The Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center


Family-Experienced-ClayThis is our community. This is your museum.

The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center (the “MAH”) is located at 705 Front Street in downtown Santa Cruz. We are open Tuesday-Sunday, 11-5, and open until 9pm on Fridays. We host large-scale community events on the First and Third Fridays of the month in the evening, as well as ongoing exhibitions, programs, family festivals, and educational experiences.

There’s a lot we could tell you “about” our organization. But the most important thing is that we are about you–our community.

Mission, Vision, Action

Our mission is to ignite shared experiences and unexpected connections. We accomplish this mission when we bring people together around art and history through dynamic exhibitions, events, partnerships, and programs.

Our vision is to become a thriving, central gathering place where local residents and visitors have the opportunity to experience art, history, ideas, and culture. We envision engaged members and visitors who are increasingly passionate and knowledgeable about contemporary art and local history that celebrate our diverse community.

We connect our mission to our vision through the actions we take as an organization. Our unique work fuels our vision:

  • Through active participation. When we collaborate with community members on exhibitions and programs, we are able to expand the diversity of art and history experiences we can share with visitors. When we invite visitors to actively contribute their own ideas and skills, people feel empowered as creative agents, cultural producers, and engaged museum participants. Their energy fuels increasing passion and knowledge about art and history, and a perception of the museum as a meaningful, compelling place to celebrate our diverse community.
  • By bringing people together across differences. When we develop exhibitions and programs that highlight unexpected connections between diverse people and ideas, we ignite new understanding of art, history, and each other. Sharing experiences in the museum helps people build understanding and social capital with community members from different cultures, generations, and backgrounds. Art, history, ideas, and culture bring us together across differences and make us stronger as a community.
  • Through fearless experimentation. We pursue our work in a community-engaged, experimental, and courageous way, igniting a new path forward for the MAH and for other museums around the world. This culture of fearless experimentation enables our museum to adapt and thrive in a changing world.

This work is exciting, but it’s only as good as our ability to involve you in it. We know lots of people in Santa Cruz County are not currently connected to the MAH, and we’re doing the hard work to engage new participants. We need your help to make this happen. All of our events and exhibitions are created in partnership with community collaborators, and we’d love to find a way for you to get involved. You can learn more about our engagement goals to really understand what we are looking for in ideas and partnerships.

So poke around a bit. Share your own vision of the future and how the Museum can support your creative, social, and intellectual interests. The MAH is only as good as the members, donors, volunteers, and enthusiasts who support it–and we hope that you will soon count yourself as part of our family.

If you have any questions or ideas about this transformation that you’d like to discuss in person, drop by the Museum 11-5, Tuesday to Sunday, or contact any of us directly. Community engagement is our primary focus. No one is as important as you. Really.

Strategic Plan

Learn more about our goals in the 2010 Strategic Plan, click here (PDF).

Annual Report

Our annual report is the story of what has happened in the past year–our exhibitions, collections, visitors, and finances. It’s also the place where we thank our donors and members for supporting the museum’s work. Check it out to see what has changed.

For the 2012-2013 Annual Report, click here.

For the 2011-2012 Annual Report, click here (PDF).

For the 2010-2011 Annual Report, click here (PDF).

For the 2009-2010 Annual Report, click here (PDF).

  • Donna Orme

    Where can I get information to submit a proposal to exhibit artwork in the Museum.nDonna

    • Nina Simon

      Contact Susan Hillhouse at curator (at) to learn more about this. We don’t tend to exhibit based on unsolicited proposals, but you can learn more about our curatorial program from Susan.

  • Rveir

    Do you have any info about a local artist, name of Cor de Gauere, 1930’s ’40’s?

  • Dqueen

    How can I email feedback (and photos) from the interactive sculpture garden cards we played with last Friday? bounced back with errors.

    • Nina Simon

      Hm… sorry about that. You can send it to me at nina (at) and I will get it to the right people!

  • Michael Logue

    Thanks Nina for you energy and vision for the future…we would love to be involved !

    Michael  and the Santa Cruz Chorale



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  • Lee Allan Sanders

    Is this thing on?

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