Collective Museum

Public Doors and Windows, Collective Museum, 2015-ongoing
Public Doors and Windows, Collective Museum, 2015-ongoing

With teaching and learning now being done remotely due to the COVID-19 crisis, it doesn’t take long to begin to miss the UC Santa Cruz campus. For those of us who have been lucky enough to visit, learn, research, teach, or work at UC Santa Cruz, we know the university is one of the most beautiful colleges in the world. With over 2000 acres encompassing a redwood forest, grasslands, ravines and gullies, and expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Bay, the university is a scenic wonder. The longing to walk on the forested trails and footbridges between the university buildings and to glimpse out of classroom or office windows into canopies of trees or breathtaking ocean views can grow quite strong as we “shelter-in-place.” And, the landscape is certainly not the only thing to miss at UC Santa Cruz. While teaching continues remotely, we also can find ourselves wishing for other shared experiences of being on campus with friends and colleagues. 

In the hopes to ease this longing, if only a little, we are pleased to be able to share with you a collection of campus stories, history, sites, and experiences that can be experienced virtually. Collective Museum, a project by artists Harrell Fletcher, Molly Sherman, and Nolan Calisch, features a collection of stories from faculty, staff, students, and alumni about 50 sites on the UC Santa Cruz campus. The artists, working together under the name Public Doors and Windows, archived these stories in 2015— some as audio files, others as text—to create a museum, of sorts, of campus experiences.Visit for this virtual campus tour.


A curated video tour of some of IAS 2019-20 undergradaute intern Jocelyn Lopez-Anleu's favorite campus sites.


With many of us largely now indoors, a virtual stroll with Collective Museum can take us to locations and share with us experiences on campus that might be familiar with our own, or that might teach us something about the university, the community that creates it, and the landscape that shapes it.

You could start your walk, for instance, at Oakes College and visit the Lower Lawn.

Oakes Lower Lawn

Oakes Lower Lawn, Contributed by Danny Rodriguez

With its sweeping view of Monterey Bay, Oakes Lower Lawn is a familiar spot to students who are looking to sunbathe, to play Frisbee, or to study in the grass. For Danny Rodriguez, the UCSC alumni and current staff member who tells his story for Collective Museum, the lawn holds special significance. Danny, who came to UC Santa Cruz as a first generation college student from Los Angeles, saw his first shooting star from this broad expanse of grass. When he describes that experience, and his subsequent walk across the same field during commencement to become the first college graduate in his family for the virtual tour, his experience of the campus certainly does not seem distanced.

Other stops on the virtual tour might make you a bit relieved to be visiting the campus remotely. For instance, on this virtual tour, if you stop outside the Earth and Marine Sciences, you will get a reminder that the university is composed of far more than faculty, staff, and students.  

Earth and Marine Sciences

Mountain Lion '36M', Earth and Marine Sciences, Contributed by Chris Wilmers

This is the site contribution of Chris Wilmers, Professor of Environmental Studies. Chris is also the founder and lead researcher for the Santa Cruz Puma Project - the most comprehensive study ever done on Northern California cougars. For Collective Museum, Chris shared his story of about the time a male mountain lion killed a deer right outside of his office in the building, leaving the carcass there to come back to feed. 

Of course, every stop on the tour is not quite as dramatic as feeding mountain lions. Some speak to the more everyday experiences and history of the campus as a place where people come to learn and to form lasting friendships.

Quarry Plaza  

Quarry Plaza, Contributed by Linda Wilshusen 

Linda Wilshusen, '72, takes you to Quarry Plaza with a story about learning to make soup at the former Whole Earth Restaurant, now Bike Co-Op. The restaurant, founded by Dr. Paul Lee and Rev. Herb Schmidt, was also where Linda met her future life partner.

You might end this virtual campus tour by exiting out the West Entrance of the university, and making one last stop to watch the sun set over the Great Meadow on the southwest of the campus.

Mima Meadow 

Mima Mounds, Great Meadow, Contributed by Dean Fitch

There you can listen to Dean Fitch, landscape architect and UCSC director of physical and environmental planning, explain the many theories about the origins of the mysterious mima mounds that dot the landscape. Against the beautiful backdrop, the idea that the mounds were developed by large rodents who push up the soil might not seem impossible.

These are just a handful of the sites that can be toured at UC Santa Cruz Collective Museum. There are many other walks for you to take across the campus at We hope you stay well and that in these times that can be frightening and isolating, our community can be a source of comfort. 


For more information about the artists and the project:

James Clifford, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, History of Consciousness, in conversation with the artist collective Public Doors and Windows