This exhibit is now closed.

We’re Prying Open Our Vaults!

The San Diego Museum of Man’s world-class collections are home to over 400,000 artifacts. We’ve carefully selected 20 of our most extraordinary items for our newest exhibit, From the Vault: Rare Artifacts with Fascinating Stories. Each featured piece reflects a tale as unique as the artifact itself.

From the Vault
will highlight the many ways in which an artifact can be a treasure, emphasizing the artist’s attempt to make the object functional, beautiful, spiritual, or a combination of these attributes. You’ll see pieces from numerous countries and several centuries displayed side by side. While at first these objects may seem unrelated, if you look carefully, you’ll see that the artifact pairings reveal something about both the cultures they represent and humanity as a whole. From an eighteen-foot sealskin kayak, to a trephined
skull, to a set of samurai armor, this innovative presentation bridges the boundaries of space and time, incorporating vibrant pieces from diverse cultures. Visitors will discover the stories behind each object and see how these treasures are linked both by history and the ways in which they were originally used.

Showcasing art, beauty, and cultural traditions spanning several continents and centuries, From the Vault reveals that, while beauty is in the eye of the beholder, an artifact’s value is determined both by its usefulness and by the dictates of the heart.

Click on image to enlarge. 


Special Thanks to our Sponsors



Hugo, Susan, Nicolas, and Paolo Barrera
The Dawe Family
Valentine Hoy
The Jaffe Family
Payne Johnson
Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Foundation, as recommended by Marnie Cheney
Gordon and Annika Kovtun
The George & Sheila Luiken Family
Pascale, Enrico, Luca, and Adrien Marcelli
Abe Ordover and Eleanor Musick
Ida Rigby and John Sturla
Jerome D. and Anne E. Ryan
James and Peggy Selover
Judith Strupp Green and Willard Wells
Machel Allen-Zondlowski and Maxime Zondlowski
Ape Wraps
Richard and Caroline Huffman