Celebrating 25 Years

Celebrate the MAH's 25th Anniversary with new exhibitions and events happening throughout Santa Cruz County in 2021.

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For the past 25 years, the MAH has fueled creativity and curiosity in Santa Cruz County. Through over two decades of collaborations, adaptations, renovations, and more we've built this museum together and created a thriving central gathering place for all.

We're ecstatic to celebrate this milestone with you and take time to reflect on all the wonderful, wild, and MAHvelous moments we've created together. Check out what's coming up from pop-up installations to alfresco dining.

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Featured Exhibitions

May 21, 2021 – Jul 25, 2021


Commemorate the MAH's 25th anniversary with a celebratory collection of artworks and objects from our permanent collection.

Our History

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McPherson Center construction, 1993. Photo by Karen T. Borchers, The Mercury News.

We are proud to celebrate 25 years since the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History officially came into existence—the result of the 1996 merging of the Santa Cruz Historical Society (founded in 1954) and the Art Museum of Santa Cruz County (founded in 1981).

In fact, our story dates back even further to the mid-1980’s, when the two organizations joined forces to build a center for art, history, and community in downtown Santa Cruz. With support from the McPherson family, local donations, and a federal grant following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the ribbon was cut on the new McPherson Center in 1993 before the groups officially merged in 1996 to form the Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center, or the MAH as we are known today.

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Among our major accomplishments of the past decade have been to unite a wide spectrum of partners around the “participatory museum” concept, in which community members co-create exhibitions about important issues. We also introduced Abbott Square Market—a food and beverage marketplace on the ground floor of the former county jail—and revitalized Abbott Square itself into a vibrant public plaza that serves as a hub for year-round creative happenings.

Now, moving forward under the leadership of executive director Robb Woulfe, we will carry the MAH’s strong outreach tradition forward, while ensuring that our exhibitions and programming are not only relevant, responsive to, and representative of our diverse community, but also of the highest artistic merit. We will do this by producing and cultivating meaningful, place-based work that animates and enlivens the MAH as well as public spaces throughout Santa Cruz County.

We see our 25th anniversary as a time to usher in a new era for the MAH and the community we serve. We hope you will join us in our celebration.

Support the MAH

Sponsor the Celebration

Browse our anniversary sponsorship opportunities to see how you can showcase your business while supporting a community institution.

Make a Commemorative Gift

Join us in building tomorrow's MAH, and help kick off the next 25 years with a single or sustaining gift. Make a Donation Today

Read our Case for Support

Get to know the MAH from our vision to our history to our core narratives. Learn more about what your support fuels and how you can get involved.

Milestones & Highlights

A 25th anniversary is no small achievement, and for us, it is a great opportunity to reflect on our rich and storied history. Here are some of the key events that helped to shape the MAH into the institution we are today: