The Wildling Museum, currently in Los Olivos, will be moving to Solvang to a more visible location with better access to foot and vehicular traffic this winter.
“This move was prompted by the results of our strategic planning process, which we completed this spring,” Executive Director Stacey Otte said. “Our focus is to create a more financially sustainable institution with increased exposure to the public.
“Essentially, we want and need to serve more people. The new space we’ve secured at 1511-B Mission (corner of Fifth and Mission/246) is larger, which allows us to have three to five exhibitions displayed at any one time, and offers better programming spaces. We are very excited by the opportunities this affords us.”
The Wildling will be able to add a new feature in the Solvang space — a wilderness resource center, a “one-stop shop” concept for anyone interested in exploring the natural areas to be enjoyed throughout Santa Barbara County.
The museum will work with various groups around the county to offer information, maps and brochures at the new location.
“Part of the mission of the museum is to inspire our visitors to get out and enjoy nature for themselves, so this is a way for us to do this more effectively,” Otte said. “Our county is incredibly rich in diverse natural areas, and we want to connect our visitors to those opportunities.”
The Wildling will close the Los Olivos location on Dec. 3. Current estimates for opening the new location are March or April. Despite not having a facility open, the staff and volunteers will continue to serve the public by presenting exhibits, lectures, workshops and trips throughout the winter months, until the Solvang facility is ready.
“We are looking for spaces in Lompoc, Santa Maria, Goleta, Los Alamos and Santa Barbara to offer exhibits and programs,” Otte said. “We also need new volunteers to get involved and help us with presenting the programs.”
To volunteer and/or join as a member to support this important local arts and nature institution, click here or call 805.686.8216.
— Holly Cline is the director of communications and membership for the Wildling Museum.