Rotary: California Oil Museum’s rising attendance good for local economy

March 24, 2000
Santa Paula News
The California Oil Museum of Santa Paula is on the go, especially with a special collection of rare motorcycles and the swelling list of visitors, the museum’s executive director told the Santa Paula Rotary Club at a recent meeting. Mike Nelson said “Anybody that was downtown over the weekend probably noticed what looked like a bikers’ promotion,” outside the historical museum building located at the corner of 10th and Main streets.Motorcycle and history buffs alike flocked to the opening reception of the Otis Chandler collection of rare bikes, an exhibit supplemented by memorabilia, said Nelson. On opening day of the exhibit there were over 250 people, he added, something “I love to see, bringing people from out of town.”The recent renaming of the museum was “not just haphazard. The new name is the old name, the name the museum had from 1950 to 1990. The city decided it was a good idea to go back to the original name,” after calling it the Santa Paula Union Oil Museum for about nine years.The more encompassing California Oil Museum will be more likely to attract corporate donations, said Nelson, and the museum will be highlighted with a special session during a state convention of oil geologists.“Last year the museum took a big step with the start of an endowment fund,” seeded by a $20,000 donation, said Nelson. “And this is a great year to expand the endowment; the museum is 50 years old, a great occasion that could be marked by donations of $50 to $50,000.”
The museum draws 15,000 visitors annually, about 80 percent from out of town, that share a high income level ($68,000 annually according to a survey) that can benefit the whole city. “Studies have shown that visitors will spend about $75 a day where they visit; if half of that is spent in Santa Paula it could be $450,000 a year,” Nelson noted. Such dollars spread throughout the community on a 3 1/2 to 1 ratio.The museum is also heavily involved in community partnerships that result in exhibits, including with the Santa Paula Historical Society, Santa Paula Women of History, De Colores Art Show, Santa Paula Society of the Arts, Quilt Show and the Santa Paula High School.Such exhibits - at a limited cost to the museum - highlight local history, art and culture and are enjoyed by all visitors.

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.