The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is proud to announce the launch of a newly designed, mobile-responsive website aimed to improve navigation, usability, and visitor experience. With simplified navigation optimized for mobile devices, the website seeks to answer visitors’ most common questions about hours, exhibits, upcoming events, educational programs, and collections. Leveraging current user experience and web design best practices, the site is highly visual and intuitive, featuring stunning photography with clean, consistent text.
In addition to the sleek design, the website includes new features such as the SBnature Blog and Ask a Curator. The goal for both is to increase public access to the wealth of knowledge and research housed at the Museum, which includes over 3.5 million specimens and a team of 11 curators. The Museum‘s Department of Anthropology specializes in Chumash culture, language, and history, sharing research and providing access to items of cultural significance for native communities. The Department of Invertebrate Zoology is particularly strong in the fields of malacology and entomology, and curators have described many species previously unknown to science. The Department of Vertebrate Zoology houses vertebrate specimens from around the world, with an emphasis on birds and eggs. The department also manages paleontological specimens, including many from Channel Islands National Park. The wealth of material behind the scenes extends from specimen-based collections to the books and archival resources of the Museum Library, and the collection of antique natural history prints displayed in the Maximus Gallery. The SBnature Blog will tell the stories of these treasures hidden beyond the exhibits.
Museum staff—particularly curators and naturalists—have always been involved in answering questions from the public about our natural environment. The new Ask a Curator feature creates a centralized place for the public to submit questions and receive answers drawing on the expertise of Museum curators. Both questions and answers are publicly visible, so visitors can benefit from the curiosity of those who came before.
The website redesign paves the way for the Museum’s grand reopening. Following ten months of renovations supported by the $20 million Centennial Campaign, the beloved Mammal and Bird Halls and new Santa Barbara Gallery will be unveiled to the public on June 2 as well as a new ADA and stroller-compliant arrival plaza and esplanade along Puesta del Sol. The Museum Backyard and Nature Club House are slated to reopen in August. All Museum patrons, and especially children, will find their experience vastly improved with more interactive, hands-on, and engaging spaces.