July 26, 2018

Museum of Natural History Receives Funding to Restore Historic “Stegosaurus Wall”

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History recently received funds from the Mission Canyon Association, the Upper East Association, the Riviera Association, private donors, and a grant in excess of $8,000 from the Pearl Chase Society to restore the historic Hazard Estate Scottish picket wall along the Museum’s front entrance.

As part of its Centennial Campaign to improve and revitalize the 17-acre campus, the Museum looked for ways to restore important historic architectural elements. Often referred to as the “stegosaurus wall” by Museum visitors due to its stone pickets resembling plates along a stegosaurus’ back, the sandstone wall was originally built in the late 1800s as part of the boundary wall of the Hazard family’s Mission Hill Estate.

Founded in 1916 by William Leon Dawson as the Museum of Comparative Oology, the Museum moved to its current location in 1922 thanks to the generous gift of Miss Caroline Hazard, who donated part of her extensive estate to provide the land for the Museum. Caroline’s sister-in-law, Mrs. Rowland Gibson Hazard, provided the funds to build the original Museum structures. From that small but auspicious beginning, the Museum has grown to include all aspects of natural history.

Over the years, a number of the wall’s sandstone pickets became loose, were removed, or lost, and landscaping had grown to obscure some of the most aesthetically pleasing stretches of the wall. The funds from neighboring homeowners associations and the Pearl Chase Society allowed the Museum to bring the wall back to its original condition. Visitors now enter the Museum through the historic entrance that looks just as it did to visitors in 1922, a wonderful restoration of architecture and the satisfying continuity of a delightful visitor experience.

In addition to restoring the historic Hazard wall, the Museum’s renovations also added a landscaped pedestrian-friendly esplanade along the entire frontage of Puesta del Sol to increase accessibility and safe passage to the Museum from Mission Canyon Road.

The Museum reopened its transformed Mammal and Bird Halls, and unveiled the new Santa Barbara Gallery on June 1. The Museum plans to open its new Sprague Butterfly Pavilion and revamped Backyard and Nature Clubhouse in mid-September.

For more information on the Museum’s Centennial Campaign, visit https://campaign.sbnature.org.

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