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Maritime Museum receives honors from Regional Business Awards

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
Since opening its doors in 2000, the Maritime Museum has allowed the local community to learn about Santa Barbara's aquatic history.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - While educating our community throughout the past 20 years, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is receiving much-deserved recognition for its special work. 

Last week the museum received the Non-Profit of the Year distinction from Santa Barbara’s Chamber of Commerce at the 12th Annual Regional Business Awards.

“It’s an extremely high honor, we’re thrilled to death,” museum president Don Barthelmess said. “We live in a great community that’s filled with philanthropic people and we’re happy to be chosen.”

“I know everyone here is thrilled to receive this award and recognition from the Chamber of Commerce on our twentieth anniversary,” museum executive director Leslie Leaney said. 

Despite its smaller size, the nonprofit organization has been rapidly evolving since opening in 2000. 

“We’re such a small museum when you look at the other museums here in town,” museum board member Linda Stirling said. “For us to get such a huge reward in our small staff, I think it’s so exciting.”

Founded by a group of fishermen, divers, and sailors; the museum has been documenting Santa Barbara’s maritime history.

“The Maritime Museum presents a cultural representation of what has gone on in the past and how the coastal community of Santa Barbara has interacted with the sea,” Leaney said. 

A large focus has been placed on education. 

“We have a huge outreach into the schools,” Stirling said. Both in Santa Barbara all the way down to Carpinteria and up to Santa Maria.”

“We have a fantastic education community that works extremely hard and they’re going out into the schools, where kids don’t normally have access to come to places like the museum.”

While the regional business award signifies noteworthy progress, the nonprofit’s goal remains the same.

“Celebrate the maritime history and the Santa Barbara Channel and our connection to the sea,” Barthelmess concluded.

The museum will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a variety of special events and exhibits throughout the year. Click here for more information.

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Blake DeVine

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