Located in San Diego, California, the Museum of Man strives to use human experiences to educate, inspire, and build a better community through knowledge and understanding. The diverse permanent collection and interactive exhibits encourage visitors to push the boundaries and see the world from a new perspective. Since its creation in 1915, the museum has continued to strive towards growing while educating its visitors.
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The history behind the Museum of Man began in 1911, when San Diego started preparing for the Panama-California Exposition of 1915. Dr. Edgar Lee Hewett from the School of American Archaeology was given the task of designing a central exhibit about the progression of man. With the help of Dr. Aleš Hrdlicka, they both departed on expeditions around the world to collect specimens, pottery, fossils, and photographs for the physical anthropology exhibition. The resulting exhibit, called The Story of Man through the Ages, became one of the most detailed and complete physical anthropology exhibitions ever assembled and was very popular during the exposition. Following the end of the fair, a group formed the San Diego Museum Association to preserve the collection and thus created an anthropology museum. From that point on, the museum flourished, becoming the learning center it is today, with collections and pieces from all around the world that offer a cross-cultural perspective.
There are many different exhibits at the San Diego Museum of Man that encourage visitors to learn more about anthropology and gain an understanding about humans. The museum offers a diverse cross-cultural view across history and also includes a human ecology viewpoint. This is a study on the relationships between humans and their natural or constructed environments. The collections have over 300,000 archaeological objects, 100,000 photographic images, and 150,000 ethnographic objects. There are pieces from all around the globe from different time periods, from Egyptian antiquities and pre-Hispanic Peruvian ceramics to aboriginal shields and Chinese textiles. There are also many rotating exhibits that focus on specific exhibits.
In addition to the permanent collection there are more interactive exhibits displayed at the San Diego Museum of Man. These include BEERology, Facing Artifacts, Monsters, Graffiti Art Murals, Race: Are We So Different?, Living with Animals, Footsteps through Time, and many more. These exhibits foster creativity and challenge perceptions; for example, Race: Are We So Different? challenges the idea of skin color and race through an in-depth exhibit on the origins of race and racism. Visitors learn how to deal with this topic through productive and understanding methods. BEERology is an exhibit that examines how ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Sumerians, and Chinese participated in craft brewing, showing the relationship between beer and culture through religion, agriculture, and writing. The Graffiti Art Murals exhibit aims to change perceptions of graffiti art from something only found in the urban landscape to being a part of modern art. The exhibit displays works of graffiti art and educates visitors on the talent behind this current art form. Another special area of the museum is the California Tower. The tower, with some spectacular views of the Southern California vista, was closed to the public for 80 years but is now open to the public.
There are often special events happening throughout the year at the Museum of Man. Every week new events are posted on the calendar, such as Brew-Asana, Something Wild, and Yoga in the Rotanda. Brew-Asana was an after-hours event created for visitors who wished to participate in yoga and beer tasting in the environment of the Museum of Man. Something Wild was a presentation that brought wild animals from around the world up close, and allowing participants to even touch some of them. Yoga in the Rotunda was a morning yoga class for all levels that took place before the doors of the museum had even opened. All visitors are encouraged to participate in the many new and exciting events facilitated by the Museum of Man throughout the year.
Surrounding the museum is Balboa Park, which is a beautiful natural area in San Diego. The park is home to many museums and cultural attractions, such as the Plaza de Panama Fountain, Centro Cultural de la Raza, Alcazar Garden, the Sculpture Garden, and the Old Globe Theatre. This is a very calm area of the city with various trails and gardens located in the surrounding area. The road, El Prado, where the museum is located, is a pleasant street to walk along and during holidays is often decorated with beautiful lights.
1350 St, El Prado, CA 92101, Phone: 619-239-2001
Back to: San Diego, California