The San Diego Museum of Man
The San Diego Museum of Man occupies what is probably the most recognized of Balboa Park Museums. The California State Building and Quadrangle.
The California Quadrangle marks the entrance into the Exposition from the West Gate.
It has a Greek-cross plan, with a rotunda and dome at the crossing and minor domes and half-domes at the side.
The San Diego Museum of Man is a museum of anthropology.
Exhibits portray the chapters in the story of mankind and display some of the Museum of Man’s collection of artifacts, folklore, and physical remains. The museum is also a place to learn about ancient Egypt and native cultures of the Western Americas.
Live demonstrators make tortillas in the traditional Mexican manner and a Oaxacan weaver demonstrates spinning and floor loom Wednesdays through Sunday.
Old Globe Theatre
California’s oldest professional theater organization occupies the refurbished Old Globe Theatre building north of the California State Building and Quadrangle. Originally constructed for the 1915 Exposition for the presentation of Shakespeare Plays the building went through several remodels and was destroyed by fire March 8, 1978. The new Old Globe was dedicated on January 5, 1982.
Mingei International Museum
Mingei International Museum is dedicated to furthering the understanding of world folk art. Mingei is a word coined by the late Dr. Soetsu Yanagi by combining the Japanese words for all people (min) and art (gei). It’s increasingly used throughout the world for “arts of the people.” The structure the Mingei International Museum resides in was built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition and like several other buildings constructed in Balboa Park at that time has been used for various purposes and gone by many names. In 1935, the Building was renamed the House of Charm by which it is generally recognized today.
Japanese Friendship Garden
The Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego’s Balboa Park began with a Japanese Tea House built in 1915 for the Panama-California Exposition.
San Diego’s Sister City relationship with Yokohama in 1950 contributed to the desire for a Japanese Garden in Balboa Park which was finally realized in 1990. The 1.5-acre garden includes an entry plaza with tea stand and outdoor seating, a fountain and koi pond, trellised bonsai garden, learning center for children and 100 cherry trees. Entrance to the Japanese Friendship Garden is included with the Go San Diego card.
Spreckels Organ Pavilion
Spreckels Organ Pavilion houses one of the world’s largest outdoor pipe organs. The organ—designed by Ernest M. Skinner—was donated to the City of San Diego by John D. and Adolph Spreckels in 1914 for the Panama-California Exposition and contains over 4,500 pipes. Seating for 2,400, with wheelchair access is available.
John D. Spreckels—a dedicated musician and pipe organist who added an enormous 41-rank Aeolian Pipe Organ to his home on Glorietta Bay—had been instrumental in planning and promoting the event subscribing $100,000 to the San Diego exposition.
Spreckels owned the San Diego Street Railway System which he wanted to extend through Balboa Park to hasten development on the other side. He was also aware that a boost to the San Diego economy provided by the Exposition would benefit his many other investments in the area. Spreckels funded daily concerts on the outdoor organ until his death in 1926.
Balboa Park Club
The Balboa Park Club was built for the 1915-16 Exposition as the New Mexico Building. It’s an example of early mission architecture of the Rio Grande Valley and is said to be a replica of the State Museum of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Club became the Palace of Education for the 1935-36 Exposition when a dance floor was added. Another extensive renovation of the building, including a new ballroom floor and kitchen was completed in 1995.