The Children’s Museum of Santa Barbara – once a popular State Street destination – will be returning soon to downtown Santa Barbara, thanks to the efforts of the City Council.
After finding an appropriate location, the Santa Barbara City Council helped the Children’s Museum obtain the property on lower State Street near the Amtrak station through the use of the Redevelopment Agency. The museum was formerly located on State Street, but the group running the museum lost the lease and was forced to close down several years ago. It has since been a priority of elected officials and others to reopen it, but finding a location proved difficult.
“The children’s museum has always been a top priority for the council,” Councilwoman Iya Falcone said. “It has only been a matter of finding a proper location.”
The museum’s main demographic, as the name implies, is children from the ages of 2 to 10 and their families. Despite this, Falcone said she hopes that the museum can be resource for the entire community.
“The children’s museum will provide an extraordinary learning experience for all ages,” Falcone said. “The museum will benefit the entire community.”
The Santa Barbara City Council, along with Children’s Museum Board, has high expectations for the center. Among the list of programs and activities planned for the museum are not only educational programs, but also programs that reinforce moral values.
“We want to teach kids not only what they learn in school but core values,” Gordon Auchincloss, a member on the Children’s Museum Board, said. “It is the community’s job to contribute to impressionable kids.”
Along with teaching children important values, another goal of the museum is to be inclusive of the entire community.
“One of the primary goals of the museum is to be inclusive and to include every color, demographic and neighborhood,” Auchincloss said.
According to city councilmembers, the creation of a children’s museum could not have come at a better time. With a budget crisis in California leading to systemwide cuts to education, many schools have been forced to eliminate extra curricular programs. The children’s museum will try to fill that gap, and provide as many educational opportunities to children as possible.
“This is a time where resources are in serious trouble because of the budget situation,” City Councilman Roger Horton said. “The museum provides enrichment to kids who need it the most.”
Furthermore, Auchincloss noted that the museum, by providing a safe venue to learn, will also serve as a deterrent to crime later in life.
“Too often, kids get lost in the shuffle,” Auchincloss, who also works as a prosecutor, said. “This museum is a recognition of how precious children are.”
“Society can’t do enough to help kids,” he continued. “It is our responsibility to set a good example.”