This exhibit is now on display to visitors in the Gill Administration building, just west of the main Museum, but is not part of ticketed admission.

How much has Balboa Park changed in the last 100 years? Dr. Dave Roberts, history buff and expert photographer, will answer that question as he shares images and stories of the park’s transformation.

In 1868, San Diego city founders set aside 1,400 acres of land for a city park, but for the next forty years the land went undeveloped. In 1915, the Panama-California Exposition was held there to promote the newly opened Panama Canal and to put San Diego on the map. Though a rival to the sister fair occurring in San Francisco at the same time, the Panama Pacific International Exposition, the San Diego exposition was a success. Thanks to the initial vision of architects Bertram Goodhue and Frank Allen, the exposition space was gradually transformed into Balboa Park, the gem of San Diego.

While much of the park has changed in the last century, many of the buildings and avenues of the original exposition remain. We invite you to delight in the differences and marvel at the similarities in our “mini exhibit,” Past Meets Present, which will be put on display on the first floor of the museum near the eastern stairs. In the exhibit, four photographs from our extensive archives will be displayed next to modern photographs taken at the same locations. As we rotate the photographs featured in Past Meets Present, never-before-seen facets of the park will be revealed, illuminating our collective history and inviting reflection. 

Past Meets Present Lectures: Friday, February 15th at noon and Saturday, February 16th at 11 a.m.

  • Free to museum members or included with the price of non-member museum admission
  • Location: Irving J. Gill Building, just west of the San Diego Museum of Man, 1350 El Prado, San Diego, CA
  • Information about directions and parking