Celebrate 5,000 years of human history and creativity on a visit to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. First opened in 1941, the Museum is located in the heart of downtown in a stately building that was once the Santa Barbara Post Office. SBMA’s renowned 27,000-piece permanent collection spans both the centuries and the globe, with works ranging from classical antiquities to modern installations. Explore a fascinating array of 19th-century French, British and American art; 20th-century and contemporary European, North American and Latin American art; Asian art; sculptures; photography; and works on paper.
Whether you want to enjoy a contemplative stroll through the galleries or participate in a lively interactive discussion, SBMA provides visitors with many ways to connect more deeply with the artwork. The Museum continually offers a robust calendar of events, tours, classes, educational programs, lectures and free resources for adults, families and kids.
Hours, Admissions and Tours
The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Additionally, SBMA offers Free Thursday Evenings, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. The Museum is closed on Mondays, the 4th of July, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, the galleries, cafe and store close at 3 p.m.
Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for seniors (65+), students (with ID) and children age 6–17. Admission is free for SBMA Members, children under six, active U.S. military personnel and military families (with military ID), Santa Barbara County students (K – college) and Santa Barbara County teachers (K – 12).
Gallery tours highlighting the Museum’s permanent collection and current exhibitions are included in the price of admission and begin daily at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. respectively in the lobby at the State Street entrance. On Free Thursday Evenings, the Museum also offers Docent “Ten Talks” at 6 and 6:30 p.m. These informal, interactive ten-minute conversations focus on one particular work of art and begin at the State Street entrance. To find out about tours of upcoming temporary exhibitions, check the Museum’s current tour information.
Tips for Your Visit
SBMA is always free and open on Thursday evenings, and also participates in Santa Barbara’s 1st Thursday events. On the first Thursday evening of every month, you can get a fun glimpse of Santa Barbara’s art and culture scene, as many galleries and venues around downtown offer free access to visual and performing art.
If you’ll be attending the Museum with children, check out the Family Resource Center, where Museum Teaching Artists are available to assist families in creating special exhibition-based art projects. And drop by the Visitors Services Desks to pick up a free Family Guide, which includes games, activities and information to help parents and children explore the galleries together.
SBMA has recently been undergoing renovations to update and improve its facilities, so be sure to check the Museum website before your visit for up-to-date information on possible closures of the galleries and/or cafe, entrance changes and detours.
To take home a memento of your visit, stop by the Museum Store located on the lower level. The store features a variety of items unique to SBMA’s permanent and special exhibitions, as well as art books, jewelry, décor, toys and more. Grab lunch or a quick bite at the Museum Cafe, also on the lower level and open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Download SBMA’s free smartphone app to inform and enhance your Museum experience. The app includes interactive audio and video content and also provides the latest information on current and future events, products and travel opportunities.