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The Chumash Journey: A Timeless Legacy

Drawing inspiration from the Chumash cultural landscape, our museum stands as a testament to the Chumash people’s indomitable spirit.

Terra cotta tile, local stone, and adobe-like concrete bricks merge with native plants, boulders, and man-made water features, creating an immersive environment that resonates with the echoes of our past.

Here, our stories unfold, increasing public awareness of our continuing legacy in the region. We hope you will share our sense of pride in our heritage, and become a part of our enduring story.

We Are Chumash.

The Welcome House: An Embrace from Our Ancestors

Step into the largest ‘Ap of the Museum–the Welcome Gallery. Leave the outside world behind and feel the embrace from our Chumash Ancestors.

This dome-shaped space, illuminated by a skylight leads into the main exhibit galleries. Here’s where your journey into the heart of the museum begins.

Cultural Park: Our Living Museum

Explore our 3.5-acre cultural park and outdoor living museum. Enjoy storytelling in the amphitheater, discover outdoor exhibits, and experience our living village.

Our landscape brims with traditional plants used for food, medicine, and craft in Chumash culture. A basketry and cordage garden showcases the plants used in our ancient weaving practices.

The area is surrounded by oak trees and meadows planted with traditional use seed plants. Sycamores, walnut, and California bay laurel can be found in the low areas of the park.

This carefully curated environment creates a diverse habitat for animal and bird life in harmony with Chumash tradition, where balance and sustainability have played key roles for thousands of years.

Maria Solares Discovery Center: Nurturing Curiosity and Learning

In honor of Maria Solares – a revered ancestor and keeper of our Chumash language, stories, and teachings – this discovery center doubles as a classroom.

Children will embark on a journey of discovery, learning through traditional stories while marveling at rock art-inspired images and representations of the Chumash reverence of the Natural World.

The Heritage House: A Gathering Space for Cultural Sharing

Whether attending a cultural presentation, educational workshop, or lecture series, here is where guests learn, connect, and get inspired.

The Tomol House: A Tribute to Our Ancestors

In the heart of the cultural park is the Tomol House, home to Muptamai, a Chumash redwood plank canoe crafted in 2009. Our Tomol, whose name means “deep memories,” honors our ancestors and their enduring connection to the ocean.

Gift Shop: Unique and Timeless Souvenirs 

Browse art created by regional artisans, including traditional and contemporary jewelry, various forms of handmade artwork, books, beaded items, and traditional clothing. It’s located off the museum entry path on the north side.

Meet the Renowned Architect Behind the Chumash Museum: Johnpaul Jones

His exceptional portfolio includes over 650 projects, notably the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Jones merges ancestral wisdom with architectural innovation, and his design for the museum was no exception. Each main structure, oriented towards the west, pays tribute to the Chumash’s cultural identity as the “guardians of the west gate.”

Join us on this fascinating journey, where ancient wisdom meets modern design to tell a compelling story of the tribe’s enduring legacy.

© 2024 Santa Ynez Chumash Museum and Cultural Center.