Santa Barbara Historical Museum presents special exhibit during Old Spanish Days
A full-fledged Fiesta has set the stage for a full-fledged “Project Fiesta!” at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.
Because of pandemic restrictions, the museum presented limited Fiesta exhibits during the past three years, including one that was entirely outside. This year’s “Project Fiesta!” is back inside the museum and features displays of restored costumes, shawls, posters, art, artifacts, historical photos and some surprises.
The annual exhibit is on view through Sept. 11 at the museum, 136 E. De la Guerra St., Santa Barbara.
New this year are masks and scrapbook excerpts.
On view for the first time are several whimsical handmade cloth and papier-mâché masks used in Fiesta performances of the 1950s and 1960. Jerry Brosik created them for folklorico dances performed at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse during Fiesta. The pig, reptile, two roosters and other masks are on loan from the John E. Profant Foundation for the Arts. These and more masks can be seen in exhibit photos from historic and modern Fiesta performances.
A large scrapbook from the first year of Old Spanish Days is among the 47 scrapbooks spanning 80 years that were recently transferred by Old Spanish Days to the museum’s Gledhill Research Library. The book on view has been fully digitized and can be explored by visitors to the exhibit.
“We want to go all-out for a major Fiesta exhibition for its hundredth anniversary in two years,” said Dacia Harwood, the museum’s executive director, in a news release. “Our collection is vast, but there are some gaps, so we are asking the public for their help. For example, we want to exhibit the colorful posters from every year that they were made, and more film and home movies from past Fiesta events would be terrific as well.”
The exhibit includes 40 pieces of fine art, thousands of photos, hundreds of oral histories, official badges from every Fiesta, hundreds of souvenir pins, trophies, plates, and more than 200 items of clothing, including suits worn by early El Presidentes and the robe used by Saint Barbara from 1950 to 2012.
Also on display are the Spirit of Fiesta dresses and clothing from historic families such as the De la Guerra.