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.

Featured News and Events

Upcoming Art Exhibit Opening at Alvarado Gallery, 5:30 - 7:00 pm, February 22, 2019!

"Monterey Flora & Fauna" by the Padre Trails Camera Club

The City of Monterey, Museums and Cultural Arts Commission, and the Monterey Conference Center are pleased to announce the upcoming Alvarado Gallery exhibit: "Monterey Flora and Fauna" featuring photographers from the Padre Trails Camera Club, a club that has been capturing moments of surprise since its inception in 1948.

Over the years, members of Padre Trails have taken their cameras and their trained artists’ eyes, not only locally, but also internationally, to find and preserve the natural and human beauty around us.  Monterey County being their home, they never tire of seeing and photographing all this abundant county has to offer.

Please join us for an artist opening on Friday, February 22, 2019 from 5:30 to 7:00 PM with light refreshments and an opportunity to meet the photographers.

The exhibit will be on display February 22, 2019 to April 29, 2019 in the Alvarado Gallery, located at the Monterey Conference Center, One Portola Plaza.




Evening Music Series Concerts Return to the Second Floor at Colton Hall!

Concert Dates: March 13 and April 10, 2019!

The following artists will be performing one hour concerts upstairs at Colton Hall. All concerts start at 7:30 pm.

March 13 - Cypressaires / Monterey Bay Belles

The award winning Cypressaires is one of over 800 chapters in the United States and Canada that make up SPEBSQUA, The Barbershop Harmony Society.  They have been singing the “old songs” since the chapter was formed 1956. They meet weekly to learn new songs, rehearse the old ones, prepare for performances and have fun.

The award winning “Bay Belles” are Monterey Peninsula’s only women’s barbershop style chorus. The Monterey Bay Belles Women’s Barbershop Chorus is dedicated to the craft of a four-part a cappella harmony in the barbershop style.  The singers meet weekly and enjoy sharing their beautiful harmonies with others.

April 10 - Ensemble San Francisco

Ensemble San Francisco draws its musicians from the SF Symphony, Ballet, and Opera orchestras and beyond.

Space is limited for these concerts and reservations are required. Call 831-646-5640 to reserve your seat! Colton Hall is now accessible via the Limited Use/Limited Access (LULA) lift at the rear of Colton Hall. 

2019 Schedule for Free Tours of the Pacific Biological Laboratories

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

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 pm. Tour capacity: 15 people. The tours start promptly so schedule some time for parking down at Cannery Row and walking to the Lab. 

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

JoinSeal Project-Based Learning join PBL Volunteer Docent Mike Guardino at the PBL.



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.