In the heart of historic downtown is the Lompoc Museum, an immersive experience where history buffs can explore the storied past of the area. Uncover the native history of the Chumash and other Native American tribes and follow the trail of the pioneers of the Lompoc Valley in the museum’s two floors of exhibits.
Established in the former Carnegie Library, the building itself hearkens back to the early 19th Century with its white columns and classic architecture. Before you enter the museum, visit the newly refurbished World War I monument. The monument’s inscription reads “In Honor of Our World War Heroes”. The monument was refurbished and re-dedicated in 2018 which marked the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War. Once inside the museum, the exhibit “Lompoc Goes to War” further commemorates Lompoc residents who served in the Great War.
The museum’s downstairs gallery offers several exciting exhibits. The newly restored flower exhibit explores the history of the flower seed industry in Lompoc. One exhibit dramatically retells the tragic events of one of the largest peacetime naval disasters, the Tragedy at Honda Point. Moreover, it explores possible causes and tells the story of heroic actions that saved many sailors from a deadly fate.
One of the most exciting exhibits is a recreation of Lompoc storefronts from the early 1900’s. The exhibit is complete with artifacts, photographs and documents of the era. For young visitors (and especially fossil lovers), the downstairs gallery has displays of a seven million-year-old dolphin fossil found in local diatomaceous earth deposits, and fossils of fish. Also included are exhibits on the Mission Period, the Rancho Period, and local industries.
On the museum’s main floor, the Clarence Ruth Gallery features exhibits on the Chumash people, the Lompoc Valley’s first residents. In 1969, Mr. Ruth donated his large collection of artifacts of pioneering research of the Chumash culture to the City of Lompoc for display in the new Museum. Which, includes items from prehistoric Lompoc as well as materials from across the western hemisphere. Colorful and educational displays tell the story of the Chumash people and how they lived through their material culture – including sandstone and steatite bowls, chipped stone tools, carved pipes and beads, shell jewelry, and others- left by their Chumash ancestors.
Artesia School House Museum
Step back to the 1800s at the Artesia School House Museum. Staffed by Lompoc Museum docents, the Lompoc Valley’s first one-room school operated for over 85 years until its eventual closing in 1961. After, the schoolhouse was moved, renovated and furnished with period-appropriate furniture to demonstrate what student life was like at Lompoc’s first country school! It is open to visitors on the 4th Saturday of every month from 2–4 p.m. and for other special events.
The Lompoc Museum is currently open Friday from 12 – 4 p.m., and Saturday & Sunday: 1 – 4 p.m. It closes for major holidays. The suggested donation for adults is $2 and children under 12 are free. Masks are required for all visitors 2 and older to the Museum or Artesia.
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