San Diego Museum of Man

The San Diego Museum of Man is a world-class museum specializing in cultural anthropology. At its heart, it’s a grand repository of the things all humans have in common. In it, visitors explore how we think, how we live, and how we connect. It covers a huge range of human history and culture, offering topics for kids and adults alike, including beer history, monsters, cannibalism, race, evolution, the Maya, the Kumeyaay, ancient Egypt, and more. The museum is loaded with things you’ll never see anywhere else! Housed in stunning architecture standing at the grand gateway to Balboa Park, the museum has been educating visitors from San Diego and around the world for more than 100 years. Both its beautiful Spanish Colonial Saint Francis Chapel and its enormous rotunda (the inside of its gorgeous tiled dome) make it a superb venue for weddings, celebrations, and parties each year. To top it off, its California Tower offers amazing 400-square-mile views from the ocean to the eastern mountains, and from Mexico to the distant northern mountains. Guests can see that view for themselves on our popular tower tours.

In 1916, the directors of the Panama-California Exposition sold the exhibits in archaeology, ethnology, and anthropology to the San Diego Museum Association for $1.00. This original collection included about 5,000 items. Today, the Museum of Man’s collections number in the hundreds of thousands. The museum now stewards over 150,000 ethnographic objects, over 300,000 archaeological objects, 100,000 photographic images, and a small archival collection. Our collection covers the far reaches of the globe, with pieces hailing from large empires to tiny islands. The collection contains thousands of compelling objects — ranging from local Kumeyaay baskets, Egyptian sarcophagi, painted aboriginal shields, and delicate Chinese textiles — that help drive programming at the museum.