Compared to the sweeping vision proposed a couple years ago to ensure the future viability of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, what the administration submitted to the City of Santa Barbara for official review last week is rather insignificant: a maximum annual attendance at 165,547 (previous attempts aimed at 190,000-ish), a building expansion of just 82 square feet (compared to tens of thousands of square feet), and the removal of one parking space.

The scaled back plans represent museum leader Luke Swetland’s vision that, for the museum to be relevant for the next quarter-century, all that’s needed are revitalized gallery spaces/exhibits and the pairing of the outdoor with the indoor via educational programs that connect visitors to the ongoing research being conducted within the museum walls. They were submitted on March 17 and will begin official reviews soon.


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