By Monica Orozco
We’re on a mission at the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library. Our mission is to get out the word about who we are and what we do to as many people as possible. We think that when folks find out what a treasure they have here they will want to support us by becoming a member.
So many people still don’t know that we exist and are surprised to know we have been here since 1968 when SBMAL was established as a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit institution. And if people are familiar with us, they are often surprised by the scope of our collections or by finding out that we rely primarily on donations and grants and that we don’t get funding from the Catholic Church, the Franciscan Friars, or the state of California. Our members are key to helping us cover our operating costs and to keeping our doors open. That is why we are on a mission to introduce ourselves to people who may not know us, and to help those who do know who we are to get to know us better.
Last December (2013) the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library participated in an open house at Old Mission Santa Barbara that included an Advent musical program hosted by St. Barbara Parish and free admission to the Old Mission Museum. We participated with our own “open house” featuring a small exhibit of some of our most precious holdings in our Conference. Our SBMAL volunteers Barbara Ceriale, Sharon Parker, Gary Matz, and Louise Matz, joined by OMSB Museum docents Virginia Guess and Bessie Condos greeted visitors and answered questions about our exhibits. We have approximately 60 people visit us that evening, many for the first time.
It might be that in the future we will have the facilities and staff to be able to have a permanent exhibit space and be open regularly to the public, but unfortunately we don’t have the resources yet to make that possible. However we can have more of these “open house” events in the future, if there is an audience for these.
I would love to hear your thoughts on these outreach events. Please participate in the poll or leave your thoughts in the comments. And if you aren’t a member already, please consider joining by using this handy membershp form. If you are a member, thank you for your support and pass the form on to a friend!
Monica Orozco is the director of the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library