Eighteen Santa Barbara County Museums Announce Access Program for Low-Income Families

Eighteen museums across Santa Barbara County have joined Museums for All, a signature access program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), administered by the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), to encourage people of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build lifelong museum-going habits.

The program supports those receiving food assistance (CalFresh/SNAP) benefits by offering admission to these 18 Santa Barbara County museums for a minimal fee of $0-3 per person, up to four people, with the presentation of a CalFresh (SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer – EBT) card. Similar free and reduced admission is available to eligible members of the public at more than 700 museums across the country. Museums for All is part of these Santa Barbara County museums’ broad commitment to seek, include, and welcome all audiences.

Participating Santa Barbara County museums:

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History President & CEO Luke J. Swetland believes, “This collaboration activates the transformative power of the county’s museums and cultural institutions to sustain our residents’ most important human impulses and needs – to open our eyes, to delight our senses, to feed our minds, and to raise up our spirits. For those among us who are most economically challenged, these needs are acute and urgent, though too often ignored or sidelined. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is proud and humble to be a part of this effort to raise all of us up together.”

Robin Gose, president and CEO of MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation sees the program as a key part of museums’ accessibility and inclusion efforts. “We all want our museums and institutions to be inclusive and to be places where all in our community feel welcome. We know there are certain people who, for a variety of reasons, don’t choose to visit museums. This county-wide embrace of the Museums for All program is an important step in removing a barrier to attendance. We hope that by offering free or reduced admission, we are eliminating financial reasons for not visiting. For MOXI, it is especially important to offer equitable access to families with children because every child deserves the same opportunities to learn and thrive by having fun learning experiences outside the home or classroom,” said Gose.

Stacey Otte-Demangate, Executive Director of Wildling Museum of Art & Nature added, “We are proud to join the other museums in our county to ensure that there is no barrier for our community to enjoy the diverse programs and exhibitions we each offer.” 

Since the program’s inception in 2014, Museums for All has helped expand access to museums by facilitating more than 3,000,000 visits across the country and raised public awareness about how museums in the U.S. are reaching their entire communities. More than 700 institutions participate in the initiative, including art museums, children’s museums, science centers, botanical gardens, zoos, history museums, and more. Participating museums are located nationwide, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

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