Santa Barbara’s Hidden Treasure

Things to Do, What's New — By kwanberg on December 30, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Rincon Point. Photo by crawfish head/Flickr

In 1992, James O’Mahoney—a sixty-something surfer, skater, antique enthusiast, and artist—opened the Santa Barbara Surfing Museum to the public… for free. Located on Helena Street on the south end of the creative, industrial area of town (known as the funk zone), you’ll find an unassuming entrance to a space filled with surf-inspired art and artifacts—from classic boards by master shapers to the ukulele played by Marilyn Monroe’s character in Some Like it Hot. Recently, O’Mahoney gave the museum a makeover, and in doing so decided to open a new space for his non-surf artifacts. Soon, in addition to his surfing museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the Old Mission, and other local landmarks, visitors to SB will have an opportunity to peruse a myriad of bizarre, captivating, and amusing local artifacts collected by O’Mahoney. Next time you’re strolling along Stearns Wharf or the seaside boardwalk on Cabrillo Boulevard, mosey over to Helena Street and poke your head into O’Mahoney’s wondrous world—which includes an 1862 black-and-gold California flag from the Santa Barbara Presidio; an original El Camino Real bell from Rincon Point (a beloved local surf spot, pictured), circa 1906; a larger than life, custom fairytale book from Michael Jackson’s former sanctuary, Neverland Ranch; and more… much more.

Tags: old mission santa barbara, santa barbara museum of art, santa barbara museum of natural history, santa barbara surfing museum, stearns wharf