Exhibits at SBMM take you on a winding journey through two floors where you will learn about: Early Explorers, the Chumash, Whaling, History of the Waterfront, Commercial Diving and Technology, Commercial Fishing, The History of Oil in the Santa Barbara channel, Surfing, Navigation, Shipwrecks, Channel Island Ranching, Point Conception Lighthouse Lens, and Santa Barbara Lighthouse Women Keepers.
Interactive exhibits include: sustainable fishing in a kelp forest, raising a sail, sorting trash into world gyres, virtual sport fishing, tattoo parlor and virtual dive. SBMM inspires learning through these interactive exhibits.
Our Art Gallery is currently displaying Mermaids: Visualizing the Myths and Legends through Photography (sneak peak video) by Ralph Clevenger and friends through the end of October 2020. Thousands of years ago the Syrian goddess of the sea, Atargatis, transformed herself into a mermaid by flinging herself into a lake. She emerged with the lower body of a fish and upper body of a human. Ever since, mermaids and mermen have captivated the imaginations of people and cultures around the world.
Ralph A. Clevenger grew up on the coast of North Africa and began diving with his father in the Mediterranean Sea at the age of 7. He went on to study zoology and worked for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego as a diver/biologist before attending Brooks Institute of Photography. Clevenger was a senior faculty member at the Brooks Institute for 33 years, teaching courses in Natural History and Underwater Photography, among other photo and video courses. Visualizing the myths and legends of mermaids through photography was a part of the underwater photography course Clevenger taught at Brooks. This show highlights images created by Ralph and a few of his former students during extended trips to the Channel Islands.
Based in Santa Barbara, California, Mr. Clevenger is pursuing his passion for the natural world by specializing in location photography and video projects of eco-travel, environmental portraits, wildlife and undersea subjects. He’s traveled on assignment for clients such as; Fox Sports, University of California, Denali National Park Wilderness Center, National Marine Sanctuaries, Light & Motion Industries, and others. His publication credits include; Audubon, Afar, Islands, Oceans, Nature’s Best, National Geographic, Terre Sauvage, and other national and international publications. He is the author of the book Photographing Nature, published by New Riders.
Our newest permanent exhibit is History of Oil in the Santa Barbara Channel. Oil has been a part of our maritime history for thousands of years. The Chumash utilized the natural seeps in our channel for their tomols and baskets, the world’s first offshore oil well stood off Summerland Beach, commercial diving technology flourished in Santa Barbara due to oil production, and the modern environmental movement grew out of the 1969 Oil Spill. Today, oil affects every facet of our lives, even as we move towards renewable energy sources.
Photo Gallery of the Museum