Pixel Tracker

Friday, December 14 , 2018, 5:18 pm | Partly Cloudy 59º


Museum Reopens Mammal, Bird Halls and New Gallery

Humans, nature and history intersect in revitaized exhibits

New taxidermy, new foliage, and touchable interactive exhibits part of museum revamp.
New taxidermy, new foliage, and touchable interactive exhibits part of museum revamp. (Museum of Natural History)

Following 10 months of transformation supported by the Museum of Natural History's $20 million Centennial Campaign, the first of two grand reopenings will happen Saturday, June 2, when the Mammal Hall, Bird Hall and Bird Habitat Hall reopen to the public.

Historic specimens have been refreshed by specialists who put in new taxidermy, new foliage, and touchable interactive exhibits. The museum has also added new dioramas that engage visitors in a conversation about the closeness of nature and the place of humans in it.

Diorama experts, taxidermists, fabricators, painters and Hollywood prop-makers all put their artistry to the cause. As a result, the new incarnations of these exhibits honor their heritage while better serving visitors.

Cartwright Hall will reopen as the Santa Barbara Gallery, which focuses on how geography and climate come together to create the unique ecosystems of the Santa Barbara region.

These conditions give rise to extraordinary biodiversity, and the space highlights the species interactions that result.

As with the dioramas in the revitalized Mammal Hall, the Santa Barbara Gallery explores the dynamics of natural systems in the local region and how human actions impact those systems. The new gallery serves as a visitor’s field guide to the Santa Barbara region.

Exhibits in all the updated halls are now better-equipped to address the important environmental issues on the minds of museum visitors.

Technology has been strategically implemented in ways that allow for greater flexibility in disseminating new media to keep pace with science.

The museum has continued to expand its corps of volunteer docents. This summer, docents will be available at various times in the galleries to be naturalist guides for visitors.

Outside, the museum has improved access by building a pedestrian-safe, ADA and stroller-compliant arrival corridor. The corridor guides visitors from the parking lot to the historic front entry via the Blue Whale courtyard and a walkway surrounded by geological and paleontological wonders.

On the other side of the entrance, a new pedestrian path parallel to the historic Hazard Estate wall along Puesta del Sol provides safe access between the museum and Mission Canyon Road, in homage to the original 1922 design.

“Everything we have done in the Centennial Project is meant to revitalize the museum, to honor the past and make it new,” said Luke Swetland, museum president/CEO.

“I think when folks see their ‘new’ museum, they will be quite pleased that we preserved the very best of our proud legacy but have lead it into a brighter future,” he said.

The museum’s second grand reopening will be in August when the redesigned backyard and Club House reopen.

The signature piece of the Centennial Project will be the new pavilion that will be home to butterflies every summer, and available for many other uses during the rest of the year.

The museum intends to have its Butterflies Alive! experience open later this summer, even if for only a few weeks.

In addition to the newly transformed spaces, the museum offers its summer exhibition of 50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic, open now through Sept. 3. The photo display is organized and traveled by National Geographic Society.

The museum is open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information about the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, visit www.sbnature.org.

— Briana Sapp Tivey for Museum of Natural History.


Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.