Santa Barbara Maritime Museum enlists legendary guests to promote new exhibit
On Saturday, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum hosted an opportunity of mythical proportions, a unique mermaid sighting event which was open to the public.
The event was to kick-off the opening of the new exhibit “Mermaids: Visualizing the Myths & Legends – Photography by Ralph A. Clevenger & Friends.”
The exhibit will be open through March.
“I think it’s a pretty special opportunity to see large format prints of underwater mermaids. The fact that they are under water is pretty unique. It really features the magic of mermaids in their natural habitat,” artist Ralph A. Clevenger told the Newspress.
The public was invited to meet the mermaids in the harbor, have their pictures taken with them, and view the new exhibit. The mermaids were also visible in the harbor that day between 12-1 pm around the museum’s flagship Ranger. The sponsors of the event were Jack Mithun, Mercedes Millington and Chuck and Mary Wilson.
Two outdoor photography sessions were made available to the public from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. or from 1-2 p.m., though both sessions required pre-registration. Sessions had the option to include up to a maximum of four people per photo. Both time slots were sold out and there was a waiting line for the 11:30 photo session.
When the newspress spoke with Greg Gorga, executive director of the Museum, while the event was ongoing, Mr. Gorgo estimated that approximately 200 people had attended the event at that point.
“I think it is a wonderful experience that we have for families, to be able to come and take a photo with the mermaids. We are a family and interactive museum. This exhibit not only exhibits the work of Ralph Clevenger, but also the work of students as well,” Mr. Gorga told the Newspress.
This exhibit was born out of a presentation and lecture that Mr. Clevenger had presented at the Museum on White Sharks, which was expanded to include mermaids; at the end of the presentation, 80% of the questions were about the mermaids. So due to audience demand, the exhibit was born, and Mr. Clevenger worked closely with Museum Curator & Director of Collections, Emily Falke to create the event.