Museum of Man in San Diego (San Diego, USA) – expositions, opening hours, address, phone numbers, official website.

This San Diego Anthropological Museum is remarkable in every way. Firstly, by its richest collection, the main focus of which is on the history of the pre-Columbian Americas. Secondly, the museum occupies the historic California Building, part of the “California Quadrangle”, which absolutely cannot be ignored – even if you are not going to go inside.

It is a magnificent structure, reminiscent of a magnificent church with its dome, painted in blue and gold, and the adjoining high, richly decorated tower. Several styles can be traced in the design and decoration of this pair: Gothic, Plateresque, Baroque, Rococo, Spanish Colonial. Most impressive are the stone carvings that adorn the facade and tiers of the tower, as well as the abundance of stone sculptures on them. The figures depict Unipero Serra, Philip III of Spain, George Vancouver, Carlos III of Spain, etc.

The museum occupies the historic California Building, part of the “California Quadrangle”, which absolutely cannot be ignored – even if you are not going to go inside.

In fact, the “Quadrangle” consists of four buildings that belong to the museum (the California Building and the California Tower on the north side, Everham Hall and St. Francis Chapel on the south). The first two were built for the 1915-1916 exhibition. and were used as the main entrance to it. The 60-meter-high California Tower was opened for guided tours in early 2015. Both buildings and the courtyard were designed by renowned architect Bertram Goody and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

The California building and tower were used by Orson Welles as the principal features of the fictional Xanadu in the cult utopian film Citizen Kane.

The museum funds include over 100 thousand documented ethnographic values, as well as more than 30 thousand books and periodicals and about 25 thousand photographs. The collection contains materials that were obtained from various Indian tribes in the Southern California region, as well as artifacts from Middle American civilizations such as the Maya. In addition, the museum has one of the most significant collections of ancient Egyptian artifacts in the United States. It includes real mummies, funeral masks, figurines and seven painted wooden sarcophagi.

The biggest rarity in the Egyptian display is the incredibly rare children’s sarcophagus of the Ptolemaic dynasty: there are only seven of them in the world.

On the first floor of the museum there is an exhibition “Birology” (a special exhibition dedicated to the 10,000-year history of beer brewing in the world and the technologies for making a foamy drink, which were practiced by the ancient Egyptians, Sumerians, Amazonian headhunters and other cultures around the world), the exhibition “Maya: the heart of the sky, the heart of the Earth “, where you can see several monuments (steles) of the Maya – copies of steles from Guatemala, and the exhibition” Monsters! “, specially designed for children (there are interactive stands where folk and other artifacts are presented, one way or another related with monsters and mythological creatures – more than 50 monsters from all over the world, including dragons, yeti, kraken, unicorns, etc.).

One of the most notable exhibits of Birology is the golden goblet for beer of the King of the Incas (1250-1533 BC)

On the second floor there are expositions “From the Underground” (a collection of unusual and interesting items from the museum’s storerooms, including samurai armor and an ancient skull with traces of trepanation), “Steps Through Time” (replicas of skulls and reconstructions of famous prehistoric people found in different parts of the world, illustrating the evolution of our race), the exhibition “Kumeyaai: Native Californians” (traditional art objects, dishes and baskets, dresses and jewelry, games and ceremonies of the Kumeyaai Indians), the exhibition “Ancient Egypt” (the history and science of this civilization, as well as examples of mummification with all over the world) and the exhibition “Adventures for Children in Ancient Egypt” (a family exposition with an interactive and fascinating story in the form of an action about the civilization of the Egyptians and the role of anthropologists in its study).

In another building of the museum – Everham Hall – temporary exhibitions are held.

Three to five times a year, the museum hosts a Tower After Hours event to celebrate the life of the San Diego community. It takes place in the rotunda of the museum, and the program includes music, dance, food and other aspects of local culture.

Practical information

Address: 1350 El Prado.

The museum is located on the central boulevard of Balboa Park, on the left, if you move from the main entrance, approximately in the middle of the boulevard.

Opening hours: Sunday to Wednesday from 10:00 to 17:00, from Thursday to Saturday from 10:00 to 20:30.

Entrance: for adults (over 18 years old): only museum – 13 USD, museum + “Instruments of torture” – 20 USD, museum + tour of the tower – 23 USD, all of the above together – 25 USD.

For pensioners (over 62 years old), students and children and children: only museum – 10 USD, museum + “Instruments of torture” – 17 USD, museum + tour of the tower – 20 USD, all of the above together – 22 USD.

For children (3-5 years old): Free, but children of this age are not allowed on the tower.

Web site.

The prices on the page are for June 2020.

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