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

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 Enhancement

Plans are underway to upgrade our museum with new and enhanced exhibits, and interactive displays.

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

However, funding is needed to defray the cost of these new exhibits. Additional display cases, interactive displays for children, and improvements to our interpretive signs, lighting, and security systems are only a few of the priorities we are pursuing to enhance the Mission experience for our guests. Please help us to make all our beautiful and historic artifacts available for viewing by the community.

Virgil Cordano Living Memory Fund

The beloved “spiritual godfather” of California’s Channel City, Fr. Virgil gave unselfishly to the people of Santa Barbara for more than 60 years – ministering, teaching, loving, and being with them.  On May 22, 2008, just a few months prior to his ninetieth birthday, Fr. Virgil passed away, but his vision and 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 Old Mission Santa Barbara.

This fund will be used to address not only the physical needs of the Mission structure but for 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 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 both celebrating and perpetuating this important place.

“May We Celebrate What Unites Us.”

Fr. Virgil Cordano, OFM

Docent Training & Support Program

An integral part of Old Mission Santa Barbara and its museum, which includes the La Huerta project, is our knowledgeable and friendly volunteer staff of docents who so graciously spend their time conveying to visitors the history and splendor of Old Mission Santa Barbara.

However, the expense of training and managing our docents has become costly.  To defray those costs, any donation you are able to make to this vital program is invaluable to us. Our goal is to continue to build upon our Docent program so that we may continue educating our visitors and telling not only our story but the story of the beginning of Santa Barbara as well.