The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation: Santa Barbara Finds its MOXI

Posted on Oct 18 by SEASONS Magazine

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Naming Benefactors Noelle and Dick Wolf alongside Mayor Helene Schneider, photo by Jennifer Ortiz.

The Santa Barbara community has always been filled with spirit, enterprise, and real go-getters —The new Children’s Museum of Santa Barbara will give our innovative community even more MOXI-e.

A ceremony was held on October 15, to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Santa Barbara Children’s Museum and announce its new name MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation. Speakers at the event included Andrew Firestone, mayor Helene Schneider, Board of Directors president Jill Levinson, and sponsors Dick and Noelle Wolf.

Naming benefactors Dick Wolf, creator of the EMMY-award winning Law & Order franchise, and his wife Noelle led the event, and their multi-million dollar donation has been instrumental for the museum. ”

We needed a new name that is more reflective of the widespread appeal, creative energy, and moments of wonder that will occur here. MOXI is more of than an acronym. It defines the kind of confidence that can be achieved through an authentic joy of learning,” says Dick Wolf. “We felt it was important to give back to our community, and what better way than through an enriching museum that exposes kids to science, technology, engineering, and math in a fun forward manner,” says Noelle Wolf.

MOXI will be located in the Funk Zone at 125 State St. near the train depot, and will be a 25,000 square-foot, energy-efficient building. The museum will be the first LEED-certified museum in Santa Barbara County and is the last design by the late Santa Barbara architect Barry Berkus. 

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Attendees, donors, and organizers at the MOXI groundbreaking celebration, photo by Jennifer Ortiz.

The museum building will include 17,000 square feet for exhibitions, and will have a smart classroom, new media theater, museum store, and rooftop sky garden. AB Design Studio and Armstrong Associates have been chosen to finish Berkus’ design and complete the project.

MOXI will emphasize the importance of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) and hope to inspire student achievement in math and science. “The US is 27th in math and science. If we don’t get the next generations involved, we’re not going to make anything. The aspect of being a second class nation intellectually is truly scary. Exploration in science and math will be essential in the future,” stated Dick Wolf at the celebration.

MOXI hopes to inspire children to imagine, invent, and ignite a passion for STEAM through active exploration, which was showcased at the groundbreaking event. The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation is scheduled to open Summer 2016, and will target children of all ages focusing on those ages 3-12. The Capital Campaign goal for the museum is $25 million, of which $15 million has been raised thanks to generous donations and fundraising by the Board of Directors and close partners.

Image courtesy of MOXI.

Image courtesy of MOXI.

For more information on the new Children’s Museum of Santa Barbara, click here. To learn more or make a gift donation, contact Anne Kratz at

—Jennifer Ortiz


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