Santa Barbara Martime Museum
2021-2026 Strategic Plan

Planning for a Successful Future

This plan is a result of a vigorous 6-month strategic planning process consisting of research, meetings, interviews, surveys (an impressive 153 respondents), and focus groups with key stakeholders and community members.  Our strategic plan is a living document that communicates the vision of where SBMM is going and what we want to achieve in the next five years. The plan also ensures that our evolving vision meets the needs of our audiences and community and defines critical elements used to identify how we will obtain the resources to fulfill this vision and achieve the goals.

The data and input collected from 193 people led to these key areas of focus:


Download the 2021-2026 Strategic Plan in PDF Format

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Holly Lohuis by Richard Murphy, PhD, Ocean Futures Society
surfing history shortboard

1. Visitor Experience & SBMM Visibility

Goal: Increase membership by expanding the visibility of SBMM through advertising, media exposure, collaboration with other institutions, and a broader social media presence.

  • Objective A: Develop a comprehensive marketing plan.
  • Objective B: Expand and diversify the Museum’s audience/membership.
  • Objective C: Promote exhibits.
  • Objective D: Market and promote education-related activities and efforts.

2. Fiscal Sustainability

Goal: Solidify funding and the financial future to ensure the sustainability of the Museum.
  • Objective A: Adapt and innovate to meet fundraising goals , given the changing environment in which we do our work as a museum (e.g., build our grant portfolio, enhance our Navigators Circle and membership experiences, and expand our Flagship Society).
  • Objective B: Pursue targeted fundraising efforts to promote the Museum and its offerings (e.g., create quality events tied to our mission).

3. Education

Goal: Operate educational programs to the highest standards and best practices for U.S. museums.

  • Objective A: Become the recognized regional center for maritime education by enhancing and further developing existing and new community educational programs (e.g., expand educational programs beyond the walls of the museum, maintain digital offerings, further develop community partnerships, and create age-appropriate materials based on exhibits.)
  • Objective B: Increase the role and reach of the docent program.
  • Objective C: Be adaptable and responsive to the changing environment through our educational programming and exhibits (e.g., build a diverse digital-based educational plan, implement new technologies, create multimedia content and accessibility for mobile device engagement, and expand multilingual materials).

4. Exhibits & Collections

Goal: Develop and present exhibits to the highest standards and best practices for U.S. museums.

  • Objective A: Create new ways for visitors to access and interact with exhibits (e.g., create/develop outdoor exhibits, expand online digital exhibits, curate pop-up displays, collaborate with other maritime-related organizations for traveling exhibits and vessel visits, and build mobile engagement).
  • Objective B: Achieve AAM Accreditation.
  • Objective C: Further develop community collaborations.

5. Public Trust & Accountability

Goal: Be transparent, considerate, and responsive to the diverse interests and cultures that we serve.

  • Objective A: Be an active participant in our local community and make informed decisions while serving different populations (e.g., pursue further collaborations with other organizations; participate in collaborative exhibits, advertising, and programs; leverage regional issues into programs, exhibits, and offerings, showcase our rich maritime history; present inspirational programs, and provide a forum that prompts insightful discussions about the future of our coastal community).
  • Objective B: Continue to strive to practice inclusion and offer opportunities for participation and access at all levels from our diverse populations (e.g., develop an access, inclusion, diversity and equity action plan for volunteers, staff and the Board, and facilitate a welcoming environment where diverse and provocative issues can be discussed in constructive ways).
  • Objective C: Prioritize the Museum’s public service role as an educational center (e.g., continue and further develop ways the Museum can serve as a community resource for maritime-related news and issues, participate in or host ocean environment-related events, and serve as a model for the community by maintaining and improving Green Business standards).


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