Spirit of Dana Point

Fourth graders from Santa Barbara County schools have the opportunity to become immersed in early California history while working with a variety of dynamic historical characters from Two Years Before the Mast, by Richard Henry Dana, Jr. They gain skills in cooperative learning, teamwork, and communication as they hoist cargo, row long-boats, raise sails, stand night watch, swab the decks, and sing shanteys.

Accompanied by adult crew-members playing the parts of the book’s characters, they experience Dana’s 1835 port call to Santa Barbara during an overnight stay aboard the Ocean Institute’s tall ship Spirit of Dana Point.

Program content is in compliance with the California State Board of Education History-Social Science Content Standards and highlights California’s rich maritime history.  A testament to the vision of the Museum’s founders, the Spirit Program exemplifies SBMM’s mission, providing a hands-on, living experience to students.

A 5-minute video on our Spirit Program

For more information contact Lis Perry, Education Coordinator or call (805) 456-8741

Marine Exploration

SBMM’s Marine Exploration Program dramatically brings the California Physical Science standards to life for third through sixth graders and after school groups. SBMM partners with local fishing vessel, Stardust, offering interactive 2- hour Marine Exploration classes. Students explore the Santa Barbara Harbor, enjoy a brief voyage out at sea, discuss charting and navigation, observe local sea life in their natural habitat, and work together to experience coastal California as hands-on scientists.

In groups, they work in labs that include sampling water quality, tallying species collected on the otter troll, studying micro-organisms, and counting plankton under the microscope. The Marine Exploration Program immerses students in hands-on inquiry and open-ended exploration and involves students in productive teamwork.

An 8-minute video on Marine Science

For pricing and scholarship information contact Lis Perry, Education Coordinator or call (805) 456-8741

Science Nights

SBMM’s trained docents and volunteers visit local elementary schools for Science Nights and other events and engage students using interactive nautical and maritime-themed activities. The Maritime Museum joins other museums and science-oriented organizations at these events. Almost every Thursday evening from January-May, you will find us at a local school that is hosting a science night.

For more information please contact Jesse Baker, Volunteer Coordinator, or call (805) 456-8748

Family Night

In February, May and September, SBMM offers Family Nights, an opportunity to view the Museum from an entirely different perspective as a family. The evening includes a variety of maritime creative and interactive activities including face painting, mini LEGO builds, and nautical crafts. It is also an exciting time for family fun in the Museum galleries, and youngest visitors are encouraged to visit the Children’s Gallery and explore their ever-widening world though creative activities and interaction. 

For more information contact Lis Perry, Education Coordinator or call (805) 456-8741

Docent-led Field Trips

SBMM’s trained docents lead our Field Trip Program for schools and youth organizations.  Students experience the intimacy of a 90-minute docent-led tour of the Maritime Museum and the Santa Barbara Harbor. 

In consultation with the Museum’s Education Department and Volunteer Coordinator, tours and other activities can be arranged to fit with specific curriculum and studies. We ask for at least two weeks’ notice to organize your field trip, so that we can schedule the docents. SBMM has grade-level specific brochures available which outline how State Standards can be covered in a tour.  Register at  www.sbmm.org/tour

Lecture Series

Monthly, SBMM 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, and the abalone fishing industry. Topics range from local, national and international historical events, and current environmental challenges to photography presentations, and often coincide with temporary or permanent Museum exhibits.

Members of the Museum enjoy private receptions with our guest speakers before each presentation.  Past lectures can be viewed in the Lecture Series Archive.

Videos of our past lectures.

Sponsored by Marie L. Morrisroe

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