key part of museums’ accessibility and inclusion efforts. “We all want our museums and institutions to be inclusive and to be places where all in our community feel welcome. We know there are certain people who, for a variety of reasons, don’t choose to visit museums. This county-wide embrace of the Museums for All program is an important step in removing a barrier to attendance. We hope that by offering free or reduced admission, we are eliminating financial reasons for not visiting. For MOXI, it is especially important to offer equitable access to families with children because every child deserves the same opportunities to learn and thrive by having fun learning experiences outside the home or classroom,” said Gose.

Stacey Otte-Demangate, Executive Director of Wildling Museum of Art & Nature added, “We are proud to join the other museums in our county to ensure that there is no barrier for our community to enjoy the diverse programs and exhibitions we each offer.” 

Since the program’s inception in 2014, Museums for All has helped expand access to museums by facilitating more than 3,000,000 visits across the country and raised public awareness about how museums in the U.S. are reaching their entire communities. More than 700 institutions participate in the initiative, including art museums, children’s museums, science centers, botanical gardens, zoos, history museums, and more. Participating museums are located nationwide, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

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Byzantium Jul 18, 2021 06:29 PM
Eighteen Santa Barbara County Museums Provide Access for Low-Income Families

Start by assuming this is a donor-directed gift; not a rate payer subsidy. Seeing kids enjoy the zoo as part of special parent-family time is a joy for everyone. Well worth making donations specifically for this program that will allow this to continue with no extra cost to those paying full price tickets. They deserve special recognition too.

ParvoPup Jul 18, 2021 06:25 PM
Eighteen Santa Barbara County Museums Provide Access for Low-Income Families

I would want to see the attendance records showing exactly how many of the poor and down-trodden actually bothered to take advantage of this offer.

The cynic in me wants to think that this declaration has more to do with making the entity feel good about itself while the truth may be that but a single target family actually showed up.

Byzantium Jul 19, 2021 09:43 AM
Eighteen Santa Barbara County Museums Provide Access for Low-Income Families

Scandinavian countries are not "welfare states". They laugh when they get compared to the US welfare system. US welfare runs on reallocation of OPM; Scandinavian social services run on shared higher tax dollars for those paying into the system. Plus huge revenues from North Sea oil extraction in the case of Norway.

MountainMan4865 Jul 18, 2021 10:16 PM
Eighteen Santa Barbara County Museums Provide Access for Low-Income Families

On one hand, I see your point. But also as a single parent on a limited income, the museums were a luxury. I don't think they should be a luxury. We went to the Natural History Museum and the Art Museum on a regular basis, that we could afford. We didn't go out to eat, didn't go to Disneyland, because we couldn't afford all, and we chose our priorities. I don't think museums should be a luxury. I don't think learning about local history is a luxury. Theme parks, yep, but not history and art. You shouldn't have to 'afford' that.

CoastWatch Jul 18, 2021 07:05 PM
Eighteen Santa Barbara County Museums Provide Access for Low-Income Families

Really...? Selfish...? I work and pay taxes, property taxes, vehicle registration, vehicle(s) insurance, health insurance, pay for my families own groceries, pay for my kids college education... I take personal responsibility and your going to call me "selfish"? Not the people who are on "the social welfare" / hand out programs? My single parent WORKING Mom NEVER thought of taking social welfare, EVER. It's called Pride and taking personal responsibility. Apparently, our society embraces handouts and has even gone to food debt cards instead of food stamps as you wouldn't want to embarrass anyone.... Our State IS becoming a social welfare State and the government WANTS it that way... Disgusting.

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