Girls celebrating Day of the Dead
(Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History)
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The MAH is open. Come find your space.

Learn more about the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH) and how to support and connect with this center for culture, creativity, and community.

The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH) is open in every sense of the word—open-minded, open-hearted, and open to all people. Open is the way we think and act every day as we make and share space with our community.

People in the museum
(Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History)

Established in 1996, the MAH is a beloved local institution known for its exhibitions, programs, collections, and publications, housed within a civic landmark in the heart of downtown. Serving tens of thousands of people each year, we offer rotating art and history exhibitions, visual and performing artworks, public festivals, education and outreach programs, and cultural celebrations in collaboration with our many partners.

The year 2021 is our silver anniversary, representing 25 years of impact in Santa Cruz County. Today we are proud to carry forth what our forebears started—a longstanding tradition of enriching the community with a deep understanding of our shared past, an appreciation for arts and culture, and collaborations around issues that matter. It is through these and many other efforts that we contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of our city and county.

Now we forge boldly ahead with our inventive offerings, working with colleagues and partner groups to breathe new life into our cultural scene and public spaces. This has become more important than ever as we navigate the pandemic and devise novel ways to reconnect and rebuild. We hope you have enjoyed some of our recent programming, such as the Redball Project, Beyond the Grave series, and Frequency festival. Made possible by support from donors and key partners, these initiatives advance our mission to bring people together through art and local history to explore our diverse cultures.

People in the museum gallery
The RedBall Project artwork outside the MAH in June 2021.
(Jack Sorokin, courtesy Kurt Perschke)

Moving forward, community support will be crucial to the museum’s success. We have an exciting lineup of projects in 2022, including a slate of dynamic exhibitions and another new festival called CommonGround. We greatly appreciate your involvement, and welcome any and all input as to how we can best serve you.

Why Support the MAH?

As a civic hub at the heart of downtown Santa Cruz, the MAH is a symbol of how urban space can be revitalized into a thriving center where people from all walks of life congregate and commune over a shared love for the arts and humanities.

People in the museum gallery
The Art of the Santa Cruz Speed Wheel exhibition at the MAH, on view through January 2, 2022.
(Orbie Pullen Photography)
People eating in Abbott Square
Abbott Square, the MAH’s public plaza.
(Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History)

Our successes to date are many—from the transformation of Abbott Square to the huge growth in visitors we have mobilized over the last 10 years, to the groundbreaking participatory museum movement we helped to pioneer.

Now we take our good work deeper into the community with innovative public art, unexpected creative experiences, opportunities to learn about our collective history, and new outreach strategies, while circling back to ensure the MAH serves the needs of our community. Suffice it to say, as much as we have accomplished, there are many great things yet on the horizon. When you support the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, it is not a gamble. You are joining a committed professional team with a long record of success working tirelessly on behalf of the community to take the museum to new levels of engagement, collaboration, and programmatic excellence.

There are several ways to support the MAH, with many benefits and opportunities offered to recognize and thank our donors and volunteers. To learn more about membership and giving programs, please visit our website.

Ocean of Light: Submergence exhibition at the MAH, on view through January 2, 2022.
Ocean of Light: Submergence exhibition at the MAH, on view through January 2, 2022.
(Orbie Pullen Photography)

Our Future

As we close out a year of self-reflection and growth, we are confident that the experience we have gained, through successes and challenges alike, has clarified our value to, and impact on, the Santa Cruz County community. That understanding illuminates a path forward, empowering the MAH to better serve the needs and desires of all our residents and guests.

Thank you for sharing and supporting our journey. Here’s to the next 25 years.