The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum’s (SBMM) Education Programs encourage curiosity through exhibits, experiential learning, and community outreach with special emphasis on California’s maritime history and human interactions with the sea. SBMM has been redefining its programs with creativity, innovation, and technology, and reimagining ways to continue to serve and educate the community while complying with social and safety restrictions.
Maritime on the Move (MotM) brings museum-quality experiences to sites throughout Santa Barbara County. These adventures begin outdoors and incorporate engaging activities for students to enjoy while exploring local ecosystems and biomes found in their own backyard. Each activity or field trip is tailored to meet individual needs and is adapted for all grade levels to provide an unforgettable educational experience. Adding to the program’s versatility, the booklets are available in English and Spanish.
Pioneered with more than 150 middle school students from Carpinteria in February 2020, MotM materials include an activity booklet, infographics, and videos to introduce each area. Although initially focused on Carpinteria’s salt marsh, beach, tar pits, and seal rookery, similar materials have been prepared for the Santa Barbara Harbor and Oso Flaco Lake in Guadalupe. Additional materials will also be developed for the Santa Ynez Valley, and Lompoc. The program will be offered in several modalities: in the field in-person with a naturalist, as a self-guided tour, live and/or pre-recorded in-the-field webinar, and in-classroom with a naturalist.
With a growing body of evidence linking direct exposure to nature as essential for a child’s healthy physical and emotional development, the educational team at SBMM has been adapting its educational programs to meet these needs. For example, programs that were previously offered by SBMM in schools and through field trips will now offer various video and virtual components, self-guided tours in the field, individual activity “kits,” teacher-training materials, and guided tour maps…all of which can be customized based on the needs of the community, the teacher, and the classroom, as well as by parents teaching their children using resources available at: sbmm.org/at-home/. By building knowledge of the area’s local nature, students are exposed to some of the complex environmental issues facing the long-term conservation goals of their communities. It is the goal of SBMM to instill a sense of motivation for these children to take action to keep the area’s natural world healthy and to develop the critical thinking skills needed to understand the complexities of ecological problems we face today, all with the hopes of achieving a more sustainable future.