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I wanted to share a "back story" with you about our current and marvelous transformation of the Museum of Natural History. As you know, in September 2017 we started construction on our Centennial Project to upgrade many areas of our Mission Creek campus. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, this multi-million dollar effort will result in a suite of refreshed exhibits, a new permanent Butterfly Pavilion, an enhanced arrival plaza, accessibility improvements to the Museum Backyard and Nature Clubhouse, and much more. The work is scheduled to be completed and areas will reopen throughout Summer 2018.

However, to begin a project of this magnitude one needs to know exactly where to begin! So seven years ago, we turned to Steve Davis of Davis Land Surveying to provide a Record of Survey for the campus. This record would be the official topographic and boundary survey which would serve as the foundation for all of the Master Planning and subsequent design and construction documents for the Centennial Project.

As you can imagine, with our 101-year history, there was a lot of work to be done! But Steve took the job to heart. He had to survey the entire campus, a significant amount of work in and of itself. But he and his staff also took on a daunting amount of archival forensics as he researched the many documents, deeds, records of easements, and the additions of land and buildings that came as the Museum grew from the original 1.6 acres donated by Caroline Hazard in memory of her brother Rowland Gibson Hazard who died in 1922.

Over ten decades, our campus has grown to 17.2 acres thanks to additional donations of land and purchases. The expansion of the campus has allowed our research and educational programs to grow and to better serve not only our community but scientists and educators around the world.

It took six years to complete the survey and the research, and Steve donated many, many hours of his time and expertise pro bono throughout. The last piece of survey work was to locate the existing boundary monuments - the 3-1/4 inch diameter metal markers which physically designate the boundary lines of the Museum's property and to set new ones where needed. It took many hours of fieldwork to locating existing monuments and setting the 35 new, replacement monuments - a task just completed.

Steve took particular interest in the actual monuments themselves. He was adamant that they should be of the traditional aesthetics and quality so as to pay respect to the legacy and importance of the Museum as a Santa Barbara institution. He commissioned custom "museum-quality" bronze monuments. Because the bronze markers were more expensive than what is typically used these days, Steve paid for the upcharge in order to have both beautiful and historically authentic monuments grace our campus. He said, "I just thought that the Museum needed museum-quality monuments. I have a special place in my heart for the Museum; it is such a worthy cause. I was happy to contribute."

As Steve shared with me, "I attended Roosevelt Elementary School in Santa Barbara in the late 1950's and early 1960's. I used to ride my bike and stop at the Museum after school on my way home on Edgemound Drive, something I doubt that no kid would be allowed to do today. I think my friends and I wore out the 'rattle' button on the rattlesnake exhibit!"

Steve is a wonderful example of a community member, who has been a longtime neighbor and part of the Museum his whole life, who has given back so generously because of the affection he feels for this institution.

Steve, we all thank you for your generosity and for letting us know, just a little bit better, where we truly stand when we are at the Museum.

I invite you all to continue to visit the Museum here in Mission Canyon and our beautiful Sea Center on Stearns Wharf as we continue our "transformation". Hope to see you soon!


Luke J. Swetland
President & CEO
Romancing the Stars Comes to the Planetarium
Saturday, February 10
Show Times: 6:00 PM and 6:45 PM
Take a romantic tour of the universe inside the Museum's Gladwin Planetarium. Uncover myths and stories about love, the planets, and Cupid's role in Greek mythology. Afterwards, you and your sweetheart can view the amazing night sky through telescopes in our newly-renovated Palmer Observatory. Guests will enjoy chocolates by Jessica Foster Confections and a glass of champagne. Show is open to adults only.
FREE for Members of the Explorer Level and above. Explorer Members or higher MUST RSVP to receive free entry. To RSVP email or phone 805-682-4711 ext. 114. Other Members may purchase a ticket for $10 per person at
Science Pub: White Abalone Captive Breeding Program
Monday, February 12
6:30 - 8:00 PM
Dargan's Irish Pub & Restaurant
18 E. Ortega Street, Santa Barbara
Join Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center Senior Aquarist Thomas Wilson as he discusses the history and current state of the White Abalone fishery and the efforts of a group of California institutions to restore these animals to their former population density. Wilson earned a degree in aquatic biology at UCSB in 2009. In 2010 he started as a volunteer interpreter at the Sea Center and is now a Senior Aquarist. This free public program is held at Dargan's in downtown Santa Barbara. For more information email Stefanie Coleman at or 805-682-4711 ext. 170.
NEW PROGRAM: Art Inspired by... Botanicals!
Saturday, February 10
$35 for Members, $40 for non-members
Art Inspired by... Botanicals! Join us for a hands-on workshop focused on creating botanical block printed tote-bags. Learn about local plant life that inspired the craft and then make your own block printed masterpiece with the guidance of local artist Christine Brand from Nature + Pigment. Price includes all materials, plus you get to keep some of the tools. Photo by Christine Brand. . For more information email Stefanie Coleman at or 805-682-4711 ext. 170.
Sponsor an Exhibit or Event this Year!
Sponsorship of Museum events and exhibits helps to provide excellent community programming while also showcasing you or your business's support for the Museum and the community. Explore the many opportunities for sponsorship in our 2018 Sponsorship Opportunities packet. Also learn about the benefits of sponsoring our annual Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival on Saturday, June 30 or the 2018 Summer Exhibition: National Geographic's 50 Greatest Photographs. For more information, contact Development Officer Melissa Baffa at 805-682-4711 ext. 111 or

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