List of museums in the California Central Coast

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The California Central Coast is an area roughly spanning the area between the Monterey Bay extending through Santa Cruz County, San Benito County, Monterey County, San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County and Ventura County.

This is a list of museums, defined for this context as institutions (including nonprofit organizations, government entities, and private businesses) that collect and care for objects of cultural, artistic, scientific, or historical interest and make their collections or related exhibits available for public viewing. Also included are non-profit and university art galleries. Museums that exist only in cyberspace (i.e., virtual museums) are not included.

To use the sortable tables: click on the icons at the top of each column to sort that column in alphabetical order; click again for reverse alphabetical order.

Museums[edit]

Name Image Town/City County Region Type Summary
Agriculture Museum of Ventura County Santa Paula Ventura Central Coast Agriculture website, history, people, crops, and technologies of agriculture in the county
Albinger Archaeological Museum Ventura Ventura Central Coast Archaeology website, information, operated by the city of Ventura
Alvarado Gallery Monterey Monterey Monterey Bay Art website, city's art exhibits gallery
American Radio Archive Thousand Oaks Ventura Central Coast Media History of radio and radio broadcasting
Aptos History Museum Aptos Santa Cruz Monterey Bay Local history website
Art, Design & Architecture Museum Goleta Santa Barbara Central Coast Art Part of the University of California, Santa Barbara
Aviation Museum of Santa Paula Santa Paula Ventura Central Coast Aviation website, includes different personal collections of antique, classic and experimental aircraft; automobiles including race cars; motorcycles; an enormous antique radio, juke box and phonograph collection; paintings and photographs; model aircraft and a variety of aviation artifacts
Bigfoot Discovery Museum Felton Santa Cruz Monterey Bay Entertainment website, myths, legends and sightings of Bigfoot
Boronda History Center Jose Eusebio Boronda Adobe 2012-09-25 11-44-35.jpg Salinas Monterey Monterey Bay Historic house Operated by the Monterey County Historical Society, includes the Boronda Adobe
California Oil Museum Union Oil Company Building.jpg Santa Paula Ventura Central Coast Industry Local history and the history of the oil industry in California
Cabrillo College Gallery Aptos Santa Cruz Monterey Bay Art website, part of Cabrillo College, hosts 12 exhibitions annually
Camarillo Ranch Camarillo Ranch House 2.jpg Camarillo Ventura Central Coast Historic house Queen Anne style Victorian home furnished to appear as from 1914 to the 1930s
Camp Roberts Historical Museum Camp Roberts Monterey Monterey Bay Military website
Capitola Historical Museum Capitola Santa Cruz Central Coast Local history website
Carmel Mission MissionCarmelSEGL2.jpg Carmel-by-the-Sea Monterey Monterey Bay History Historic Roman Catholic mission church with several museums of local and mission history
Carnegie Art Museum Carneige Art Museum, Oxnard.jpg Oxnard Ventura Central Coast Art Collection of primarily 20th century California artists
Carpinteria Valley Museum of History Museumsign.JPG Carpinteria Santa Barbara Central Coast Local history
Carriage and Western Art Museum of Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Central Coast Transportation website, carriages, wagons, saddles
Casa de la Guerra USA-Santa Barbara-Casa De la Guerra-1.jpg Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Central Coast Historic house Residence of the fifth commandant of the Presidio of Santa Barbara
Casa del Herrero Montecito Santa Barbara Central Coast Historic house 1920s estate, tours by appointment
Casa Dolores Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Central Coast Art Popular arts of Mexico
Center for Photographic Art Carmel Monterey Monterey Bay Art website, photography
Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo Central Coast Military website
Channel Islands Maritime Museum Oxnard Ventura Central Coast Maritime website, maritime art, ship models dating back to 1622, local maritime history, art exhibits
Chumash Indian Museum Thousand Oaks Ventura Central Coast Native American website
Codiga Center & Museum Watsonville Santa Cruz Monterey Bay Agriculture website, located at the entrance to the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, tools, plows, tractors and implements of yesterday’s farming, operated by the Agricultural History Project
Colton Hall Colton Hall.JPG Monterey Monterey Monterey Bay Local history
Conejo Valley Art Museum Thousand Oaks Ventura Central Coast Art website
Conservation Corps State Museum San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo Central Coast Military History of the Civilian Conservation Corps in California
Dallidet Adobe San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo Central Coast Historic house website, 1850s adobe and gardens
Dana Adobe Nipomo San Luis Obispo Central Coast Historic house
DigiBarn Computer Museum Boulder Creek Santa Cruz Monterey Bay Computer Birth and evolution of personal, interactive computing, open by appointment
Dudley House Museum Dudley House from Southeast.jpg Ventura Ventura Central Coast Historic house 1892 Victorian farm house, operated by San Buenaventura Heritage
Dunes Visitor Center Guadalupe Santa Barbara Central Coast Multiple website, historic Craftsman bungalow with local and natural history exhibits about the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes
Elverhoj Museum of History and Art Solvang Santa Barbara Central Coast Multiple website, local history and art, Danish heritage and Danish-American pioneers
Estrella Warbird Museum OV-10 Bronco at Estrella.jpg Paso Robles San Luis Obispo Central Coast Aviation Military aircraft and memorabilia
Fernald Mansion Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Central Coast Historic house website, operated by the Santa Barbara Historical Association, Queen Anne-style Victorian home
Fillmore and Western Railway FWRY Engines.JPG Fillmore, California Ventura Santa Clara River Valley Railroad
Fillmore Historical Museum Fillmore Ventura Central Coast Open air website, includes the 1905 Hinckley House, Rancho Sespe Bunk House, and Southern Pacific Railroad Depot
Grandma Prisbrey's Bottle Village Grandma Prisbrey's Bottle Village (3).jpg Simi Valley Ventura Central Coast Art Folk art "village" of shrines, walkways, sculptures, and buildings from recycled items
Gull Wings Children's Museum Oxnard Ventura Central Coast Children's website
Hans Christian Andersen Museum Solvang Santa Barbara Central Coast Biographical website, life and works of Hans Christian Andersen
Hearst Castle Ext hearst castle.jpg San Simeon San Luis Obispo Central Coast Historic house Palatial mansion, home of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst
History Center of San Luis Obispo SLO historical museum.jpg San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo Central Coast Local history Changing exhibits of local history and culture
Jack House and Gardens San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo Central Coast Historic house website, Victorian home
John Steinbeck House SteinbeckHouse.jpg Salinas Monterey Monterey Bay Historic house Victorian birthplace of author John Steinbeck, also a restaurant
Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Central Coast Library Changing exhibits from its literary and historic documents collections
La Purísima Mission State Historic Park La Purisima Mission.jpg Lompoc Santa Barbara Central Coast Open air Includes restored mission church, shops, living quarters and blacksmith shop
Lompoc Museum Lompoc Santa Barbara Central Coast Local history website
Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad Nuestra Senora del la Soledad chapel.JPG Soledad Monterey Monterey Bay History Restored late 18th century Spanish mission
Mission San Antonio de Padua Mission San Antonio de Padua modern.jpg Jolon Monterey Monterey Bay History Historic Roman Catholic mission church with museum of history and archeology of early California and Native American cultures
Mission San Buenaventura Mission San Buenaventura.jpg Ventura Ventura Central Coast History Historic Roman Catholic mission church with museum of Chumash Indian artifacts and mission-era items
Mission San Miguel Arcángel MissionSanMiguelPlaza2008.JPG San Miguel San Luis Obispo Monterey Bay Historic church Also contains a museum about the church's history
Mission Santa Barbara SBMissionViewSE.jpg Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Central Coast Historic church
Mission Santa Inés Mission StInes.jpg Solvang Santa Barbara Central Coast Historic church
Monterey Bay Aquarium MontereyBayAquariumBackview.jpg Monterey Monterey Monterey Bay Natural history
Monterey County Agricultural & Rural Life Museum King City Monterey Central Coast Open air website, includes the exhibit barn, blacksmith shop, and the History of Irrigation Museum, 1898 Spreckels House, 1887 schoolhouse, 1903 train depot
Monterey County Youth Museum Monterey Monterey Monterey Bay Children's website
Monterey Museum of Art Monterey Monterey Monterey Bay Art Collections specialize in American Art, particularly Monterey Peninsula and the West Coast, and Asian art
Monterey State Historic Park Monterey Monterey Monterey Bay Open air 10 historic buildings including the Old Customhouse, Larkin House, other historic house museums and a local history museum
Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History Morro Bay Museum of Natural History.jpg Morro Bay San Luis Obispo Central Coast Natural history
Mullin Automotive Museum Oxnard Ventura Central Coast Automotive website, features French automobiles of the 1920s and 1930s, and French Art Deco furniture and decorative arts
Murphy Auto Museum Oxnard Ventura Central Coast Automotive website, vintage automobiles and Americana, H/O scale train layouts
Museum of Art & History @ the McPherson Center Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Monterey Bay Multiple Art, history of Santa Clara County, also known as the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History
Museum of Monterey Monterey Monterey Monterey Bay Maritime Operated by the Monterey History & Art Association
Museum of Ventura County Ventura Ventura Central Coast Multiple website, Ventura County’s history, art and culture
National Steinbeck Center NationalSteinbeckCentre.jpg Salinas Monterey Monterey Bay Biographical Works and philosophy of author John Steinbeck, local history, art and cultural exhibits
Ojai Valley Museum Ojai Ventura Central Coast Local history
Old Monterey Jail Monterey Monterey Monterey Bay Jail website
Olivas Adobe Olivas Adobe (Ventura, California).jpg Ventura Ventura Central Coast Historic house Mid 19th century adobe
Ortega Adobe Ventura Ventura Central Coast Historic house website, information, operated by the city of Ventura
Oxnard Historic Farm Park & Museum Oxnard Ventura Central Coast Historic house website, museum in planning, Ventura County Landmark No. 165: Gottfried Maulhardt/Albert Pfeiler Farm Site
Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History Pacific Grove Monterey Monterey Bay Natural history Local plants, animals, geology, and native human populations
Pajaro Valley Historical Association Watsonville Santa Cruz Monterey Bay Local history Includes Bockius-Orr House and the Volck Museum, a carriage house with local history exhibits
Parks-Janeway Carriage House Santa Ynez Santa Barbara Central Coast Local history website, Over 35 horse-drawn vehicles. Operated by the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Society Museum.
Paso Robles Children's Museum at the Volunteer Firehouse Paso Robles San Luis Obispo Central Coast Children's website, also heritage of the Paso Robles Volunteer Firefighters
Paso Robles Pioneer Museum Paso Robles San Luis Obispo Central Coast Local history website, includes replica jail, historic schoolhouse, farming and mining equipment, cowboy display, carriages
Picard Trade Bead Museum and African Art Gallery Carmel Monterey Monterey Bay Decorative art website, history and aesthetic display of beads traded in Africa throughout the centuries
Piedras Blancas Lighthouse PiedrasBlancasLighthoue 4768.JPG San Simeon San Luis Obispo Central Coast Maritime Guided lighthouse tours
Pleasant Valley Historical Society Museum Camarillo Ventura Central Coast Local history website, local history museum and botanical garden
Point Hueneme Lighthouse Point Hueneme Lighthouse.jpg Port Hueneme Ventura Central Coast Maritime Lighthouse tours
Point Pinos Lighthouse Point Pinos lighthouse.jpg Pacific Grove Monterey Monterey Bay Maritime
Port Hueneme Historical Museum Port Hueneme Ventura Central Coast Local history website
Point San Luis Lighthouse Point San Luis Lighthouse.jpg Avila Beach San Luis Obispo Central Coast Maritime Guided lighthouse tours
Point Sur Lighthouse Sanc0831 - Flickr - NOAA Photo Library.jpg Big Sur Monterey Monterey Bay Maritime Located in Point Sur Lightstation State Historic Park
Presidio of Monterey Museum Monterey Monterey Monterey Bay Military website, development of the Presidio as a training base and Monterey's military history
Presidio of Santa Barbara SB Presidio.jpg Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Central Coast Open air Also known as El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park
Rancho Camulos Camulos postcard 1913.jpg Piru Ventura Central Coast Open air 40-acre (160,000 m2) National Historic Landmark with 15 structures, situated within an 1,800-acre (7.3 km2) working ranch
Rancho de Guadalupe Historical Society Museum Guadalupe Santa Barbara Central Coast Local history website
Reagan Ranch Center Exhibit Galleries Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Central Coast History website, Reagan Ranch artifacts, accomplishments of President Ronald Reagan's presidency
Rancho la Patera & Stow House Stow house goleta historical.jpg Goleta Santa Barbara Central Coast Historic house Operated by the Goleta Valley Historical Society
Rios-Caledonia Adobe RiosCaledoniaAdobe EastSide2.jpg San Miguel San Luis Obispo Monterey Bay Historic house
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library View of the Reagan Library from the south.jpg Simi Valley Ventura Central Coast Open air Library, final resting place and museum about President Ronald Reagan
San Juan Bautista State Historic Park Mission San Juan Bautista.jpg San Juan Bautista San Benito Central Coast Open air Includes the Jose Castro House, the Mission San Juan Bautista, a jail, blacksmith shop and early American settler’s cabin
San Lorenzo Valley Museum Boulder Creek Santa Cruz Monterey Bay Local history website, operated by the San Lorenzo Valley Historical Society
San Luis Obispo Children's Museum San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo Central Coast Children's website
San Luis Obispo Museum of Art San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo Central Coast Art website, emphasizes artwork by contemporary, living California artists
San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo Central Coast Railroad Planned museum, railroad history of California and the Central Coast, historic railroad equipment and artifacts
Santa Barbara Historical Museum Historical Adobe Santa Barbara.jpg Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Central Coast Local history
Santa Barbara Maritime Museum Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Central Coast Maritime website, boat models, surfing, survival at sea, commercial fishing and diving, Channel Islands
Santa Barbara Museum of Art Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Central Coast Art American European, Asian art, antiquities, modern and contemporary art, prints, drawings and photographs
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Central Coast Natural history Includes dioramas of birds, mammals, and southern California habitats, halls of marine life, geology and Chumash Indian life, art gallery dedicated to antique natural history prints
Santa Barbara Surfing Museum Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Central Coast Sports Surfboards, ukeleles, important figures
Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park MissionSantaCruzCalifornia.jpg Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Monterey Bay Open air Includes replica late 18th century Spanish mission church, adobe
Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History Santa Cruz Museum Exterior.jpg Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Monterey Bay Natural history Wildlife, habitats, fossils, geology and Native peoples of the Santa Cruz Region, marine life
Santa Cruz Surfing Museum Santa Cruz surfing museum.jpg Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Monterey Bay Sports Surfing history and culture
Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum Santa Maria Santa Barbara Central Coast Children's website
Santa Maria Valley Historical Society Museum Santa Maria Santa Barbara Central Coast Local history website
Santa Paula Art Museum Santa Paula Ventura Central Coast Art website, collection focus is work by local artists
Santa Susana Depot Santa Susana Station.jpg Simi Valley Ventura Central Coast Railroad Former Southern Pacific Railroad depot
Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum Santa Ynez Santa Barbara Central Coast Local history website, also includes Parks-Janeway Carriage House with over 35 horse-drawn vehicles
Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center Newbury Park Ventura Central Coast Native American website
Sesnon Art Gallery Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Monterey Bay Art website, part of Porter College of the University of California, Santa Cruz
Seymour Marine Discovery Center Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Monterey Bay Natural history Part of the Long Marine Laboratory, features marine exhibit halls, aquarium, touch tanks, tours to marine mammal research overlook
Skateboard Museum Simi Valley Ventura Central Coast Sports Skatepark and museum
Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum Solvang Santa Barbara Central Coast Transportation
South Coast Railroad Museum Goleta Santa Barbara Central Coast Railroad
South County Historical Society Arroyo Grande San Luis Obispo Central Coast Open air website, complex includes Heritage House Museum, Paulding History House, Santa Manuela Schoolhouse, IOOF Hall with changing local history exhibits, and The "Barn" with antique vehicles and agriculture equipment
Stagecoach Inn Museum Stagecoach Inn.jpg Newbury Park Ventura Central Coast Open air Operated by the Conejo Valley Historical Society, includes replicas of the Stagecoach Inn with local natural history exhibits, carriage house with vehicles, 1874 pioneer home, blacksmith shop, Spanish-Mexican adobe and a Chumash Ap (tule dwelling)
Steinbeck's Spirit of Monterey Wax Museum Monterey Monterey Monterey Bay Wax information, Monterey historic figures
Stowitts Museum & Library Pacific Grove Monterey Monterey Bay Art Work and legacy of Hubert Julian Stowitts and other 20th century overlooked and neglected fine arts painters
Strathearn Historical Park and Museum Stathearn House, Simi Valley.jpg Simi Valley Ventura Central Coast Open air Includes the Simi Adobe-Strathearn House, children's playhouse, 1902 Catholic church, library, barber shop, pitting shed and barns with farm tools and equipment
Susan Quinlan Doll & Teddy Bear Museum & Library Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Central Coast Doll website
Templeton Historical Museum Templeton San Luis Obispo Central Coast Local history website
Tor House and Hawk Tower Robinson Jeffers Hawk Tower, Tor House, Carmel, CA 2008 Photo by Celeste Davison.JPG Carmel-by-the-Sea Monterey Monterey Bay Historic house Home of poet Robinson Jeffers
Trussell-Winchester Adobe Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Central Coast Historic house website, operated by the Santa Barbara Historical Association, 1845 adobe
Ty Warner Sea Center Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Central Coast Natural history Operated by the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, marine education center
U.S. Navy Seabee Museum Port Hueneme Ventura Central Coast Military website, history of the Seabees and the Civil Engineer Corps
Vandenberg Air Force Base Space and Missile Heritage Center Vandenberg Air Force Base Santa Barbara Central Coast Aerospace Evolution of missile and spacelift activity at Vandenberg
Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology Camarillo Ventura Central Coast Natural history Research museum with guided tours of its collection of bird, nest and egg specimens once a month
Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art Santa Barbara Santa Barbara Central Coast Art website, part of the Westmont College
Wildling Museum Los Olivos Santa Barbara Central Coast Art website, art of America’s wilderness
WWII Aviation Museum Camarillo Ventura Central Coast Aviation website, operated by Commemorative Air Force, Southern California Wing

Defunct museums[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Perry-Downer House". Historic Monterey. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 

External links[edit]