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 Jose (Joseph) Benito Rodriguez and Vicente Rodriguez, two (unrelated) partners in La Esperanza Fish Packing Company, for use in La Esperanza's fish salting and sardine pressing operation. Ricketts began using the tanks when he moved to the site in 1928.

Featured News and Events


Historic Monterey presents free event for participants of all ages, Saturday, May 13, 12 - 4 PM

Learn about local history, visit important historic sights, view architectural treasures and public art!

The History Hunt begins at 12:00 pm. Pick up your packet at Colton Hall (free parking behind Colton Hall) or the Custom House at the Custom House Plaza (near Fisherman's Wharf) between 11:30 am and 12:00 pm. Your packet will include a list of 20 items to find or learn about, a map of  the historic district and, of course, the rules!

Following the "Hunt", participants are invited to the Monterey Public Library's Community Room, 625 Pacific Street, for a community party, music, refreshments, and an awards presentation.

Presented by Historic Monterey, a partnership between the City of Monterey, California State Parks and the Monterey History & Art Association.

Visit or call the Colton Hall Museum at 831-646-5640.

2017 Schedule of Free tours of Pacific Biological Laboratories

2017 Schedule of Free tours of Pacific Biological Laboratories

Second Saturdays - 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:

and just recently featured in "The Bulletin", Bend Oregon: