Set up a future tour

Or to discuss customized learning experiences for any group, contact:
Emily Alessio
Education Department
(805) 966-1601

3rd grade School Tour

School Programs

We offer four interactive, docent-led programs tailored specifically to children in grades K-4.  Learn more about our program in an overview by the Santa Barbara County Education Office HERE.

Memory Basket Museum (K-1)
Based on the popular picture book, Wilfred Gordon MacDonald Partridge by Mem Fox, this program introduces our youngest students to local history through the historical museum experience. After a brief reading of the story, students will explore how a historical museum is like a memory basket and visit the galleries.

Generations (2nd Grade)
Using generations as a measure of time, students will explore exhibit objects belonging to local families and others throughout Santa Barbara’s history. Several children’s literature books also accompany this program. One will be chosen and read to the students prior to their gallery experience.

Hands on History (3rd Grade)
Students enjoy a “focus program” on the Chumash way of life and discover how life changed when the Spanish arrived. The class participates in a sorting activity to decipher what the Chumash used prior to the arrival of the Europeans and what was brought here by the Spanish. After the program, the students dress as Spanish Explorers and explore the treasures in our galleries.

Witness to History (4th Grade)
Students will use replicas of primary source materials from the Museum’s library, such as photographs, letters and maps, to create a timeline of events in our local history, which also correlate to our State history and view the exhibits in our galleries that relate to different periods of California history in relation to Santa Barbara history. This is a good cooperation activity as the students work in groups to form the timeline. The students then tour our galleries, reinforcing what they have learned in the program.

Presidio, Preserved by the Trust For Historic Preservation

Combine a Tour of the Museum with a visit to the Presidio!

The Dual Tour Program is a partnership between Santa Barbara Historical Museum and the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. Just half a block away from one another, school groups can enhance their experience with a visit to two historical sites in the downtown El Pueblo Viejo neighborhood:

  • Complimentary docent-led interactive tours through galleries, courtyards, historical adobes, and a nationally recognized California State Historic Park.
  • Hands on activities for students that follow California State Curriculum standards.
  • Discussion-based lesson plans that encourage critical thinking skills while gaining insightful information about local history from the time of the Chumash to the Mid-20th century.
  • The convenient two-hour experience will provide the a deeper understanding of our history.
The Haunted Mirror

The Haunted Mirror

Visit our new interactive exhibition,  a concept developed to engage children of all ages in the discovery of history.  Inspired by the Alice in the Looking Glass device to link the present to the past to the future, a wall of vintage mirrors beckons visitors to the past with a “doorbell.” The historical characters summoned by the doorbell deliver short monologues about their life and encourage the observers to hunt for evidence of their existence in the Story of Santa Barbara gallery.