The Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center

Today is Thursday, June 21: Open 10am-8pm
Directions & Admission

Our Exhibition Philosophy

At the MAH, great exhibitions make our community grow stronger and more connected.

We are committed to creating exhibitions that inspire diverse audiences to engage deeply with contemporary art and Santa Cruz County history. We see our visitors as partners in actively interpreting and exploring exhibition content.

This philosophy steers our work. And it means we do things a little differently than some other museums and galleries. If you are partnering with us on an exhibition, you can expect that museum staff will design multi-modal, participatory, and immersive experiences around your work.

Research shows that museum visitors walk in the door with a broad range of preconceptions, abilities, and preferences when it comes to engaging with exhibitions. Some people like to read labels. Others prefer hands-on experiences. Most people visit in groups, and those groups include children and adults, professionals and amateurs. The experience that visitors have in museums–what they learn, what they do, what they like–is highly determined by how comfortable they feel and how well the museum supports many different ways of engaging with exhibitions.

Based on this research and our own institutional mission, we seek to produce exhibitions that:

  • Are welcoming and accessible to diverse visitors.
  • Find, spark, and share stories and ideas related to universal human themes.
  • Be relevant to or representative of the people in Santa Cruz County.
  • Incorporate local diverse community members and groups as partners and contributors.
  • Activate different layers of learning through programming.
  • Invite visitors to be active contributors in the gallery.
  • Feature local history or contemporary art.


These values enable the MAH to be a relevant, dynamic, inclusive, educational institution that engages visitors successfully. Please feel free to contact Stacey Marie Garcia at if you would like to talk about this further.