Completed in 1964, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum has emerged as an essential landmark for the preservation and celebration of Santa Barbara's regional history. As one of the oldest cultural institutions in Santa Barbara, SBHM is home to the vast archival collection of documents and artifacts within their Gledhill Library and collections vault.

The rotating exhibits in the Sala Gallery feature dynamic elements of Santa Barbara's local traditions, art, and historical events, while their permanent gallery "The Story of Santa Barbara" traces the development of Santa Barbara's history from the Chumash to the mid 20th century. The Museum's stunning courtyards evoke the romance of early Spanish California, located in the heart of Santa Barbara's historic district.

Two historic adobes are preserved in the Museum's lower courtyard, with the Casa Covarrubias adobe dating to 1817 and the Historic Adobe to 1836. Their mission is to be a repository, interpreter and communicator of the rich history of the Santa Barbara region. Through exhibitions, scholarship, educational programs and preservation of the region's material culture, the SBHM connects people of all backgrounds to historically important ideas, people and objects.

This museum features both permanent and changing exhibits that share Santa Barbara's colorful past from the Native American age to modern times. It also offers an extensive holdings of books, photographs, maps, and manuscripts. The library is a rich resource for the study of regional history.

Permanent exhibitions

  • The Story of Santa Barbara.
  • Native American Civilizations
  • Spanish Settlement
  • The Arts Movement
  • A New Century
  • Paradise in the 19th Century
  • Chinatown & California Statehood
  • Santa Barbara under Mexican Rule
  • The De la Guerra Family

Directions: From the 101 freeway take the Garden Street exit and turn away from the ocean. Drive until you reach De la Guerra Street. Turn left. When you reach Santa Barbara Street, the Museum will be on your right. There is parking behind the building which can be accessed from De la Guerra Street.