Preserve the Mission

Having been in existence for 225 years, Old Mission Santa Barbara, like any other site of historical importance, is in constant need of major maintenance and repairs.  To assist us in our efforts, we applied for and were granted funding from the Save America’s Treasures (SAT) program through the National Park Service, the sole purpose of which is to bring hundreds of millions of dollars for restoration to nationally significant historic sites and special collections across the country.  Within the next two years, we need to complete project assessments, fundraising, and actual construction and restoration.

The most important, and by far the most expensive, project at hand is the repair of the sandstone walls and pillars of the portico, which runs along the front of the Mission.  Preliminary tests show that the sandstone contains high levels of moisture, which causes the sandstone to literally turn back into sand.  Every day we collect handfuls of sand near walls and pillars with exposed sandstone.  Hydrological analyses are underway to determine the source of the moisture so that a proper course of action can be taken to mitigate further damage.

Below is a list of the projects within the SAT grant:

  • Repair of the convento wing walls
  • Structural reinforcement of the entrance to the crypt beneath the church floor
  • Replacement of the church solstice window to a more historically accurate style
  • Repointing of the mortar in the Lavandaria brickwork
  • Restoration of important artifacts and artwork

To meet the requirements of the grant, we need to raise a minimum of $650,000 within the next two years to match the funds we received or forfeit a portion of the original award.  However, our needs far exceed the ability of the grant to meet them; the grant is merely a way of stimulating a much more significant fundraising effort toward our preservation and maintenance efforts.  That is why we are asking you to help see us through this project so we may maintain and restore the Mission in a manner befitting the Queen of the Missions.