A Brief History of The Natural History Museum of Santa Maria
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The second educational kit established was in partnership with the L.A. County Museum of Natural History. It was called Wee Beasties and was an insect-based curriculum. An insect zoo was purchased and place in the care of the local Discovery Museum as the “live” element.
Rocks and Fossils was the final kit developed with the partnership support of the Petroleum Engineering Society and targeting middle school students.
In October, 1999 Bill Orndorff, a board member of the Museum proposed the group begin accumulating a collection and occupy an empty and abandoned historical home in downtown Santa Maria. This building is called The Hart Home. It was moved to the current location in 1973 from the corner of Curryer and Jones Streets after Lawrence Perry donated the building to the Santa Maria Valley Historical Society. The Home was built in 1877 and is an official historic landmark.
From the moment that the Natural History Museum doors opened in October, 1999 citizens came forth offering gifts and loans of taxidermy and collections to make the Museum come to life. Local geology expert Ralph Bishop was the first donor. He saw value in having a showcase for his interesting and extensive collection of regional Ice-Age local fossils.
The Museum name was changed to The Natural History Museum, Santa Maria in 1999 and monetary donations from the public began.
The Natural History Museum installed a Native Garden under the planning of Georgia Schrager and Board President Tahir Masood in 2014. This expansion was important as the Museum has tried to utilize their entire physical space for natural history education. The landscape is draught tolerant, yet naturally lovely most all year with not only color but scents and urban wildlife, such as Monarch Butterflies, bees and birds. Benches were added to picnic tables for visitor enjoyment all week long.
Hours of Operation
Wednesday – Saturday 11 A.M.- 4 P.M.
Admission is free.