Lectures

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Each year the SBTHP hosts lectures that cover a wide variety of subjects. Lecturers can be historians, artists, archaeologists, anyone with information to share about history that affects California.

Past Lectures

Understanding Santa Barbara’s Historic Resource Guidelines

A Special Zoom Panel Presentation

September 20, 2022

Do you ever wonder how the City of Santa Barbara helps preserve Santa Barbara’s rich architectural history? In 2021, The Santa Barbara City Council amended the Historic Resource Ordinance and adopted updated Historic Resource Design Guidelines, cementing the City’s recognition of the importance of protecting historic resources, and supporting decision-making that will ensure the continued maintenance, preservation, and enhancement of these resources. Please attend this Zoom panel presentation and discussion to learn about the policies that our City has put in place to protect and cherish our unique heritage. Panelists will explore our community’s architectural history, the current state of preservation at the City, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Learn how architects, historians, and community leaders are currently working together to preserve the past while forging a path to meet our community’s current and future needs.
 

Anthony Grumbine is a principal architect at Harrison Design, and specializes in the architecture of Santa Barbara. He is the current Chair of the City of Santa Barbara’s Historic Landmarks Commission, and the current president of Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation’s Board of Directors. 

 

Nicole Hernandez is the City of Santa Barbara’s Architectural Historian. She worked as Architectural Historian for five years at Historic Denver, Inc. and four years for the City of New Orleans before coming to join the City of Santa Barbara in 2012. 

Cassandra Ensberg is a Santa Barbara-based architect at ENSBERG JACOBS DESIGN INC. She served as President of the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara (AFSB) from 2014-2015, is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, a recipient of the AIASB 2020 Lutah Maria Riggs Medal, and a new commissioner on the Historic Landmarks Commission. She devotes much of her time in service to the community to educate about the essential role of art in design and architecture. 

The Urgency of Now: Sea Level Rise & its Effects on our Historic and Natural Resources

A Special Panel Presentation

May 19, 2022

SBTHP recently became a founding member of the Environmental Alliance of Santa Barbara County Museums. The Alliance’s inaugural project—Impact: Climate Change and the Urgency of Now (April-September 2022)—invited visitors to all 14 participating institutions to delve deeper into the complex and vexing challenge that is climate change.

 

Join us for a special Zoom Webinar panel discussion that sheds light about how rising sea levels caused by climate change impact our community’s historic and natural resources.

La Casa de la Raza: the History & Legacy of Santa Barbara's First Latinx Landmark

March 31, 2022

Located at 601 East Montecito Street, just blocks away from Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church and the Milpas corridor, the building that would later become known as Casa de la Raza was originally constructed in 1917, updated in 1929 and completed in the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style in 1931. In 1970, the 27,000 square foot building was sold for $140,000 to the Chicano Positive Movement, that later became La Casa de la Raza. 

 

In the early 1970s, La Casa de la Raza grew into a robust cultural community center for Santa Barbara’s Chicano/a and Latinx communities, providing childcare, English-language classes, computer skills classes, job training and career services, educational workshops and classes for youth, food preparation, concerts, and so much more. It has also been a space for weddings, quinceañeras, fundraisers, community organizing and cultural events. La Casa de la Raza has been an integral community space for over 50 years. 

 

Learn about and celebrate the history of this significant Eastside building, including the historic architectural features, beautiful artwork and unique human stories that have led to its status as Santa Barbara’s first Latinx City Landmark.

Foodways & Persistence: An Examination of Native American Diet at Mission Santa Clara (1777-1836)

March 3, 2022

Located in the San Francisco Bay within the homeland of the Tamien Ohlone, Mission Santa Clara was established in 1777. Over the course of the next 60 years, the mission housed multiple Native American groups including local Ohlone speakers, Yokuts-speaking people, and later Miwok individuals. While documents written by the Spanish soldiers, Franciscan padres and European visitors detail daily life within this colonial setting, none explore the lived indigenous experience. This project integrates historical texts and archaeological food remains recovered from excavations within the Rancherìa where the married Native Californians resided.

 

Food consumption is not merely an act required for survival, devoid of social meaning. Foodway practices can illuminate the persistence of native identity and opportunities for indigenous autonomy, therefore helping us see a more holistic history of the mission period in California.

The First Black Archaeologist: Exploring the Life of John Wesley Gilbert

February 16, 2022

Born into slavery in rural Georgia, John Wesley Gilbert went on to achieve national renown as a scholar, educator, community leader, and Christian missionary. Professor John W.I. Lee of the UC Santa Barbara History Department talked about his new biography, The First Black Archaeologist: A Life of John Wesley Gilbert, including a discussion of Gilbert’s California connections.

’Amuwu: Uncovering the Chumash Community at Mission La Purísima Concepción

August 12, 2021

We welcomed Kaitlin Brown, Ph.D. candidate at UCSB, who discussesed the 19th-century Chumash community at Mission La Purísima Concepción. Hidden behind the iconic salmon-colored bell tower, is the vibrant narrative of the indigenous Chumash community that lived there between 1813 -1848. This settlement, known as ’Amuwu, relocated to the present-day mission after the original Mission La Purísima Vieja collapsed in an earthquake. Recent archaeological research has uncovered more about the internal dynamics of this community including foodway patterns, and evidence for trade and exchange, as seen through the identification of invertebrate and vertebrate taxa as well as glass and shell beads. The study of these materials highlights how mission laborers sustained traditional practices while incorporating new ways of living into their daily routines, constructing their own histories and developing a new group identity.

What Now? Thoughts About Santa Barbara's Tomorrow

June 24, 2021

How should Santa Barbara respond to mounting pressure to meet new urban development demands? 


In the final event of our five-part virtual dialogue series, Santa Barbara: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, we invited back all our presenters for a culminating panel discussion. Moderated by SBTHP Board President, architect Anthony Grumbine, the panel offered ideas and perspectives for Santa Barbara’s future and addressed audience questions that were asked throughout the series.

This series was sponsored by Allen Construction, Appleton Partners, LLP, Ashley & Vance Engineering, Inc., Cearnal Collective, DeAragon Group, Suzanne Elledge Planning & Permitting Services, Inc., Giffin & Crane General Contractors, LLC, Harrison Design, Santa Barbara Independent, and Village Properties Realtors.

Santa Barbara Belonging: Commemorating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Part Three: A Cultural Celebration

May 26, 2021

Join us for a virtual celebration highlighting Santa Barbara’s diverse AAPI cultural traditions and heritage. Performances included Taiko drumming, spoken word, dance, folk music and more.

Santa Barbara Belonging: Commemorating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Part Two: A Community Conversation

May 19, 2021

We heard from local business owners who shared perspectives on the contemporary AAPI experience in Santa Barbara. The panel featured Allison Yin of Shanghai and Wild Lavender, Jill Agonias of Divinitree Santa Barbara, and Tommy Chang of MŌR Doughnuts. As we engage with the experiences of our friends and neighbors, we will explore ways to support the AAPI community and serve as allies when needed. The discussion was facilitated by Kai Tepper, Outreach Program Manager for the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation and Co-Chair of the SBTHP's Asian American Affinity Group. Kai serves on the City of Santa Barbara's Arts Advisory Committee. She is Japanese-American and grew up in Santa Barbara.⁣

Santa Barbara Belonging: Commemorating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Part One: Understanding Our History

May 12, 2021

To understand the outrage and fear many feel in response to recent acts of prejudice and violence towards members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, we must better understand the history of the Asian American experience. In this first part of our series, historian and professor, Dr. Lily Anne Welty Tamai provided this historical background. SBTHP Director of Programs Danny Tsai shared the history of the local AAPI community.

Missing Middle Housing and Zoning for Predictable Placemaking

May 5, 2021

To continue our discussion about Santa Barbara’s future, we were joined by Daniel Parolek, an architect, urbanist and the founder of Opticos Design in San Francisco. Daniel has been working in urban placemaking and master planning for two decades and is the author of Missing Middle Housing – Thinking Big and Building Small to Respond to Today’s Housing Crisis, a how-to book exploring these issues published earlier this year. 

 

The presentation was followed by a panel discussion featuring Santa Barbara-based architect Henry Lenny and the Executive Director of Downtown Santa Barbara, Robin Elander.

This series was sponsored by Allen Construction, Appleton Partners, LLP, Ashley & Vance Engineering, Inc., Cearnal Collective, DeAragon Group, Suzanne Elledge Planning & Permitting Services, Inc., Giffin & Crane General Contractors, LLC, Harrison Design, Santa Barbara Independent, and Village Properties Realtors.

Traditional Urbanism for Today & Tomorrow

April 7, 2021

Santa Barbara is in need of long-term, sustainable urban and suburban development solutions. We need to consider our present and future urban design needs within the context of keeping Santa Barbara's character. Utilizing the method of looking to our past and to experts to give us clarity and direction for making decisions about Santa Barbara’s future, renowned Greek American architect Stefanos Polyzoides shared his challenges and successes, most notably his acclaimed design efforts in revitalizing another similar-sized Southern California town, the City of Pasadena.

 

The presentation was followed by a panel discussion featuring Santa Barbara City Councilwoman Kristen Sneddon and Santa Barbara-based architects Cass Ensberg and Leo Casas.

This series was sponsored by Allen Construction, Appleton Partners, LLP, Ashley & Vance Engineering, Inc., Cearnal Collective, DeAragon Group, Suzanne Elledge Planning & Permitting Services, Inc., Giffin & Crane General Contractors, LLC, Harrison Design, Santa Barbara Independent, and Village Properties Realtors.

Understanding Yesterday: Architectural History & Theory

March 24, 2021

Faced with new challenges, including state-required housing mandates, the City of Santa Barbara is looking for ways to revitalize its core and provide more housing for a growing population. Architectural historian Dr. Dennis Doordan provided a historical perspective on the urban development of Santa Barbara in the context of the revival of interest in traditional urbanism in the United States.

The presentation was followed by a panel discussion featuring current Planning Commissioner for the City of Santa Barbara, Roxana F. Bonderson, AIA.

This series was sponsored by Allen Construction, Appleton Partners, LLP, Ashley & Vance Engineering, Inc., Cearnal Collective, DeAragon Group, Suzanne Elledge Planning & Permitting Services, Inc., Giffin & Crane General Contractors, LLC, Harrison Design, Santa Barbara Independent, and Village Properties Realtors.

Today, at the Crossroads

March 10, 2021

The City of Santa Barbara faces many challenges, including the need to develop more housing and a plan to revitalize its downtown core. We have reached an important crossroads. Anthony Grumbine introduced our Dialogue Series and addressed the many questions and concerns that the City administration and our community stakeholders are grappling with as efforts to move forward with an actionable plan intensify.

The presentation was followed by a panel discussion featuring Santa Barbara’s Senior Assistant to the City Administrator Nina Johnson and City of Santa Barbara Architectural Historian Nicole Hernandez, and moderated by SBTHP’s Executive Director, Anne Petersen.

This series was sponsored by Allen Construction, Appleton Partners, LLP, Ashley & Vance Engineering, Inc., Cearnal Collective, DeAragon Group, Suzanne Elledge Planning & Permitting Services, Inc., Giffin & Crane General Contractors, LLC, Harrison Design, Santa Barbara Independent, and Village Properties Realtors.

The Anza Trail Today and Commemorating 250 Years

February 4, 2021

The years 2025 and 2026 will mark the 250th anniversary of the historic Anza Expedition. Since the establishment of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail in 1990, public history has changed dramatically. We have broadened our understanding of the people and forces at play during the expedition and included multiple narratives in the story. Join Naomi Torres, Superintendent of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail for an update on trail activities to date and a shared view into the future.

Migrant Longing: Letter Writing Across the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

January 10, 2021

Drawing upon a personal collection of more than 300 letters exchanged between her parents and other family members across the U.S.-Mexico border, Miroslava Chávez-García recreates and gives meaning to the hope, fear, and longing migrants experienced in their everyday lives both "here" and "there" (aqui y alla). As private sources of communication hidden from public consumption and historical research, the letters provide a rare glimpse into the deeply emotional, personal, and social lives of ordinary Mexican men and women as recorded in their immediate, firsthand accounts. Chávez-García demonstrates not only how migrants struggled to maintain their sense of humanity in el norte but also how those remaining at home made sense of their changing identities in response to the loss of loved ones who sometimes left for weeks, months, or years at a time, or simply never returned.

This event was co-hosted by the UCSB History Associates.

José de la Guerra's Commerce with Asia and Liverpool at Mexican Independence

December 10, 2020

Marie Christine Duggan, Ph.D of Keene State College discussed José Antonio de la Guerra y Noriega, who was the nephew of a powerful merchant in Mexico City. In 1798, his uncle put him in to California’s supply line, probably to obtain otter hides for export to Asia. When Spain ceased to finance the colony in 1810, De la Guerra guided California’s economy into trade with Manila, San Blas, Lima, Manila, Canton and Liverpool.

Sheila Lodge: An UNcommonplace American Town

November 15, 2020

Sheila Lodge discussed her new book, Santa Barbara: An UNcommonplace American Town, about how Santa Barbara became the community that it is through planning. She described the many battles it sometimes took and the process that was developed to make the critical decisions. Because of her personal involvement in the struggles, her book is partially a memoir. Her book is available for purchase in our gift shop.

This event was co-hosted by the UCSB History Associates.

The Chinese Railroad Workers of North America Project

November 11, 2020

Dr. Barbara Voss, Director of Archaeology for the Chinese Railroad Workers of North America Project at Stanford University, filmmaker Barre Fong, and associates screened Making Ties: The Cangdong Village Project and hosted a panel discussion on the film and the contributions of Chinese to the American West, specifically the transcontinental railroad. Learn about their collaborative research program studying the home villages of the 19th century Chinese immigrants.

This lecture was a part of SBTHP's series Advances in Preservation & Archaeology of Asian American Places.

Preserving the Harada House

November 4, 2020

Lisa Masengale, Curator of Historic Structures for the City of Riverside's Museum Department, discussed the importance of the Harada House to Japanese American history and their ongoing work to conserve, restore, and stabilize the building. The house was the focus of a critical application of the California Alien Land Law of 1913, which prevented foreigners who were ineligible for citizenship from owning property. The state of California attempted to seize the property from the family in California v. Harada, but the Haradas ultimately won the case and retained ownership of the house. In 2020, Harada House was named one of the most endangered historic places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

This lecture was a part of SBTHP's series Advances in Preservation & Archaeology of Asian American Places.