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

Saturday, November 18, 1 PM - The Battle of Monterey of 1818, a living-history re-enactment, will be held at the Custom House Plaza

The revolutionary Argentinian privateer Captain Bouchard will lead the charge as cannons fire and his tall ship recreates the only land/sea battle on the West Coast, ever!

Spanish soldiers will defend the Custom House. His attack on Monterey is a revolutionary marker for the opening of California’s land and trade policies to the world with Mexico’s independence from the King of Spain. 

Spanish Royal Governor Sola of his provincial capital of Alta California will put up a defense. Visitors will view the Spanish Empire’s flag taken down and the invaders hoisting the Argentine national flag.

The 1794 Royal Presidio Chapel, later to be known as San Carlos Cathedral, and its Heritage Center will both be open for visitors just one year short of the bicentennial of its survival of the burning of the Royal Presidio. 

The Tall Ship, “the Lady Washington” will be in the Monterey harbor as part of this year’s 2017 festivities.

Monterey can be proud of its role as recorded in “The Burning of Monterey” by Peter Uhrowiczk and the “Patriot Pirate “ by Michael Melzer. both available at the Monterey Public Library. Let’s celebrate! 

Colton Hall at Night! New Postcard On Sale At The Colton Hall Museum

Local Photographer John McCleary Captured "Old Glory" Dressed for the Fourth of July, 2017.

2018 Schedule for Free Tours of the Pacific Biological Laboratories

Jan 13, Feb 10, Mar 10, Apr 14 May 12 Jun 9, Jul 14, Aug 11, Sep 8, 10/13, 11/10

Make your plans to attend these free tours of Ed Ricketts's Lab. Phone 831-646-5640 to reserve your space for these one hour tours.

Tour times: 9 and 10:30 am, 12:30, 2 and 3:30 am. Tour capacity: 15 people. The tours start promptly so schedule some time for parking down at Cannery Row and walking to the Lab. 

Christmas in the Adobes, December 8 - 9, 2017, 5 - 9 pm

Colton Hall joins Monterey State Historic Park's Annual Showcase of Monterey's Historic Buildings

Colton Hall will be open for free public viewing during Christmas in the Adobes, December 8 - 9 2017.  To visit other historic buildings in Monterey, TICKETS may be purchased at Custom House Gift Shop (#1 Custom House Plaza), on event nights at Pacific House Museum (#20 Custom House Plaza), the Custom House Gift Shop or online sales at 


Public Surplus Auction Now Online!

You Can Own A Piece of Artwork Previously Owned by the City of Monterey!

The Museums and Cultural Arts Office of the City of Monterey is announcing the opening of a Public Art Auction.  The City has released 12 of the 25 pieces of art that were recently de-accessioned from the City of Monterey’s Art Collection.   The items were outside the scope of the City’s collection policy.   Although many other pieces were able to be placed in other public institutions, these 12 will be publicly auctioned off through Public Surplus. The items can be viewed on the following website:,ca/browse/cataucs?catid=18

The auction will run for 21 days.  For inquires or further information please contact Chalet Booker, Cultural Arts Assistant, Monday through Thursday, 8:30 am to 3 pm, at 831-242-8743 or email  Inspection of items is by appointment only.