One thing you will notice about Ventura County is the vibrant culture. Despite the laid-back nature of this coastal town, there is not a shortage of things to do or attractions to visit. For instance, you can go hiking, surfing, visiting museums, or enjoying a meal at one of the local restaurants. As a reminder of your visit, you can squeeze in some shopping time into a busy itinerary. The best part comes during sunset. You can watch the sun go down while on the beach. With more than a dozen museums, read on and discover the best museums in Ventura County that will make your visit most memorable.
1. Museum of Ventura County
The Museum of Ventura County features a local and regional collection of fine art pieces as well as historical exhibits. The museum replaces these items after two or three months. Once inside, proceed to the Huntsinger Gallery, where a rotating exhibit displays an array of 19th-century art plus exhibits by notable comic book authors. At the Smith Gallery, you will find life-size historical figures fully dressed in ceremonial costumes of their time. Are you a cycling enthusiast? If so, you will find the History of Bicycles section informative. Besides, three more exhibit spaces await you with displays from top Ventura women sculptors. Other events at the Museum include talks by artists, book authors, panel discussions, and lectures. If you happen to be in town on the first Sunday of the month, entry to the museum is free.
Museum of Ventura County
Address: 100 E Main St, Ventura, CA 93001, United States
Website: Museum of Ventura County
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 11am - 5pm (closed on Mon)
Price: 10 USD (adults), 3 USD (seniors & students), 1 USD (children), free for children under 5 years
2. Channel Islands Maritime Museum
Channel Islands Maritime Museum has some of the finest maritime collections in Europe. Here, you will find over 70 original maritime paintings. Notable examples include the 17th-century seascape paintings by the Dutch plus romantic artwork by English painters capturing themes trending between the 18th and 19th centuries. More so, the museum is home to a large collection of ship models including the Marple, British warships, and French bone soup carvings. French soldiers carved the latter to while away the time while in captivity during the Napoleonic wars. At the upper deck galleries, you will come across exhibits capturing commercial activities at the Port of Hueneme. Moving on to The Life of a Sailor, you get insights into a sailor’s life on a normal and exceptional day. Also, the section has an underwater environment segment that immerses your imagination deep down the sea with whales and other sea life on display.
Channel Islands Maritime Museum
Address: 3900 Bluefin Cir, Oxnard, CA 93035, United States
Website: Channel Islands Maritime Museum
Opening hours: Thu - Sat: 10am - 4pm; Sun: 12am - 4pm; Mon: 10am - 4pm (closed on Tue & Wed)
Price: 5 USD (free third Thursday of every month)
3. Museum Agriculture Ventura County
From a warehouse for storing farm produce to a grain outlet before turning into an exhibition center, Museum Agriculture Ventura County has a deep-rooted past. At the heart of its collection are tools and farm equipment used and preserved by residents. Among these are tractors, plows, bean threshers, anvils, grain drills, nut hullers, and orchard wind machines. Besides, the Museum has artifacts, photographs, periodicals, and clothing collection. Rare photographs alongside interactive displays all combine to describe Ventura County’s agricultural history. Vintage tractors and a beehive are other attractions you must see. If accompanied by your children, encourage them to get aboard one of the tractors set aside for youngsters. The Agriculture Museum also acts as a satellite center for the Museum of Ventura County.
Museum Agriculture Ventura County
Address: 926 Railroad Ave, Santa Paula, CA 93060, United States
Website: Museum Agriculture Ventura County
Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 10am - 4pm (closed on Mon & Tue)
Price: 5 USD (adults), 3 USD (seniors, students and AAA Members), 1 USD (ages 6-17), free (under age 6), free first Sunday of the month
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4. California Oil Museum
The California Oil Museum features interactive displays of the oil industry. The facility also contains a photograph collection, videos, games, and gas station memorabilia. A cable tool drilling rig is also on display plus working models all to show visitors how the first generation of prospectors sought for black gold. Watch as a smaller version of a drilling rig digs into the earth in an impressive display. At the same time, witness the oil brands that motorists used at the time. At the Museum’s Union Oil Company premises are offices restored to portray what it was like to manage the lucrative oil business back in the 1890s. Restored offices capture the day-in-the-life so well. Besides, permanent exhibits stand as a historical portrayal of the California oil industry. At the end of your visit, you can relax at the Lundgren Courtyard, a picnic site located within the Museum.
California Oil Museum
Address: 1001 E Main St, Santa Paula, CA 93060, United States
Website: California Oil Museum
Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 10am - 4pm (closed on Mon & Tue)
Price: 4 USD
5. Carnegie Art Museum
An important aspect at the Carnegie Art Museum is the quarterly changes in exhibits. The chances are that what you see this year may not be what you will find in your return visit next year. Before you step in, the Greco-Roman architectural style used to construct the Museum is a work of art. Inside is a collection that ranges from abstract to impressionism, contemporary realism to fetish finish. Abstract art uses marks, shapes, and colors to depict an artist’s impression of reality. Contemporary art is what the current day artists create. Impressionism refers to a style where an artist re-creates a scene. Rotating exhibits immerse visitors in a world of creative diversity. Even though Californian artists are the main contributors, you will come across pieces from other parts of the world.
Carnegie Art Museum
Address: 424 S C St, Oxnard, CA 93030, United States
Website: Carnegie Art Museum
Opening hours: Thu - Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 11am - 3pm (closed from Mon - Wed)
6. Albinger Archaeological Museum
Albinger Archeological Museum derives its name from Albert R. Albinger, the mayor of Ventura, from 1969 to 1973. The site where the facility stands was once home to Angel Escandon, a mayor and saloon keeper. The Museum has artifacts spanning 3,500 years covering the Chinese, Spanish, Chumash, Mexican and U.S. cultures. You will come across archeological collections such as pottery, buttons, crucifixes, arrowheads, shell beads, and stone bowls. Also, on-site are bone whistles and bottles. Excavations of the Mission San Buenaventura depict the foundation ruins of the church. Native American barracks, a plank canoe, water well, and filtration building adorn the outer sections of the museum. While on location, learn about the history of immigrants from China and Chumash Indians.
Albinger Archaeological Museum
Address: 113 E Main St, Ventura, CA 93001, United States
Website: Albinger Archaeological Museum
Opening hours: Fri - Sun: 11am - 4pm (closed from Mon - Thu)
7. Aviation Museum of Santa Paula
The Aviation Museum of Santa Paula is in the same location as the Santa Paula Airport. The story of this museum dates to August 1930 with much of the infrastructure still intact today. Every first Sunday of the month, visitors and locals can access the privately owned hangars. Each hangar serves as a home to vintage aircraft, antique race cars, and radios. In some hangars, you will find displays detailing aviation careers of past aviators. As you move on, you also find aged aircraft undergoing restoration to reclaim their past glory. Ask about and visit the hangar where they keep vintage radios used in the early days’ communication between pilots and ground control teams. Meanwhile, you can witness, at close range, aircraft landing and taking off. Take your time as the facility covers an area of 51 acres (20.6 hectares). When you feel exhausted, ride on the complimentary tram.
Aviation Museum of Santa Paula
Address: 800 E Santa Maria St, Santa Paula, CA 93060, United States
Website: Aviation Museum of Santa Paula
Opening hours: 9am - 2pm (first Sunday of each month)
8. U.S. Navy Seabee Museum
The U.S. Navy Seabee Museum in Port Hueneme is located outside the Ventura Naval Base. It serves as a preservation center for the accomplishments of the Naval Construction and Engineering units of the U.S. Army. After its establishment in 1947, the construction of new premises outside the naval base ended in 2010. Soon after, the museum relocated to the new facility granting access to the public. At the museum are artifacts detailing the history of the Engineer and Naval Construction units or the Seabees. A building christened ‘Theater C’ features an array of memorabilia and souvenirs left behind by soldiers returning home from international duty. Seabees are the military personnel entrusted with building and maintaining U.S. naval establishments around the world.
U.S. Navy Seabee Museum
Address: 3201 N Ventura Rd, Port Hueneme, CA 93043, United States
Website: U.S. Navy Seabee Museum
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 5pm (closed on Sun)
9. The Murphy Auto Museum
The Murphy Auto Museum holds a large display of vintage automobiles. Beautiful cars rotate continuously, giving visitors up-close views of vehicles that once occupied motorways in the United States. You will find a 1914 Ford Model T Touring Car, a 1930 Willys Knight 70B Sedan, and a 1939 Chevrolet Master Deluxe to mention a few examples. The Museum also has a 1975 Jaguar XJ6 CL plus a 2013 Harley Davidson motorcycle. Displays cover a permanent collection of car generations from 1910 to 1981. Every first Sunday of the month, The Murphy Auto Museum invites classic car collectors to bring their cars for a free display. An Automotive Art Gallery at the facility features art exhibits that depict different aspects of the motoring culture.
The Murphy Auto Museum
Address: 1930 Eastman Ave, Oxnard, CA 93030, United States
Website: The Murphy Auto Museum
Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 10am - 4pm (closed from Mon - Fri)
Price: 10 USD
10. Ojai Valley Museum
Ojai Valley Museum is a three-in-one resource center. Apart from temporary and permanent art, photographs, and artifacts collections, it also has a research library. The museum not only details Ojai Valley history but also gives insights into the culture. Of interest to any visitor would be the exhibit on how Nordhoff town grew and changed its name to Ojai. To get the most from your visit, you should start with a walking tour of the facility. After that, you can now proceed to view the exhibits.
Ojai Valley Museum
Address: 130 W Ojai Ave, Ojai, CA 93023, United States
Website: Ojai Valley Museum
Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 4pm; Sun: 12pm - 4pm (closed on Mon)
Price: 7 USD
Dig deep into the core of Ventura County
Ventura County offers no dull moments for visitors. Whether you are into art, agriculture, history, archeology, aviation, or motoring, there is a museum for it in Ventura. During your next visit, confirm that the best museums in Ventura County are in your itinerary.
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