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Santa Barbara Historical Museum’s Underground Vault Holds Hidden Treasures of Fiesta

The Santa Barbara Historical Museum has an underground vault filled with thousands of historic Old Spanish Days pieces.

It was opened exclusively for NewsChannel 3.

“We have some pieces that go back to the 1840s that were made for Fiesta. They were highly decorative and we have the whole history of the beginning of Old Spanish Days 1920,” said Lynn Brittner, executive director of Santa Barbara Historical Museum.

The community museum currently has an exhibit called Project Fiesta displaying costumes, artifacts, photographs and stories lent or donated by the community.

However, underground there are more items away from public view.

“It takes a proper environment, the HVAC system where we can keep a steady temperature, not too much humidity. We need to have acid free boxes so we can properly store things and padded hangers to keep things dust free,” said Brittner.

This exhibit is important to Brittner, her team and for the Santa Barbara community.

“As Winston Churchill said, we have no future without understand our past. Preserving something as precious as Fiesta is so important to the community. I mean for young people, it installs a pride and gives them a sense of who they are in a community,” said Brittner.

This Wednesday evening, a happy hour event will take place at 5 p.m. at Sanford Winery in La Arcada featuring Santa Barbara Historian Erin Graffy. There will be a discussion about the history of Old Spanish Days and why Fiesta is celebrated annually.

The Project Fiesta exhibit will continue until Mid-October. For more information, you can visit Santa Barbara Historical Museum’s website.

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