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)

March 14, April 11, 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 on a Saturday at 9:00 am, 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2:00 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.  In addition to the tours, there will be opportunities for visitors to purchase a copy of a special photo-bookplated edition of "Cannery Row", “The Long Valley” and "Log from the Sea of Cortez”, plus copies of “Cannery Row: The History of John Steinbeck’s Old Ocean View Avenue” by Michael Hemp, and “Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage”, and “A Journey into Steinbeck’s California” by noted Steinbeck scholar Dr. Susan Shillinglaw. 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. Please provide the following two items for your reservation: your name and phone number. Reservations must be made by 4:00 pm the Friday before the tour. Please arrive at the Lab 10 minutes prior to the scheduled tour to confirm your reservation. 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.

"The Language of Flowers" photography exhibit at Alvarado Gallery

Art Opening January 16, 2015, 5:30 - 7:00 pm, One Portola Plaza

The City of Monterey, Colton Hall Museum and Cultural Arts Commission, and the Monterey Conference Center are pleased to announce the current Alvarado Gallery exhibit: "The Language of Flowers" featuring photographers Cheryl Ellis, Eduardo Fujii, Carol Henry, Elizabeth Murray, Chester Ng and Robin Ward.

 This cultural theme celebrates the influences and relevance of flowers in our lives.  Through diversity of vision, style and technique, each artist brings a unique perspective to their interpretation and expression of flowers and what it means to them.  Each artist has exhibited extensively in various galleries, competitions and publications and are long standing members of several artist groups in the local community.

The exhibit will be on display January 16, 2015 through March 8, 2015 in the Alvarado Gallery, located at the Monterey Conference Center, One Portola Plaza.