About Us

Transform your mind through great exhibits at the San Diego Museum of Man! Our mission is to inspire human connections by exploring the human experience. Our vision is to be San Diego’s dynamic place to go to learn about each other, reflect on our place in the world, and build a better community. Learn more about our mission, vision, and values.

  • BEERology features thousands of years of beer history from around the world, including cool artifacts like a solid-gold cup of an Incan king.
  • Monsters! is a fun exhibit for families that explores how we turn our fears into creatures of myth and legend. After the monsters, have fun in our kid-centered Adventure Kids in Egypt exhibit.
  • Cannibalism: Myth & Reality is a thoughtful one-of-a-kind exhibit where you’ll discover that cannibals aren’t who you think they are.
  • Race: Are We So Different? explains in clear, helpful language the origins of race and racism, and helps us understand how to deal with them in productive, enlightening ways.
  • Climb the California Tower! For the first time in 80 years, see the view from San Diego’s most iconic landmark.
  • Discover the truth behind the Ancient Maya and see pieces of a sophisticated and complex culture in Maya: Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth. Read about our detailed casts of ancient Mayan monuments.
  • See real mummies from Egypt, Mexico, and Peru, as well as Ancient Egyptian artifacts from the hoards of pharaohs and their people in Ancient Egypt.

Plus tons more, including exhibits from the Kumeyaay people, human and primate evolution, an actual C-3PO from Star Wars, and our startling Time Tunnel which puts all of human history into perspective.

The Historic Buildings

The California Building, home to the San Diego Museum of Man, was constructed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. It was designed by noted architect Bertram Goodhue as a design hybrid, blending Plateresque, Baroque, Churrigueresque, and Rococo details to present a unique Spanish-Colonial façade. Its design hints of Gothic influence with inspiration from Spanish churches in Mexico.

A symbol of San Diego, the California Building served as a magnificent entry to the 1915 Exposition.  It was complemented by a Mission-style building constructed directly across the promenade from the California Building and attached to it with two arcaded passageways. Massive arched gateways enclosed the structures to form the Plaza de California. The south side of the plaza included the beautiful St. Francis Chapel (used for weddings today) and its impressive Spanish-style altar.

Read the full history of the California Tower, Dome, and Quadrangle.