The Anthropology Department is a foremost center for Chumash studies. Active research in ethnohistory, ethnobiology and material culture is disseminated through professional meetings and publications as well as public lectures, field trips and workshops conducted by Anthropology staff.
The department is a popular community resource for artifact identification and information on Native American cultures. Numerous Indian people participate in Museum research, programs and collection management. The archaeological collection of 75,000 objects from the Santa Barbara coast and islands spans nearly l0,000 years of cultural development in the region.
Large collections of photographs, field notes, linguistic materials, John P. Harrington papers, and rock art archives further enhance our understanding of Chumash culture and history. Ethnographic collections representing tribal groups throughout western North America include basketry, textiles, pottery, woodcarvings and other materials which are used for research and exhibition.
John R. Johnson, Ph.D., Curator of Anthropology
Specialist in California archaeology and ethnohistory
805-682-4711 ext. 139
John Johnson has served as Curator of Anthropology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History since 1986. He obtained his Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Johnson’s career has been devoted to understanding the culture and history of the Chumash Indians and their neighbors in south central California through the study of archaeology, archival records, and interviews with contemporary Native Americans.
Johnson has published more than 40 studies about Southern California Indians, particularly the Chumash. His work to preserve important archaeological sites and collections has been recognized formally by the Society for California Archaeology, which awarded him their Mark Harrington Award for Conservation Archaeology in 2002
Johnson heads a team that has been investigating the earliest evidence for people in our region at the Arlington Springs Site on Santa Rosa Island.
Jan Timbrook, Ph.D., Curator of Ethnography
Specialist in material culture and ethnobotany
805-682-4711 ext. 140