Monterey Museums (Self Guided), Monterey

Usually, when we visit a city, we all flock to its unusual features, buildings, super malls and discos, gift shops and so on. But few of us understand the true meaning of a museum. Art or history, biology or army - all these theme based museums tell us a lot more about the character of the inhabitants, about their hobbies, or, about that particular country's traditions, rules and delights. Meet the city you visit, from inside.
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Monterey Museums Map

Guide Name: Monterey Museums
Guide Location: USA » Monterey (See other walking tours in Monterey)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Author: nicole
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Museum of Art
  • Colton Hall Museum
  • Monterey County Youth Museum
  • MHAA: Salvador Dali
  • Presidio of Monterey Museum
Museum of Art

1) Museum of Art (must see)

The Monterey Museum of Art is the only nationally accredited art museum between Santa Barbara and San Jose. Founded in 1959 as a chapter of the American Federation of Arts, the Museum’s artistic and educational activities have played a significant role in enhancing the quality of life for Monterey County residents and visitors for over fifty years.

The Museum operates two facilities—559 Pacific Street and 720 Via Mirada (La Mirada). The Pacific Street location has eight galleries and houses the administrative and curatorial offices and the Buck Education Center consisting of classrooms, a library and the Youth Gallery. In 1983, the Monterey Museum of Art acquired the historic estate of La Mirada, whose history reflects the heritage of the Monterey area.

The Museum’s permanent collection consists of more than 14,000 objects in the following areas: early California painting, photography, contemporary art, Asian art and American art. Highlights of the Museum’s collection include works by Armin Hansen, William F. Ritschel, Joan Miro, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso as well as that of world-renowned photographers Edward Weston and Ansel Adams. Monterey Museum of Art presents approximately twenty exhibitions annually. These include thematic exhibitions selected from the permanent collection, presentations of local artists and major traveling exhibitions from other institutions. In addition to the Museum’s exhibitions, it presents educational programs that reach thousands of area youth annually, docent programs, classes, lectures and workshops, curatorial tours and and public events such as a free Community Day organized for families.

Operation hours: Thursday-Tuesday: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Colton Hall Museum

2) Colton Hall Museum (must see)

Colton Hall was built in the 1840s by Walter Colton, who came to Monterey as a chaplain on Commodore Stockton's vessel and remained to become Monterey's first alcalde (mayor) in the American Period.

Colton Hall was originally a public school and government meeting place. It also hosted California's first constitutional convention in 1849. California’s military governor called for a constitutional convention, to be held in Monterey’s Colton Hall. On September 1, delegates from ten districts arrived in Monterey to debate and write California’s first constitution. The California Constitution was ratified on October 13, voted on in November that year and sent to Congress in January 1850. San Jose was chosen as the seat for the first Legislature. (The official definition of a State Capital is where the Legislature sits; therefore Monterey never was the State Capitol.)

The Native Sons of the Golden West were instrumental in 1903 in securing a legislative appropriation for necessary repairs on Colton Hall. The most important public office building in Monterey County still in continuous use, Colton Hall has over the years housed Monterey's City Hall, a public school, the county court house, the sheriff's office, and Monterey's city police headquarters. Today the main floor still holds some city offices (including the city Planning Division and Building Safety Division), while the second floor is a museum.

Operation hours: Daily: 10 am - 4 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Monterey County Youth Museum

3) Monterey County Youth Museum (must see)

This is one of the greatest places on earth for everyone - teenagers, toddlers, elders and parents! The area is huge and everything in this museum allows for interaction. There is 'The Creation Station' - trust us, no one can say "no" to that! It has more than 70 bins that are filled with arts and crafts material. Guests can use them all in creating whatever they please. Whether your kids like cooking, building or nuts and bolts work, they will have a great time here.
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10AM-5PM; Sunday 12-5PM
MHAA: Salvador Dali

4) MHAA: Salvador Dali (must see)

This beautifully displayed collection includes paintings, drawings and sculptures from the period when Salvador Dalí and his wife Gala lived in Monterey. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but for the aficionado, Dalí's work relays his subconscious, without the borders and constraints of "reality".

There are also photos of the epic party held in the Del Monte Hotel to benefit other refugee artists, called: "A Surrealistic Night in an Enchanted Forest." The collections are found on two floors, and it is easy to spend an hour or more in the museum, getting acquainted with the artist's visions and subconscious mind. Dalí's original printing press is also on display - some have said that his printing skills were his best art.

If you not familiar with Dali's work, consider taking the free docent tour at 2pm. It is very useful and will make your trip worthwhile.

Opening Hours:
Sun-Thu: 10am–5pm; Fri, Sat: 10am–6pm
Presidio of Monterey Museum

5) Presidio of Monterey Museum

The Presidio of Monterey Museum is located in a huge park, that looks more like a reservation. The park contains the Presidio complex, and the jewel of the complex is the Museum. The official history of Monterey stays here, silent and beautiful. The museum contains documents, pictures, books and things that belonged to the famous people of the County. Many important events take place in front of the Museum.

Hours: Monday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Thursday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Sunday 1 - 4 p.m.

Walking Tours in Monterey, California

Create Your Own Walk in Monterey

Create Your Own Walk in Monterey

Creating your own self-guided walk in Monterey is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Monterey Introduction Walk

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Historical Religious Buildings

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles