• Mission Santa Ynez
    Mission Santa Ynez

Thanksgiving Greeting from Brian Stenfors, Executive Director:

Dear Members & Friends of the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum & Parks-Janeway Carriage House:

When I tried to draft this Thanksgiving greeting to you on behalf of our talented staff, our dedicated Board of Directors and our valued volunteers (out of service for all too long because of the COVID-19 pandemic and sorely missed), my imagination failed me. What could I possibly say to you to assuage your personal concern for your immediate and extended family, your Valley friends and neighbors, and our visitors at large? I am certain your email inbox has been filled – like mine — with the same innocuous messages:  From Samsung: “No matter how you celebrate, we wish you and yours the very best this holiday.”

Then good-luck intervened. For inspiration, I went to our website (Parks-Janeway Carriage House landing page) and downloaded Huell Hauser’s rollicking “travelogue” video from Santa Barbara to Los Olivos (including an extended tour of the Museum & Carriage House).

Hope was restored:  He articulates the key message for us to remember and live by. We are “thankful” to be an integral part of this incredible landscape with the incredible people who inhabit it, farm it, ranch it, savor it and preserve it and leave it in trust to the care of future generations. So, on this “historic” Thanksgiving 2020 “happy” doesn’t strike the right note. Being “thankful” does.         

Then, in the NY Times today, there is an article entitled “In Difficult Year, Poet Laureate Give Thanks: There are still neighbors and family, breathtaking landscapes and gratitude for the ‘bend without the break.’

Even in these very trying and difficult times when people have died from the COVID-19; jobs have been lost; food banks have been depleted; students forced to learn virtually; and, COVID testing the new norm, we are thankful to you for your membership and philanthropic support enabling us to “bend without the break.” Your help is more urgent than ever.  Thank you.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the Museum & Carriage House as soon as possible in 2021. 

If you are able to support Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum directly during this challenging period, please consider a one-time or recurring donation. Click here for more information. Thank you for your generosity and support!


The Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum presents exhibitions and public programs that interpret past events and illuminate the diverse communities of California’s Central Coast. The Museum actively acquires and holds in its care collections relating to the region’s heritage and provides a venue to showcase private collections and traveling exhibitions.

The Museum serves as a center for research, education and lifelong learning by delivering quality programs that encourage knowledge, understanding, discussion and appreciation of our varied cultures. BY honoring the record of life in the Santa Ynez Valley and Central Coast, we preserve these legacies for our children.


The Museum houses a unique and broad collection of items that celebrate the region’s forward-movement into the West. The Parks-Janeway Carriage House displays the largest horse drawn vehicle collection west of the Mississippi. In addition, visitors can see numerous examples of fine, regional saddlery, period apparel and vintage horse gear illustrating the pride and craftsmanship of local and regional makers.

2 kids doing crafts at Wild West Camp


To revisit the past, we can truly appreciate the present and wonder of what the future may bring. The Museum offers numerous lectures, garden & home tours and events that celebrate the region’s agricultural strengths in order to present visitors a true understanding of the diversity of the communities in the Santa Ynez Valley. In addition, programs and tours are offered to school age visitors from around the valley and the county.

close up of bits


While the basis of the Museum’s presentation mission is displayed in the Carriage House, two additional exhibit rooms offer timely, multi-month exhibitions throughout the year curated by visiting experts and historians. From local artist displays to in-depth presentations of local ranching families to traveling exhibits of private collections; the Museum offers a wide variety of visual opportunities to experience the Valley and the areas broad cultural offerings.

“This is a beautiful little property right in the middle of the town.  The stewards of this museum put a lot of love and effort into quality collections and exhibits.”

Tara D. TX

— Thank you to our supporters —