Marine Science Program

Marine Science Program

SBMM engages in their second year of marine science classes aboard Stardust, a 65′ local sport fishing vessel in the Santa Barbara Harbor. For two weeks, from January 25 to February 5, about 400 children from elementary schools and after school programs participate, many of whom have never been on a boat or out on the ocean. They venture out on the vessel to view dolphins and seals, and troll for fish. Back at dockside, they separate the fish from kelp, play with mud samplings and examine plankton under a microscope. Their teachers have noted these experiences are life changing for the students. This year the program is hosted by SBMM at no cost through the generous support of our donors, local foundations, and our members. For more information contact Emily Falke, Director of Education at or 805 962-8404 ext. 111

Tall Ship Program
Tall Ship Program

Tall Ship Program

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum has been bringing the tall ship Spirit of Dana Point up from the Ocean Institute in Dana Point since 2001. This program brings history alive for students, allowing them to spend the night aboard a tall ship living the life of an 1830’s sailor. Thanks to the support of our donors and local foundations, this program is provided free of charge to low-income, Title I schools.

Based on Richard Henry Dana Jr.’s book Two Years Before the Mast, local fourth-graders, who are studying California history, become immersed in the unique world Dana faced as he rounded Cape Horn on his voyage to Alta California, headed to Santa Barbara to trade hides and tallow.

Students explore man’s relationship with the ocean, gain an appreciation for our maritime heritage, and learn the concepts of ‘historical perspectives’ and ‘interpretation’. Through challenging hands-on activities students develop problem solving, critical thinking, leadership, communication, and teamwork skills.

The program curriculum offers interdisciplinary lessons in math, science, language arts, social studies, and music. Additionally, the professionally developed curriculum is aligned with the California State Content Standards and highlights California’s rich maritime history. Students demonstrate improved listening and speaking skills, better teamwork, increased self-esteem and class participation, and new leadership abilities.

The Spirit of Dana Point Tall Ship Education Program runs during the month of October and features a special community day and public dockside tours of the tall ship. Sign up your class for an overnight adventure of a lifetime!

Discounted tuition and bussing for Title I schools depends on available funding.

A 5-minute video on our Spirit Program

For pricing and scholarship information please contact Emily Falke at or (805) 962-8404 x111

Science Night Program

Science Night Program

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum’s trained docents go out to local schools for Science Fairs and other events and engage students using hands on activities to teach them charting, navigation skills, and knot tying. The museum’s rolling yacht, “Merry Time”, allows youth to navigate a pre-set course, utilizing their math skills.
Docents explain how a magnetic compass works, what “true north’ means, and how to read a compass. In addition, students learn a variety of sailor’s knots, what makes a good knot, and when to use different knots.

Science Fair visits are arranged through the museum’s Guest Services Coordinator, who can be contacted at (805) 962-8404, ext. 110, or at

Lecture Series

Lecture Series

Each month the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum brings local and visiting lecturers to our community to discuss a wide variety of ocean related topics, including the history of the Channel Islands, the life of female lighthouse keepers along the California Coast, or the abalone fishing industry. Topics range from local, national, and international historical events, current environmental challenges, to photography presentations and often coincide with temporary or permanent museum exhibits. SBMM Members enjoy an intimate reception with our guest speaker before the presentation on our scenic fourth floor Crow’s Nest. Past lectures can be viewed in the Lecture Series Archive.

Videos of our past lectures.

Lectures are sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, Silvio Di Loreto, the Montecito Journal, Deep Sea Winery, and TV-SB.

Book Club

Book Club

Join us as we read and discuss exciting maritime literature! Books of both fiction and non-fiction genres are nominated and selected by book club participants. Newcomers and drop-ins are welcome. Participation is free and open to the public.

Past Titles:
Two Years Before the Mast
Diary of a Sea Captain’s Wife
Tragedy at Honda
Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake
A Voyage Long and Strange
Ahab’s Wife
A Thread Across the Ocean
Life of Pi
Island of the Blue Dolphins
to name a few

For more information please contact our Guest Services Coordinator: Jennifer Haake
(805) 962-8404 x110