David Bisol, executive director of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, died Saturday. He was 60 years old.

Bisol was in an accident earlier this month, the details of which have not been publicly released. The museum announced last week that its chief development officer, Douglas Diller, had been appointed acting director while Bisol recovered.

The American flag in front of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum flies at half-mast after David Bisol's passing

Museum president Marlene Miller issued this statement Saturday: “This morning we are devastated by the loss of our beloved leader and visionary, David. He was an inspiration to so many in our community and for me — a true, dear friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with David’s devoted family today.”

Bisol grew up in Goleta and majored in history at UCSB. He first joined the museum as a junior historian and served as its curator for 17 years before he was appointed executive director in 2007.

The museum was closed for the weekend as organization members mourned the loss.

Here is a selection of messages community members left on the museum’s Facebook page about Bisol’s passing:

James Kyriaco Jr – So, so sorry to hear this. Such a kind and knowledgeable man.

Helene Schneider – David’s passing is a huge loss to Santa Barbara. I appreciated his vision and dedication. He will be missed.

Naomi Kovacs – I was saddened to hear the news of David’s death just now. I served on the Santa Barbara Conservancy’s Board of Directors with him, and always appreciated his thoughtfulness, vision, knowledge, input… My sincere condolences to everyone at the museum, his friends, and his family.

Laurie Starks – Very sad to hear. Condolences to is family. What a loss for our community.

Sidney Adams-Raney – Oh dear, I only just found out David was in a coma… All too sudden, all very, very sad. He will be missed. Heart felt condolences to his friends, and family.


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