Museum of Natural History to Unveil Transformed Halls and Gallery on June 2

Museum of Natural History to Unveil Transformed Halls and Gallery on June 2 title=
Museum of Natural History to Unveil Transformed Halls and Gallery on June 2
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Source: Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Following ten months of transformation supported by the Museum’s $20 million Centennial Campaign, the first of two “Grand Reopenings” will occur on Saturday, June 2, when the beloved Mammal Hall, Bird Hall, and Bird Habitat Hall will reopen to the public.

Historic specimens are now looking livelier than ever after being refreshed by specialists, who also added new taxidermy, new foliage, and fun touchable interactive exhibits. The Museum has also added new dioramas that squarely engage visitors in a conversation about the closeness of nature and our place in it. Diorama experts, taxidermists, fabricators, painters, and Hollywood prop-makers all lent their artistry to the cause, and as a result, the new incarnations of these exhibits still honor their heritage while better serving future visitors.

Cartwright Hall will reopen as the Santa Barbara Gallery, which focuses on how geography and climate come together to create the unique ecosystems of the Santa Barbara region. These conditions give rise to extraordinary biodiversity, and this space highlights the fascinating species interactions that result. As with the dioramas in the revitalized Mammal Hall, the Santa Barbara Gallery explores the dynamics of natural systems in our region and how our actions impact those systems. The Gallery leaves visitors with a roadmap to begin their own exploration beyond the Museum’s walls. In effect, this new Gallery serves as a visitor’s field guide to the Santa Barbara region.

Exhibits in all the updated halls are now better equipped to address the important environmental issues on the minds of Museum visitors. Technology has also been strategically implemented in ways that allow for greater flexibility in disseminating new media to keep pace with science. The Museum has continued to expand its corps of volunteer docents, and this summer, these docents will be available at various times in the galleries to be naturalist guides for visitors.

Outside, the Museum has improved access by building a pedestrian-safe, ADA and stroller-compliant arrival corridor. The corridor guides visitors from the parking lot to the historic front entry via the Blue Whale courtyard and a walkway surrounded by geological and paleontological wonders. On the other side of the entrance, a new pedestrian path parallel to the historic Hazard Estate wall along Puesta del Sol provides safe access between the Museum and Mission Canyon Road, in homage to the original 1922 design.

Museum President & CEO Luke Swetland shares, “Everything we have done in the Centennial Project is meant to revitalize the Museum, to honor the past and make it new. I think when folks see their ‘new’ Museum, they will be quite pleased that we preserved the very best of our proud legacy but have led it into a brighter future.”

The Museum’s second “Grand Reopening” will occur in August when the redesigned Backyard and Club House reopen. The signature piece of the Centennial Project will be the Museum’s new Pavilion that will be home to butterflies every summer, and available for many other uses during the rest of the year. If the myriad pieces and permits align, the Museum intends to have its very popular Butterflies Alive! experience later this summer, even if for only a few weeks. 

Open daily from 10:00 AM-5:00 PM, the Museum welcomes visitors to explore these newly transformed spaces along with its summer exhibition of 50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic, open now through September 3, 2018. This exhibition is organized and traveled by National Geographic Society.

Learn more here.

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Luvaduck May 27, 2018 12:09 PM
Museum of Natural History to Unveil Transformed Halls and Gallery on June 2

The reproduction skull in the anthropology/paleology/geology hall is a reproduction of the one human remain found in the Tar Pit near the LA art museum and is exact size, not a "shrunken head". The skull would have to be removed to "shrink" an actual head of any animal with a bony skull.

Artemisia May 27, 2018 06:56 PM
Museum of Natural History to Unveil Transformed Halls and Gallery on June 2

Luvaduck, the question was about the shrunken heads that used to be in an exhibit of Jivaro artifacts in Fleischmann Auditorium . That exhibit was removed many years ago when the Auditorium was remodeled to make the second entrance/exit near the Big Iron Gates. All those artifacts are still in the Anthropology collection, housed in the Collections & Research Center that most people don't realize is the real heart of the Museum.

a-1591016668 May 26, 2018 01:59 PM
Museum of Natural History to Unveil Transformed Halls and Gallery on June 2

As kids we used to go to press the rattlesnake button and to see the mummified Chumash woman. PC-ness being what it is, the mummy woman has long since been taken off exhibit. Want to get kids REALLY interested in local history? Bring out the mummies and shrunken heads. @Previous commenter: I remember seeing multiple shrunken heads. My favorite thing was the wooden "sunglasses" there, once owned by some Arctic native.

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