For the People, By the People: Government at Work in Santa Barbara
County 1850-1950 Exhibition at Channing Peake Gallery
Have you ever wondered how the County government we have today, evolved from the government of yesterday? The County Board of Supervisors with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission has organized For the People, By the People: Government at Work in Santa Barbara County 1850-1950 exhibition featuring a historical look back at the origins of government in Santa Barbara County. On view at the Channing Peake Gallery in the Santa Barbara County Administration Building, 1st floor, 105 East Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara from June 29 through September 18, 2015, with an opening reception on 1st Thursday, July 2, 5-8pm. Gallery hours are M – F 8am – 5pm. This is a collaborative project between the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, Third District County Supervisor Doreen Farr and County Clerk of the Board, the UCSB History and Art History Departments and the UCSB Special Collections Library.
For the first time, historic minute books of the Board of Supervisors dating from the inception of the County in 1850 will be on public display. These handwritten volumes offer a fascinating window into the transition of California from a Mexican territory to a State of the Union as it attempts to find political and social footing amid rapid change.
The exhibition coincides with the ongoing extraordinary digitization, archival storage and restoration of approximately 90,000 pages of legislative history of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors. This archival project will allow increased public access to government records, prolong the life of the documents through reduction of handling, and professionally restore the ledger books.
Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, who secured county funding for the digitization and preservation of the historic minute books, stated, “I am very excited about this exhibition which will showcase these unique ledger books for the public’s viewing. It is critically important that we invest in the preservation of these unique and fragile records which document the history of our County from its very beginning. I am hopeful that this exhibition and corresponding restoration project will enable the public to make new discoveries about Santa Barbara County’s rich local history.”
The exhibition brings to life the history makers who would shape Santa Barbara County and help define what it is today including Joaquin Carrillo and Pablo de la Guerra, scions of influential Spanish families as well as pioneers such as Nicholas Den and Charles Fernald who would travel thousands of miles as part of a great Western migration before settling in Santa Barbara. In addition to the original ledger books, the exhibition includes vintage photos, maps and artifacts. “I’m very enthusiastic about making our 165 year history available online and I’m hopeful that others will find the passages as interesting as I have,” said Mike Allen, Clerk of the Board.
The images and associated vignettes examine the economic, social and political growth of the County from its earliest beginnings, through the recovery after the great earthquake of 1929 to the influence of the Federal PWA (1933 Public Works Administration) and WPA (1935 Works Progress Administration) programs as the Country emerged from the Great Depression. Through this exhibition, and the digitization of all the ledger books, we encourage all citizens to contemplate our history in order to gain a greater understand of who we are today.
ORGANIZATIONS: Santa Barbara County Arts Commission and Third District County Supervisor Doreen Farr and County Clerk of the Board
EXHIBITION: For the People, By the People: Government at Work in Santa Barbara County 1850-1950
LOCATION: The Channing Peake Gallery, 1st floor, County Administration Bldg., 105 East Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara, CA
EXHIBITION DATES: June 29 through September 18, 2015
OPENING RECEPTION: 1st Thursday, July 2, 5-8pm