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New interactive museum opens up in Santa Barbara

Museum of Sensory & Movement Experiences
Alex Zauner/KEYT
The Museum of Sensory & Movement Experiences is keeping the community connected with hands-free interactive exhibits.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — There’s a new museum located in La Cumbre Plaza and it may be a little different than what you’re used to. 

Mysteriously founded through the will of the late Randall Havernathy, the Museum of Sensory & Movement Experiences was formulated for a physically distanced community.

With local curator Marco Pinter chosen to make Havernathy’s dying wish a reality, the space is an energy-filled mecca of interactive art and kinetic wonder.  

“This was just a great opportunity to direct a space that’s the kind of work that I’m interested in with artists that I really respect,” MSME executive director Marco Pinter said.

Modeled after successful experiential museums such as Meow Wolf— located in Santa Fe, Denver & Las Vegas — the museum features nine interactive art experiences.

MSME is devoted to unlocking the power of movement in everyone through experiential artworks using projections, sound, voice and body movement.  

“With this museum, you’re kind of making the art as you go along,” one visitor Charlie Iverson said. “You can change it or make it however you want and really personalize it.”

The entire facility is filled with body based sensors, helping provide people with an intimate experience.

“It’s really up to you to make the experience,” another visitor Julie Blair said. “You can really immerse yourself in it.”

Visitors must wear masks and maintain physical distance.

Gloves are provided for the few exhibits that include touch.

“Most of the exhibits are touch-less,” Pinter said. “But you interact with the movement of your body.”

“You feel safe and because you feel safe, you can sort of relax and enjoy the art without feeling tense,” Santa Barbara resident Davey Frew said.

As the world changes so too does art.

However, the unique displays keep everyone engaged.

“It was super cool, I love this kind of stuff,” Frew said. “I really like the digital installations that you can interact with.”

“Even as an adult you can come in and play like a kid,” Blair concluded. “Really enjoy the movement and experience that you’re getting back from it.”

The museum is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

To reserve tickets, visit MSME's website

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Blake DeVine

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