Our Mission: We share Monterey's stories, serving as a place of learning, inspiration and engagement with our history and heritage.

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’s 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.


Notice Under the Americans with Disabilities Act: If you are a person with a disability and require an accommodation to participate in a City program, service or activity, requests for accommodations may be made by calling (831) 646-5648 (voice), 7-1-1 (California Relay Service), or by email with at least 30 hours in advance to booker@monterey.org for cultural arts events, copeland@monterey.org for Museums and Cultural Arts Commission meetings or rygg@monterey.org for City tours. Copies of documents are available in alternative formats, upon request. We make every effort to adhere to 508 requirements as set forth by the W3C Accessibility Initiative. Ongoing validation testing is conducted using industry-recognized tools for coding and usability. Request for Accommodation/Complaint Procedure | Web Accessibility |

Featured News and Events


Commemorative Sculpture and Mural for Monterey's 250th Birthday!

Call for Public Art Mural Application

Call for Public Art Sculpture Application

Brief Project Overview (FAQ)

Public Art Project Submission Guide IMPORTANT! 

In 2020, the City of Monterey is celebrating the 250th anniversary of its founding in 1770. To commemorate this historic milestone, the City of Monterey is calling for artists to submit proposals for a mural and sculpture. The unveiling of new and permanent public art will be a part of a a series of celebrations in the summer of 2020!

The City of Monterey is looking for memorable, exceptional and timeless pieces that will acknowledge the City's past, present and future by celebrating our historic heritage, cultural diversity and distinctive environment. Proposed sites will be gateways to Monterey, locations that are visible to millions of pedestrians and passing traffic each year. Proposals submitted must include a scale mockup, in color, with the full development of concept along with production costs.

A selection committee will review qualified proposals and make recommendations to the Museums and Cultural Arts, Parks and Recreation, and Planning Commissions. Sealed proposals must be received in the Colton Hall Museum, 570 Pacific Street, at Monterey City Hall by Friday, May 24, 2019 by 4 pm. An application and more details about the proposal description, locations and selection process is in the Call for Public Art Mural and Call for Public Art Sculpture application or may be picked up at Colton Hall Museum, 570 Pacific Street, Monterey.

IMPORTANT: Please read carefully the Monterey 250 Public Art Project Submission Guide  for more information on how to submit proposals. 

The unveiling of public art will be a historic and significant moment in Monterey 250 events. These landmarks will inspire generations of Monterey residents and visitors, will enhance and enliven community parks and business districts, and will memorialize a major national milestone. Learn more about the Monterey 250 celebrations, and how you can participate at monterey250.org.


"Monterey - In Color!"

View current exhibit at Alvarado Gallery, Monterey Conference Center, One Portola Plaza

The City of Monterey, Museums and Cultural Arts Commission, and the Monterey Conference Center are pleased to present "Monterey - In Color" featuring artists Laureen Weaver and Lud Oliviera. Both artists are inspired by the environment around us and experiement with bold colors to invoke sensations from our beautiful surroundings.

During his retirement, Lud Oliviera has devoted his time to painting, providing him with a chance to venture into a world of pictorial artistic expression. Laureen Weaver is inspired by the everyday life and experiences of living in community. It is said a picture captures a thousand words; but she believes her paintings tell the story of the community and the people that live here.

The exhibit will be on display May 3, 2019 to July 7, 2019, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Alvarado Gallery, located at the Monterey Conference Center, One Portola Plaza,.




2019 Schedule for Open Hours at the Pacific Biological Laboratories

Second Saturdays: May 11, Jun 8, Jul 13, Aug 10, Sep 14, Oct 12, and Nov 9, 2019

Make your plans to visit Ed Ricketts's Lab during its Open Hours. Phone 831-646-5640 to reserve your space.

Open Hour times: 9 and 10:30 am, 12:30, 2 and 3:30 pm. Building capacity: 15 people.Schedule some time for parking down at Cannery Row and your visit to the Lab. 

The Museums & Cultural Arts Staff appreciate the time and talents of our PBL Volunteers, so catch them in action! 

Randal Johnson interprets the history of the lab during the 9:00 am tours.