Your donation helps support the preservation and development of this historic site.

Fr. Virgil Cordano Living Memory Fund

For over 60 years, Fr. Virgil gave unselfishly to the people of Santa Barbara--ministering, teaching, loving, and being with people.  On May 22, 2008, he died just a few months prior to his ninetieth birthday, but his vision and his spirit certainly live on.  To honor a personal request by Fr. Virgil, we have established this living memory fund for the preservation and advancement of the Old Mission Santa Barbara.

This fund will be used to address not only the physical needs of the mission structure but will be used in the advancement of programs that respond to Fr. Virgil's call and the mission of this mission: to be a spiritual center; to educate and serve; to promote the arts and cultural heritage; to advance ecumenism; and to be a reconciling presence in the community.

Fr. Virgil expressed his hope that the important work that he loved, would continue and that the people of the community would be able to share in his vision.  This is your opportunity to give and to share in celebrating and perpetuating this important place.

"May We Celebrate What Unites Us."

Fr. Virgil Cordano, OFM

La Huerta

This mission-Era Garden is an ongoing adventure in recreating a 200-year-old chapter in California’s history and that of Old Mission Santa Barbara.

When the Spanish founded this Mission in 1786, a "huerta", or "garden", was quickly established to provide a continual source of food. The original huerta was a 6- to 10-acre orchard/garden site where the Spanish introduced edible plants and crops of commerce. As the Spanish expanded the 21-Mission system north of Baja beginning in 1769, each Mission had to quickly become a self-sufficient agricultural outpost.

The Old Mission Santa Barbara Huerta project is a living museum, a repository garden. It is a collection of heirloom and historic plants that once grew during the 65-year Mission era from 1769-1834.

The huerta currently includes fruit trees, grape vines, and many types of herbs and edible plants.

Staffed solely by volunteers, funds are needed for tools, soil amendment materials, and plant materials to continue this horticultural adventure. Also needed are funds for an interpretive center on the site to educate the public and to document this important resource.


Museum Expansion

Plans are on the drawing board to significantly upgrade our museum and expand it by 25%!

We have hundreds of artifacts in storage that need to be put on display and made available to the public! They include gold and silver items, Chumash pottery, baskets, and stone work, tools, weapons and musical instruments, paintings and photos; a huge collection of vestments, including one worn by Father Junipero Serra; statues, furniture, and many other items of historic significance.

However, we need funding to defray the cost of the expansion and upgrade! We need to purchase display cases, add interactive displays for children, and improve our interpretive signs and our lighting and security systems.  Please help us make available to the community all of our beautiful and historic artifacts.

Docent Training & Support Program

An integral part of Old Mission Santa Barbara and its museum, which includes the La Huerta project, are our knowledgeable and friendly volunteer docents who so graciously spend their time conveying to visitors the history and splendor of Old Mission Santa Barbara.  However, the cost of training and managing our docents has become too costly.  To defray those costs, we ask that you donate to this vital program so that we may continue telling not only our story but the story of the beginning of Santa Barbara as well.