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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 1:59 pm | Fair 63º


Natural History Museum Undergoing Makeover

Museum will remain open during the restoration period

An artist’s rendering of the new, permanent Butterfly Pavilion.
An artist’s rendering of the new, permanent Butterfly Pavilion. (Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History)

As the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History enters its second century of service to the community, it has a number of renovations lined up as part of Phase I in its Centennial Campaign Project.

These include improvements to the museum’s Backyard and Nature Clubhouse; enhancement of such exhibits as the Cartwright, Mammal, and Bird halls; and a transformation of the Butterfly Pavilion. Construction is slated to begin in early September and run through June 2018.

Highlights of the new exhibits:

» A permanent Butterfly Pavilion will provide a year 'round space for programs including Butterflies Alive! and a world of outdoor experiences.

» The new Santa Barbara Gallery will give visitors an in-depth look at the science and nature that makes the Central Coast a vibrant region.

» Veteran and novice birders can enjoy upgrades to the Bird Habitat Hall, a showcase of the Central Coast's diverse bird population, featuring Ray Strong’s dioramas.

»  The updated Mammal Hall will provide a clear interpretation of the modern relationship between people and the species represented in the restored and upgraded dioramas.

There also will be campus-wide improvements such as:

» Renovations to landscaping and paths to create a more seamless, integrated experience for visitors, including ADA and stroller-compliant access.

» Enhancements to the Backyard and Nature Clubhouse outdoor educational and exploration space.

» A pedestrian-safe arrival corridor, making it easier for guests to safely walk from the parking lot to the museum entry.

» Puesta del Sol Esplanade, a new pedestrian path along the historic stegosaurus wall, will provide safe access to Mission Canyon Road, featuring the original 1922 design.

The museum will remain open during all phases of construction, with some special areas being created for visitors to enjoy. For example, during renovations to the Backyard and Nature Clubhouse, an outdoor nature area called BaseCamp will be opening on the south side of Mission Creek.

“We couldn’t be more excited about these improvements,” said Luke Swetland, president/CEO of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

“These renovations will provide a more dynamic, memorable experience for our guests, and will help further educate the community about the relationship between humans and the natural environment,” he said.

“The public portion of our capital campaign for the renovation of the museum will kick off at the Sept. 8 groundbreaking, so there is still time to get involved and help support this exciting and unique project,” said Swetland.

“Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we have reached 84 percent of our $20 million campaign goal to date," he said.

"There are a number of ways for local community members and businesses to get involved and push this project across the finish line, including naming opportunities for many of our new exhibits and visitor areas,” Swetland said.

To be part of the museum's renovation efforts, or to follow its progress, visit www.sbnature.org or call the development office, 682-4711 ext. 110.

— Andy Silverman/Chris Davis for Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.


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