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 Museum Closed, Sunday, November 29 Due to Staffing Shortage

Colton Hall and Presidio of Monterey Museums Closed Thanksgiving, November 26, 2015

Museums & Cultural Arts Office Closed November 26-29, 2015

"Save the Angels" Auction, December 5, 6-9 pm, Museum of Monterey

Free Admission

The “Save the Angels” Auction & Reception will be held Saturday, December 5, 6–9 p.m. at the Museum of Monterey, 5 Custom House Plaza. Proceeds will go towards restoration of the original historic “Monterey Christmas Angels” painted in 1956 by Erica Franke.

Admission is free.


2016 Schedule of Free tours of Pacific Biological Laboratories

2016 Schedule of Free tours of Pacific Biological Laboratories

2016 Schedule: January 9, February 13, March 12, April 9, May 14, June 11, July 9, August 13, September 10, November 12.

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. Free, light refreshments will also be served.

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. 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.