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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) 646-3393 (voice), 7-1-1 (California Relay Service), or by email with at least 30 hours in advance to 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 Videos

Support Pacific Biological Laboratories in memory of Mike Guardino

Click here to make a Donation

This year is the 75th anniversary of the publication of Steinbeck’s masterpiece, Cannery Row (1945). This little novel, written immediately after Steinbeck returned from a journalistic assignment overseas during World War II, captures life in 1930s Monterey as well as the ecological vision of Steinbeck and his friend Edward F. Ricketts. Cannery Row celebrates community; Steinbeck’s model was the intertidal. Dive into Cannery Row, and join online presentations, discussions, and films about the history of the Row, Ricketts, ecology, friendship, and communities.

In celebration of Cannery Row Days, September 16 - November 7, 2020, please enjoy these virtual tours:

Virtual Tour of Ed Ricketts Lab

Cannery Row Tour

Ed Rickett's Lab Reopens for Tours - Second Saturdays of the Month

Ed Rickett's Lab Reopens for Tours!

Second Saturdays of the Month.
Make your online reservation 
Call the Museums Office at (831) 646-5648 for more information.

Rickett's Lab Front

Colton Hall Museum Reopens July 1, 2021

The City of Monterey’s Museums & Cultural Arts Division is excited to announce the reopening of Colton Hall! Considered one of the most historic buildings in California, Colton Hall is the birthplace of the State of California.

Home of the California Constitutional Convention of 1849, visit the site where 48 delegates debated the decisions that made California a free state. See original documents, artifacts, and even walk on the same floor as the delegates. Starting Thursday, July 1, the Colton Hall Museum will be open Thursdays-Sundays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Located at 570 Pacific St., Monterey, Colton Hall Museum is located upstairs with an ADA accessible elevator and parking available in the rear. For questions, please call (831) 646-5648, or email

Colton Hall