Bring Maritime History to Your Community

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is pleased to provide traveling exhibitions to enhance and support your museum’s community offerings. Six exhibits are available, covering everything from Santa Barbara harbor history, to ocean life, and even mermaids.

SBMM celebrates more than 13,000 years of maritime history in the region – from Chumash culture to today’s surfing and environmental movements. Our traveling exhibitions allow your organization to further share maritime history with your community.


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Our Channel Islands
Photographs by Ernest H. Brooks II

Brooks led great industry advances as he was a trailblazer in the development of underwater photographic equipment and technique. This exhibition includes 20 black and white fine-art photographs on mounted canvas selected from Brooks’ 2002 book and exhibit Silver Seas. The bold prints feature imagery from the Santa Barbara Channel Islands as well as Antarctica and the Arctic.

Mermaids: Visualizing the Myths and Legends

In ancient times, sailors returning home from long voyages told fantastic tales of mysterious sea creatures – giant krakens that could toss ships into the air, sea serpents dragging boats to their doom, and mermaids who lured sailors to their death. The myths of sea creatures and merfolk are part of nearly every culture in human history. Most of the images in this exhibit come from an underwater photography course taught by Ralph Clevenger through Brooks Institute and include 16 fine-art underwater photographs on mounted canvas featuring mermaids off the coast of the Santa Barbara Channel Islands.

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Marine Megatropolis (1974-1981) - Photographs by Bob Evans

A unique vertical habitat, the Pacific offshore platforms offer marine life shadows and shelter. Open ocean water flows through. Food is abundant. Life aggregates and propagates to create a Marine Megatropolis. This exhibit consists of 23 spectacular images from below the offshore oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel, selected from expeditions undertaken by Bob Evans and Andrew J. McMullen of La Mer Bleu Productions. Evans and McMullen were the first independent underwater photographers given carte blanche access to the area. Their photography documents marine life as it developed beneath the platforms.

Face to Face with the Great Whites - Photographs by Ralph Clevenger

The great white shark is the only known survivor of the prehistoric genus Carcharodon, and one of the world’s apex predators. Although most people are aware of great white sharks, relatively little is known about them because of their scarcity and reclusive behavior.

Working underwater and in submerged cages, Ralph Clevenger was able to take the dramatic images presented in the Face-to-Face with the Great Whites exhibit, providing viewers with an up-close view of these magnificent creatures.

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The Lure of Lighthouses and Dancing Waves

Lighthouses illuminate a sea that is never still. Whether looking at the ocean from the shore or a boat, we expect to see waves. A transmission of wind energy across the ocean, a wave travels endlessly until it breaks onshore. How it breaks depends on how it meets the shore, and whether the profile of the shoreline is shallow or steep. Colorful and dramatic photographs are printed on aluminum to enhance the color and light of lighthouses near and far and are coupled with images of breath-taking photos of waves throughout the world.

170 Years of Harbor History

Using archival images, this exhibit depicts some of the most important moments in the creation of Santa Barbara’s vibrant waterfront—from the establishment of Stearns Wharf in 1872 to the building of the breakwater and subsequent formation of Leadbetter Beach and today’s harbor business district.

Two men fishing.