The Santa Barbara County Courthouse, a prime example of Spanish Colonial design, features a Mural Room where the history of Santa Barbara, including the Sebastián Vizcaíno’s founding expedition and the adaptation of American rule, are depicted on more than 4,100 sf of painted canvas murals. Painted by California artist Daniel Sayre Groesbeck, these enormous works of art depict the history of Santa Barbara from the Canolino Tribe that bordered the Santa Barbara Channel to the arrival of John C. Fremont and the adaptation of American rule.
Although they had been cleaned following an electrical fire in 2010, the murals and many other decorative architectural elements were in need of significant conservation, restoration and repair. EverGreene Conservators began the restoration process in December 2014 first by documenting existing conditions, then by repairing damaged plaster and canvas, stabilizing cracking paint, and inpainting areas of loss and damage on the historic murals and the surrounding architectural elements.
Architectural elements including ceiling beams, frieze and corbels, designed and painted by Italian-born John B. Smeraldi were stabilized and restored and the murals and the architectural arts surrounding them were conserved to their original intended brilliance, returning an enchanting aspect of Santa Barbara’s rich history back to the community.
The Mural Room reopened to the public in June 2015.