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
2015 Schedule of Free Tours at Pacific Biological Laboratories (Ed Ricketts' Lab)

2015 Schedule of Free Tours at Pacific Biological Laboratories (Ed Ricketts' Lab)

May 9, June 13, July 18, August 15, September 19, October 3 and November 14, 2015

We are pleased to offer free one-hour tours of the Pacific Biological Laboratories (Ed Ricketts’ Lab) at 800 Cannery Row.  Tours will be held once a month. 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 for these popular tours are limited and may be made by contacting 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 tour. 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.

May 2, 12:00 pm, Change of Heart on the lawn of Colton Hall!

Enjoy the first concert of this inaugural music series out on the front lawn of Colton Hall!

Colton Hall Museum and Cultural Arts Commission is happy to announce its Colton Hall May Music Series during National Museum Month.  Please join us on the lawn in front of Colton Hall to hear the early California music of Change of Heart, the inaugural concert for the series, on Saturday, May 2, 2015. VOCI A Capella is on Sunday, May 10 at 2:00 pm, and Youth Music Monterey, Saturday, May 30 at 12:00 pm.

The members of Change of Heart have collaborated on many historical music presentations, including a program of Labor Movement Songs, Songs of Woody Guthrie, and music field trips at the Folk Music Center in Claremont, California.  At Colton Hall they will perform an hour of music inspired by the rich and diverse history of California.  Their varied musical backgrounds combined with fine harmonies are guaranteed to bring our California history to life.

 The Colton Hall Museum and Cultural Arts Commission sponsors this free concert on the lawn in front of historic Colton Hall and welcomes the public.  The program begins at 2:00 P.M. lasting approximately one hour.  For more information, please contact Colton Hall Museum, 831-646-5640 or visit our website at