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Our Mission

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History inspires a thirst for discovery and a passion for the natural world.


For 100 years, our Museum has connected people to nature through personal discovery. A visit to the Museum’s Mission Canyon campus and the Sea Center on Stearns Wharf have inspired generations to venture out into the environs of the creek and the ocean shore to experience the real spectacle of nature.

For thousands, the Museum has been a trusted companion on the journey of learning about our world. Providing a first introduction to the mysteries of nature and a hands-on initiation into the world of science, it has ignited in many a passion to know more and, for some, laid the foundation for a scientific career. A visit to our Backyard inspires visitors to look at their own backyard with new eyes and to understand how we all share the greater backyard of our globe.

The Museum represents the great arc of learning that stretches from toddlers touching sea stars in a tide pool to the work of our accomplished scientists in their labs making critical discoveries.

The Museum brings out the curiosity in all of us! It is a chronicle of the wonder and beauty of the Santa Barbara region; it is our region’s most complete source of information and inspiration about nature and our place in it; and it provides an experience for visitors that is like that of no other museum.

Born from the initiative of community members 100 years ago, it will prosper and continue to deliver its critical services for years to come through continued community support.
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