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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

"Epic Visions" Art Exhibit at Alvarado Gallery, July 12 - September 15, 2019

Photographic artists Kirk Kennedy and Aleks Raskin create large format images of the Monterey Peninsula

The City of Monterey, Museums and Cultural Arts Commission, and the Monterey Conference Center are pleased to announce the current Alvarado Gallery exhibit: "Epic Visions" featuring photographic artists Kirk Kennedy and Aleks Raskin.  Both artists create large format images of the Monterey Peninsula.  Each captures the beauty and interprets from a different perspective.

Aleks introduces Photo-plasticity.  He captures multiple images and then seamlessly composes them into extraordinary pieces of art.  His pieces are larger than life and make a statement of this time and place.

Kirk has been passionate about capturing the beauty of Monterey County, picking his subjects carefully.  He’s been known to drive or walk for hours, searching for an interesting composition that reflects his passion for the beauty found all around. 

The exhibit will be on display July 12, 2019 to September 15, 2019 in the Alvarado Gallery, located at the Monterey Conference Center, One Portola Plaza, Monday – Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

2019 Schedule for Open Hours at the Pacific Biological Laboratories

Second Saturdays: 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.



411th Telegraph Battalion at the Presidio of Monterey 1917-1919

The Museums & Cultural Arts Division is pleased to announce a new exhibit at the Presidio of Monterey Museum: The 411th Telegraph Battalion at the Presidio of Monterey, 1917-1919.

Long before electronic media, the telegraph was a major tool for military communications. After the United States entered into World War I, the Pacific Telegraph and Telephone Company issued a bulletin announcing the organizing of a telegraph battalion. First Lieutenant George R.O. Rutherfurd was among the 15 officers and 215 enlisted men who served within the Battalion. The exhibit highlights Rutherfurd's time with the Battalion, a panoramic photograph of Battalion members on motorcycles at the Presidio, terrain maps, Rutherfurd's journal, and the book "Memories of the 411th Telegraph Battalion 1917-1919 in the World War, Here Over There". Rutherfurd's granddaughter, Suzanne Lacey and her husband David, have generously loaned this rich collection for exhibit to the Presidio of Monterey Museum.