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Instruments of Torture

July 1, 2012 - December 31, 2015

Now Open. Limited Engagement.

Instruments of Torture is a gripping exhibition featuring implements cruelly engineered to inflict unbelievable pain and suffering. But these artifacts also have a deeper significance in helping us understand who we are as human beings. By exploring why torture occurs, even in today’s world, this exhibition compels us to ask “Are people the real instruments of torture?” In addition to the rare artifacts on tour from Italy’s Museo della Tortura, our partnerships with the International Legal Studies Program at California Western School of Law, the Joan Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, and Survivors of Torture, International help address the contemporary issues of torture.

In a post-9/11 world, torture has become a divisive topic. This exhibition goes beyond that debate to explore how we, as humans, respond to events and take action. It examines how, in specific situations, even those who deny they would ever torture another person, do exactly the opposite. Ultimately, the exhibition encourages visitors to contemplate their own human frailty, the conditions that lead to torture, and how they can be upstanders – people who stand up for others – in a world that has too many bystanders. Although torture has persisted over the centuries, we hope one day the only place you hear about torture will be at a museum.

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Please Note: Children under age 13 are not admitted to this exhibit without their parent or legal guardian.

Special pricing for Instruments of Torture. Includes admission to the main museum.
Adults: $20
Seniors/Military: $17
Students/Youth (13-17): $15
Children (12 and under): $12.50
SDMoM Members: $7.50

Special price for Explorer Pass Holders: $15 (does not include the price to purchase Explorer Pass)

Group visits are available at reduced rates for a minimum of ten people. Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance.


For group pricing and any other questions regarding group visits, please contact Brita Enflo, at (619) 239-2001 ext. 35, or

Unfortunately, due to the nature of this exhibit, we are unable to accept any coupons for Instruments of Torture.