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Launching into our 50th Anniversary, and a New Online Collections Website (It’s a Big Day)!

by Anne Petersen

In 2013, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary and we want you to be a part of it!   We have several wonderful and creative ways for you to join in our year-long celebration, from drawing mental maps of the Presidio Neighborhood, to sending in photographs and stories, which we are collectively calling the SBTHP Memories Project. For more information and all the tools you need to contribute material to our Memories Project, visit our new 50th Anniversary webpage .  We also have an amazing slate of community events planned for the anniversary year.  You can keep tabs on all the latest event information through our calendar.

The header for our new Online Collections website, created by Christa Clark Jones.

Today, after one year of preparation, we are also launching a new website to present digital collections from the Presidio Research Center.   The new site, called Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation Collections Online, uses an open-source software designed for small museums and libraries to present their collections on the internet.  We have big plans for Collections Online, including uploading digital images of photographs, objects and audio files, so you can more easily see what kind of treasures are accessible through the Presidio Research Center. Special thanks go to project volunteers Atahan Eryol, a Computer Science intern from UCSB, for programming work to configure the site, and to Dan Petersen, a professional programmer, for hosting the software at no cost to SBTHP and for providing ongoing technical support.

Father Villa’s Band. Courtesy of the Deflina de la Guerra papers, Presidio Research Center.

At the time of launch, we are presenting two wonderful historical image collections.  The first, the papers of Delfina de la Guerra, include beautiful photographs, letters and dried flower keepsakes owned by the last de la Guerra to live in Casa de la Guerra.  Special thanks go to former Presidio Research Center Librarian Torie Quiñonez and Library Volunteer Katherine Lowe (you can see Katherine’s work here and here) for processing and digitizing the collection.  The second collection includes 21 Fiesta photographs from the 1920s and 30s donated to SBTHP by Pearl Chase.  SBTHP’s Higman Intern Stephanie Byrd created this digital collection last summer following a display of the collection during Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

Mental Map of the Presidio Neighborhood by William B. Dewey. Courtesy of the Presidio Research Center.

We  have also created digital collections of all of the incoming donations via the Memories Project, including Presidio Neighborhood Mental Maps, Oral Histories from the Presidio Research Center, and stories and photographs donated by community members like you!

One of the best aspects of the Online Collections site is its interactivity.  At the bottom of each item page there is a space for comments. If you recognize people or places in historic images, please leave a comment and let us know.  Crowd-sourced image projects like this through the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution have resulted in the identification of thousands of photographs via contributions from the public.  We hope it will help SBTHP too! We have also added social media buttons.  If you like an image, or have contributed an image yourself to our site, go ahead and share it on Facebook or Twitter! You can help build interest in and awareness of our collections.

Education Intern Eden Slone with the “Memory Catcher.” Photo by Karen Schultz Anderson.

We hope you enjoy browsing our new online collections website, and find some inspiration for your own contribution to our Memories Project.  We will be collecting memories at all of our public events in 2013 via a “memory catcher” created by Education Department Intern Eden Slone.  You can also submit to the Memories Project via email at We look forward to hearing from all of you during SBTHP’s 50th Anniversary in 2013!

Anne Petersen is associate director for historical resources at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. 

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