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Santa Barbara Maritime Museum in collaboration with Ocean Institute hosts the 19th Annual Spirit Program for local Fourth Grade Students


For the Month of October 2019, the Tall Ship Spirit of Dana Point will be docked in the Santa Barbara Harbor. Formerly the Pilgrim of Newport, the re-named Spirit of Dana Point is an excellent teaching platform where students directly experience life at sea as it has been for hundreds of years.  The 118-ft. schooner is used for living history maritime programs.

The Spirit of Dana Point Tall Ship Overnight Education Program (Spirit Program) is based on Richard Henry Dana’s book, Two Years Before the Mast. Fourth-grade students studying California History sign aboard as greenhands for a two year “voyage” from Boston to Alta California in the 1830s. While immersed in early California history and working with a variety of dynamic historical characters, students 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 chanteys. Accompanied by adult crewmembers playing the parts of the book’s characters, students experience Dana’s 1835 port call to Santa Barbara during an overnight stay aboard the tall ship Spirit of Dana Point. The Spirit Program 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 for students. Giving students the opportunity to row around the harbor looking for hides and tallow hidden by the crew, or cook a meal for their classmates in the galley, or stand night watch on the water at two in the morning creates experiences they will never forget. The next time they read a history book, they will use this experience to imagine themselves in that story. They will also become personally invested in the knowledge and care of the Santa Barbara coastline.

This past September/October 2018 SBMM completed its eighteenth year of hosting the Spirit Program and served 460 students from 20 classrooms14 of which were from Santa Barbara County Title I schools. Students that participated in the program were from Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Ynez, Los Alamos, Orcutt, and Santa Maria. Costs of the program, including full scholarships for students from the Title I schools, are covered by grants and donations made to the Maritime Museum. The Spirit Program will run Mondays through Fridays from September 30 to October 25, 2019.

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The Ocean Institute, founded in 1977, is a community-based 501 (c) 3 organization that offers in-depth Marine Science, Maritime History and Outdoor Education programs. The facility includes state-of-the-art teaching labs, the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center, two historic tall ships, and an oceanographic research vessel.

Full Press Release PDF 

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