The Carpinteria Valley Historical Society operates and maintains a free museum and research library to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit historical objects, artifacts, documents, and other items of historic significance as they relate to the Carpinteria Valley for the purposes of public study, education, and enjoyment.
Proud of Our Past
The Chumash, the area’s first inhabitants, referred to the seaside valley as Mishopshno, meaning “correspondence,” as it was a center of trade. In 1769 Spanish explorers led by Gaspar de Portolá came upon a group of Chumash splitting redwood logs, hand-hewing planks, and constructing large, seagoing canoes they called tomols. Soldiers named the area La Carpinteria, or the Carpenter's Shop. Spanish settlers, Mexican, and Anglo-American pioneers, and immigrants followed, putting down family roots in and around the village of Carpinteria.
Understanding and appreciating Carpinteria Valley history is an important aspect of preserving the area’s rich cultural heritage. The Carpinteria Valley Museum of History provides a fascinating glimpse into the Valley’s past. A variety of unique exhibits examine the three major cultures that have made this valley their homes: The Chumash, the early Spanish and Mexican explorers and colonizers, and the American and immigrant pioneers whose farms, shops, churches and schools laid the foundation of today’s city.
Exhibits and Archives
Museum exhibits include Chumash hunting and gathering objects; a Californio adobe rancho scene reflecting the Mexican cattle-ranching period; Victorian home furnishings; a farm house kitchen; farming and blacksmith implements and saddles; a one-room schoolhouse; early oil development and asphalt mining; agricultural history; the village of Summerland; and World War I. The museum’s archives hold a rare collection of historic photographs that document the city’s early businesses, its notable citizens, its landscapes, and the men and women who developed and labored in the area's ranches and farms.