With such a rich history, just like everything else the city has to offer, San Diego Museums seem to be in abundance. One of the biggest spots for the art lover of San Diego to know about is Balboa Park. Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre urban cultural park in the city, which not only lives as a park, but is also home to over 17 museums, gardens, trails, and venues. When it comes to creativity and culture, this city hub can’t seem to get enough. There are so many different museums to see, and so much information to unpack, that we thought we’d make it a little easier, and talk about just three of the coolest museums in San Diego.
San Diego Museum of Man
Located in Balboa Park, the San Diego Museum of Man is an anthropology museum that is housed in one of the historic landmark buildings of the California Quadrangle. Before even stepping foot inside the museum, the building could be considered a work of art itself.
Originating during the Panama-California Exposition of 1915, this museum aims to trace the story of man through the ages. Artifacts such as pre-Columbian pottery, and reproductions of Maya civilization monuments have been known to make appearances here. Currently, the museum’s collections and permanent exhibits center around pre-Columbian history of the western Americas, housing objects from a number of cultures, including Native American, and Mesoamerican. The museum also offers first hand looks at a collection of Ancient Egyptian antiquities, including mummies, burial masks, painted coffins, and small figurines.
San Diego Museum of Art
Also located in Balboa Park, the San Diego Museum of Art is a fine arts museum, rather than a historical or anthropological museum, that has a similarly impressive façade, comparable to the Museum of Man. This museum is considered the regions oldest and largest art museum, bringing in roughly half a million people every year.
This museum specializes in Spanish art, with its exterior pulling from the doorway at the University of Salamanca, as well as the Cathedral of Valladolid, both located in Spain. The museum’s collection includes objects from as early as 5000BC to 2012 AD, housing popular Spanish works from Murillo, Zurbarán, Cotán, Ribera, and El Greco. This museum also works in conjunction with the Agitprop gallery, offering contemporary art programming during the summer.
Mingei International Museum
The Mingei International Museum is an institution that features a variety of folk, craft, and design arts. Founded in 1974, and officially opened in 1978, the museum has been a leading figure in the art world. The name itself translates to “art of the people,” and includes the arts of daily use, featuring the work of craftsmen from ancient times, as well as more traditional uses of every day arts from the past and present. From ceremonial objects, to furniture, and textiles, this museum is a museum that shows the excitement and creativity of the otherwise mundane, showing the ways that art creeps into the most domestic aspects of our lives.