The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History hosted its Leadership Circles of Giving Dinner on Thursday, January 16 in the beautifully renovated Fleischmann Auditorium. The annual event recognized the generosity of Leadership Circles Members and key donors who contributed to the success of the 2019 year. Catered by chef Pete Clements, the décor included gems and minerals from the Museum’s Earth Science Collections.
A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Legacy Awards. The Museum’s Legacy Award was created in 2010 by the board of trustees, and recognizes extraordinary contributions by community supporters, donors, and volunteers who have made the Museum the exceptional and beloved institution it is today. This year the awards were presented to the Hind Foundation, Joan Seaver Kurze, Ph.D., and Fred Schaeffer.
The Hind Foundation’s mission is to preserve cultural heritage, and it focuses on music, visual arts, plant and wildlife conservation, and historical restoration projects. The Hind family has been incredibly generous to the Museum since 2006 and has supported numerous projects including the installation of the Blue Whale skeleton (a landmark in its own right), summer exhibitions, the Centennial Capital Campaign, and most recently, the Fleischmann Auditorium Improvement Project. In presenting the award, Museum President & CEO Luke Swetland shared, “It is most appropriate for Jane [Hind] and the Hind Foundation to be receiving the Legacy Award, because through their philanthropic support they are ensuring a legacy at the Museum for generations to come.”
Dr. Kurze is an anthropologist focusing on Chumash rock art and basketry and as well as the Rapa Nui people (the aboriginal Polynesian inhabitants of Easter Island). She has shared her knowledge and expertise by serving the Museum as a trustee and a volunteer for many years. When asked about her involvement over the decades, she noted, “The Museum was like a home away from home. I really liked the people whom I met and what they did. They seemed so pleased with their work. People…are real people here. I was impressed with what the Museum stands for and its values.”
Fred Schaeffer has been a dedicated and invaluable volunteer in the Museum’s Anthropology Department for 25 years, since retiring from Delco as an electrical engineer. His technical background has allowed him to help radiocarbon-date the Museum’s archaeological collections, and to date he has accumulated, calibrated, and analyzed well over 500 dates. Curator of Anthropology John Johnson, Ph.D., expressed during the award ceremony that “Fred is not really a volunteer, he is a friend, and is like an additional staff member in our department. We are grateful for his past and continuing service to the collections and research at our Museum.”
About the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Powered by Science. Inspired by Nature. Founded in 1916, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History inspires a thirst for discovery and a passion for the natural world. The Museum seeks to connect people to nature for the betterment of both, and prides itself on being naturally different. For more information, visit sbnature.org.