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Upcoming Exhibits

  • Explore the rich maritime heritage of the Central Coast through diverse and interactive exhibits.

  • From seaplanes to surfing, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
    captures the unique stories that shape the region’s history.

  • Interactive exhibits allow visitors to try their hand at fishing, survey the waterfront through an authentic submarine periscope, and navigate into the harbor from our Survival at Sea Pilot House.

  • Discover how the sea has shaped the character of the Central Coast

Oil in the Channel

Oil has always been an integral part of Santa Barbara’s maritime history. Driving innovation and industry, oil has been used by Channel inhabitants for over 1,000 years, and it is a history that continues through today. The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum looks forward to opening Oil in the Channel, chronicling the local history of this prized resource. Integrating interactives, video, models and artifacts, the exhibit will tell the story of oil on the Central Coast. The exhibit will begin with how oil is formed, then address early uses for oil and tar, specifically Chumash tomol construction and waterproofing of baskets. It will show how oil is found, with interactive panels capturing cross-sections of seafloor strata. Models of a survey ship, hydrophones and drill ship will offer greater insight into the discovery process. There will be a video depicting life on an oil rig, the 1969 oil spill, technology improvements, and the modern environmental movement. Sponsorship opportunities, including a naming opportunity, are still available for this exhibit. For details, please contact our Marketing and Development Coordinator at (805) 962-8404 ext. 100 or by email.