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Creating a Lasting Legacy

Our mission is to promote respect, knowledge, and dialogue by collecting, preserving, and presenting outstanding collections, images, and programs about Chumash culture. Our stories will connect the past with the present to inform our shared future.

WHO We Are

A Bridge Between Past and Future:

Our Journey to Preserve Chumash Heritage

The idea of building a museum for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians began some 50 years ago. In the mid-1970s, a tule ‘Ap was constructed on the Santa Ynez Reservation to showcase Chumash artifacts.

In 2000, the real momentum began when the tribe submitted an application to place a 6.9-acre parcel across from the reservation into federal trust to build a museum.

Once the land was placed into federal trust in 2014, the tribe hired the renowned  Jones and Jones architectural firm to begin plans for the tribal museum.

Our Museum’s Legacy of Heritage and Innovation:

A Masterpiece of Culture and Architecture

The Chumash Museum’s design and architecture, led by Johnpaul Jones, is a special place that allows the tribe to share its rich cultural heritage with the public. 

The Chumash Museum is designed to showcase the Chumash people, both in tradition and in daily life, including areas of medicine, language, song and music, tribal gatherings, family, and community.

Elements of Chumash culture will surround visitors as they progress through the museum, beginning at the Welcome Gallery. The permanent exhibit gallery is where the tribe’s message that spans thousands of years will be told, and a classroom is available for kid-friendly learning and exploration.

Other spaces include a gathering house amphitheater and lush gardens that help visitors learn about the sustainability and balance that have played important roles in Chumash culture for generations.

As you enter this place, we honor our Ancestors and welcome family, friends, and visitors from all over the world with a blessing and prayer of hope that you will open your heart and mind to learn about our culture.

– Welcome (Chumash Prayer Blessing)


Our Museum is LEED® SILVER Certified

The U.S. Green Building Council awarded the Santa Ynez Chumash Museum and Cultural Center LEED Silver Certification (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design). This prestigious award recognizes our unwavering commitment to energy conservation and environmental awareness.

Our project scored high marks for its water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials and resources, and innovation in design.

As the world’s most widely used green building rating system, LEED provides a framework for creating highly-efficient and cost-saving green buildings that have a real impact on our environment:

  • 34% fewer CO2 emissions
  • 25% less energy consumption
  • 11% less water usage

© 2024 Santa Ynez Chumash Museum and Cultural Center.