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For the past 25 years, the MAH has been filled with the creativity, collaboration, and stories of Santa Cruz County. Through over two decades of collaborations, adaptations, renovations, and more you have built this museum alongside us to be a thriving central gathering place for all. You've embraced the potential of a museum breaking the mold, sharing your stories, traditions, and time as we use local art and history as tools to connect and build bridges across differences.

We're ecstatic to celebrate this milestone with you and take time to reflect on all the wonderful, wild, and MAHvelous moments we're created together. Check out what's coming up from pup-up installations to alfresco dining to a grandiose gala. We cannot wait to celebrate with you this year.

Featured Exhibitions

Jun 8, 2021 – Jun 13, 2021


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

Our History

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Back in the mid-1980s, the Santa Cruz Historical Society (founded in 1954) and the Art Museum of Santa Cruz County (founded in 1981) joined forces to build a museum of art and history on the site of the former county jail.

However, after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake devastated downtown Santa Cruz the team reframed the dream of the McPherson Center of Art & History as an opportunity to turn tragedy into triumph. The pivot resulted in the MAH opening next to the old jail, effectively doubling in size, in 1996.

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This community-based approach was a hit and we quickly realized that we needed to bust out of the confines of our building. Thus, Abbott Square was born. Opening in September 2017, this creative hub includes the museum’s main entrance, food and drink, art, and plenty of space for community connection.

Then, in February 2020 we were joined by our current Executive Director Robb Woulfe. Beginning his tenure weeks before the museum closed its doors due to COVID-19 safety regulations, Robb has been busy strengthening the MAH's values and planning for the future within this unprecedented season of change. Today, we continue to look forward, expanding our offerings both online and outdoors to better meet the needs of our community until we safely reopen our doors in January 2021.

Read More of the MAH's History Here

Support the MAH

Sponsor the Celebration

Stay tuned for more details and how to get involved.

Make a Special Gift

Your generosity enables us to maintain our collections, develop and produce these kinds of exhibits, and present inspiring and educational programs to all of Santa Cruz County.

Read our Case for Support

Get to know the MAH from our vision to 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:

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