Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Breaking Ground on Centennial Campaign Renovations

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Breaking Ground on Centennial Campaign Renovations
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After months of planning and designing, it’s time to start digging in.

As the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History enters its second century of service to the community, it has a number of exciting renovations lined up as part of Phase I of their Centennial Campaign Project. These include improvements to the Museum’s popular Backyard and Nature Clubhouse, enhancement of some of their most cherished exhibits including the Cartwright, Mammal, and Bird Halls, and a complete transformation of their Butterfly Pavilion. Construction is slated to begin in early September and run through June 2018.

Highlights of the new exhibits include:

A permanent Butterfly Pavilion will provide a year-round space for unique programs, including Butterflies Alive!, and a world of outdoor experiences.

The new Santa Barbara Gallery will give visitors an in-depth look at the science and nature that makes the Central Coast such a vibrant region.

Veteran and novice birders alike will love the improvements made to the Bird Habitat Hall, a showcase of the diverse world of birds on the Central Coast, featuring Ray Strong’s beautiful dioramas.

The updated Mammal Hall will provide a clear and inspiring interpretation of the modern relationship between people and the species represented in the restored and upgraded dioramas.

In addition to the new and improved exhibits, there will also be major campus-wide improvements, including:

Upgrades to landscaping and paths to create a more seamless, integrated experience for visitors, including ADA and stroller-compliant access for Museum visitors.

Enhancements to the Museum Backyard and Nature Clubhouse that will make this outdoor educational and exploration space even more engaging.

An attractive, pedestrian-safe Arrival Corridor, making it easier for guests to safely walk from the parking lot to the Museum entrance.

Puesta del Sol Esplanade, a new pedestrian path along the historic stegosaurus wall, will provide safe access to Mission Canyon Road, featuring the original 1922 design.

The Museum will remain open during all phases of construction, and special areas are being created to ensure that it remains a vibrant destination for both local and out-of-town visitors of all ages. During the renovations to the Backyard and Nature Clubhouse, a new outdoor nature engagement area called BaseCamp will be opening on the south side of Mission Creek, and will be a must-visit area for visitors.

“We couldn’t be more excited about these improvements,” said Luke Swetland, President & CEO of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. “These renovations will provide a more dynamic, memorable experience for our guests, and will help further educate the community about the relationship between humans and the natural environment,” said Swetland.

“The public portion of our capital campaign for the renovation of the Museum will kick off at the September 8th groundbreaking, so there is still time to get involved and help support this exciting and unique project,” said Swetland. “Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we have reached 84% of our $20 million campaign goal to date. There are a number of ways for local community members and businesses to get involved and push this project across the finish line, including naming opportunities for many of our new exhibits and visitor areas.”

If you would like to be a part of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History’s renovation efforts, or are interested in following along with the progress, please visit or call the Museum’s Development office at (805) 682-4711 x 110.

About the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History:

Founded in 1916, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History strives to instill a passion for learning and discovery among its patrons. The museum aims to build relationships with the Santa Barbara community as well as encourage members and all visitors to seek a better understanding of the world around them. For more information, call (805) 682-4711 ext. 110 or visit

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