Monterey... a living museum

Explore Historic Monterey

The Explore Historic Monterey cell phone tours and brochure were made possible by a Preserve America grant from the National Park Service.

Preserving History

Restored Pacific Biological Laboratories specimen tanks

Ed Ricketts’ Marine Specimen Tanks, 1928-1948

In October 2010, as part of a grant awarded to the City of Monterey by the Community Foundation for Monterey County, conservators stabilized and protected the concrete specimen tanks located in back of the Pacific Biological Laboratories building. Marine biologist Ed Ricketts used the tanks to store marine specimens for his research and in preparation for shipment to schools, universities and museums. The tanks were originally built by Vicente Rodriguez, the previous owner of the Lab site, who used them for his fish salting and sardine pressing operation. Ricketts began using the tanks when he moved to the site in 1928.

Featured News and Events

Colton Hall is Ready for the Holidays!

Volunteers from Monterey Pacific Rotary and the Colton Hall Museum & Cultural Arts Commission Decorate the Hall!

Many, many thanks to members of the Colton Hall Museum & Cultural Arts Commission, and the Monterey Pacific Rotary for decorating and preparing Colton Hall for the holiday season. This year marks the 12th year the Monterey Pacific Rotary has decorated the Hall. Everyone created pine needle wreaths, cypress and berry swags, and decorated the 10' tree inside the Hall while listening to great holiday tunes. What  a fabulous job, and what a team!


2017 Schedule of Free tours of Pacific Biological Laboratories

2017 Schedule of Free tours of Pacific Biological Laboratories

Second Saturdays - Jan. 14, Feb. 11, Mar. 11, Apr. 8, May 13, Jun. 10, Jul 8, Aug. 12, Sep. 9, Oct. 14, Nov. TBA

We are pleased to offer free one-hour tours of the Pacific Biological Laboratories (Ed Ricketts’ Lab) at 800 Cannery Row.  Tours times: 9 am, 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2 pm, and 3:30 pm.

Lab Docents will tell the history of marine biologist Ed Ricketts, his friendship and collaboration with John Steinbeck, and of the "PBL Members" who bought the Lab in the mid-1950s and who were instrumental in the founding of the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Tours also feature a scale model of the Lab in the 1940s, created by Bill Johnk.  There will be opportunities for visitors to purchase a copy of a special photo-bookplated editions of John Steinbeck’s books plus other local authors.With the purchase of a book and a minimum $ 5.00 donation, visitors will receive a tax-deductible donation receipt.

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED for these popular tours as spaces are limited. Contact the Colton Hall Museum at 831-646-5640. Reservations must be made by 4:00 pm the Friday before the tour. Contact the Museum (646-5640) in advance if you cannot attend. Please allow time to park and walk to the Lab. The City of Monterey is committed to include the disabled in all of its services, programs and activities.  If you require a hearing amplification device to attend an event, dial 711 to use CRS to talk to the City Museums Division Office at (831) 646-5648 to coordinate use of a device or for information.

Find out more information about Ed Ricketts's Lab here:



Feeling Groovy!

Monterey Regional Airport's "Art At The Airport" latest exhibit opening Friday, December 9, 5 - 7 PM

Remember Go-Go Boots, love beads and good vibrations? Revisit the 1960s at the Monterey Regional Airport's newest exhibit:


Mezzanine Gallery, Friday, December 9, 5 - 7 PM

Courtesy Parking - present parking ticket at Reception for validation.

Colton Hall Goes to the Movies!!

From black & white to color, Colton Hall has been featured in numerous films