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Voluntourism / California

Voluntourism Spotlight: Discover History in the Santa Ynez Valley

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ynezLocated in northern Santa Barbara County, Santa Ynez is known for its wine country, but it’s really the history of the area that is  surprisingly robust. The opportunities for giving back are also quite attractive. This week’s voluntourism spotlight focuses on the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum, which gives travelers the opportunity to learn about that local history. Check out the voluntourism program below, and remember to tune in to Peter Greenberg Worldwide this weekend for more information. Plus, don’t forget to check out our archive for all kinds of voluntourism opportunities.

If you’re interested in learning about the rich history of Santa Ynez while giving back to the community, the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum offers flexible volunteer opportunities. Volunteers interested in contributing to the preservation of history have played a crucial role in the museum’s development and growth.

Opened to the public in 1961, the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum was created by local citizens to protect and showcase the rich history of the area. While the museum began in a humble two-room building, it is now much larger, with six rooms full of engaging facts and exhibits on the pioneering settlers and five original townships. Aside from the main museum building, adjacent to the museum’s courtyard and across from the old Santa Ynez jail, is the Janeway Carriage House, a 7,500 square foot room showcasing 36 different kinds of carriages, as well as an array of harnesses, saddles, and bridles.

The museum needs volunteers for a variety of different functions, from acting as a museum front desk greeter, to helping out with light carpentry or painting, to aiding in the planning of events and exhibits. Some of the volunteer duties are long term, but many, such as being a hospitality and event greeter, are only needed for a short time, providing a great opportunity for the traveling volunteer to experience Santa Ynez’s culture and history.

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By Brittany Malooly for