|Santa Barbara Presidio Research Center
|Newly renovated and opened Santa Barbara Presidio Research Center. Image courtesy of Michael H. Imwalle.
Welcome to the Santa Barbara Presidio Research Center!
Located in the former art studio of the Santa Barbara School of the Arts, designed by Soule, Murphy and Hastings in 1928, the new newly restored Center houses the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation's (SBTHP) curatorial and research collections under one roof.
Since its beginnings in the early 1960s, the mission of the Presidio Research Center has been to develop and curate a collection of research materials and cultural objects to support the archaeological, research, educational, and curatorial programs of SBTHP and El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park. The Center also supports and conducts research to assure the historical integrity of the restoration and reconstruction of the State Park and SBTHP’s historic properties.
The Center's program of research focuses on the history of:
- the Presidio during the Spanish and Mexican eras of California's history, including the Presidio's political, social, economic, cultural, intellectual, and ecological setting.
- the Presidio neighborhood and the peoples who have lived there through time.
- the historic preservation movement in Santa Barbara County, including the role of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation in that movement.
The research collections include over 3,000 books and journals, manuscript collections dating from the 18th to the 20th centuries, microfilm, subject files, maps, audio and video tapes, and photographs. Together, these materials document many aspects of the growth and development of Santa Barbara, and of the lives of people who have lived in this area, as well as other presidio sites, ethnic and community histories, and the broader Spanish borderlands.
The curatorial collections consisting of over 1,000 objects are used to interpret the Presidio and Casa de la Guerra historic house museum through permanent and rotating historical and art exhibitions.
Research Programs and Publications
|Interior view of the Santa Barbara Presidio Research Center. Image courtesy of
Michael H. Imwalle.
Over the years, SBTHP has sponsored a series of research projects to identify and interpret primary source materials related to its properties. It has also conducted extensive archaeological investigations of its sites. SBTHP publishes the results of these endeavors in a variety of publications designed for both scholarly and popular audiences. Some examples:
- La Campana—Quarterly publication of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation
- Analyses of all of the archaeological excavations in an on-going series of reports. (1968-present)
- Santa Barbara Presidio Area 1840 to the Present (1993)—the history of the different ethnic groups living in the Presidio neighborhood.
- Citadel on the Channel by Richard Whitehead (1996)—the documentary history of the founding and construction of the Presidio.
- Documenting Everyday Life in Early Spanish California by Giorgio Perissinotto (1998)—transcriptions and translations of the requisitions and invoices for the Spanish military supply of the Presidio.
- The Chumash and the Presidio by Marie Duggan (2004)—the early relationships between Chumash Indians and the Santa Barbara Presidio.
Plan Your Visit
For information or to use the Research Center, please contact: Anne Petersen, Ph.D., Associate Director for Historical Resources, (805) 966-5073.
Research Center Hours
By appointment only.
Research Center Location
215 East Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara, CA