A visit to the Monterey Museum of Art offers you the chance to see everything from early California paintings to magnificent photography. During your visit, you will also see contemporary pieces and popular visiting exhibits.
You will find the museum in two locations within Monterey, CA.
The three-story landmark building in the downtown area houses eight galleries. All of the pieces at this location focus on American and early California contemporary art, painting, and photography.
This location also offers an art reference library where visitors can read and research during museum hours.
The second location is less than two miles away on a beautiful, historic property. The La Mirada galleries sit in an elegant home in one of Monterey's oldest neighborhoods.
This location features more contemporary galleries and the visiting exhibits. Make sure you also step outside to see the museum's gorgeous rose garden.
Note: La Mirada is now only open for special events and programs. However, they do accept appointments for educational and research purposes.
Here are just a few more details on the permanent collections at the Monterey Museum of Art.
Admission fees for the Monterey Museum of Art (Pacific Street location):
Admission to La Mirada by appointment only.
Insider's Secret: Before your visit, ask your hotel or look around town for the Monterey Museum of Art pamphlet. On the back, they often feature a 2-for-1 admissions coupon.
The Monterey Museum of Art closes on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and Fourth of July.
The downtown location is at 559 Pacific Street, Monterey, CA. The La Mirada location is at 720 Via Mirada, Monterey, CA.
Although most people talk about the Monterey Museum of Art, this waterfront town also houses several other interesting museums. Many focus on the events that occurred in the area prior to and shortly after the time when California became a part of the United States.
Here is a quick overview of the other top museums you can enjoy during your stay in Monterey.
Originally built as a school and town hall, its rooms were used by the state's early leaders to draft the first California Constitution in October 1849. Today, you can visit this landmark and see a re-creation of the meeting room used to draft this important document. The Colton Hall Museum also offers a handful of exhibits on the early days of Monterey.
Location: City Hall on Pacific Street between Madison and Jefferson Streets
Hours: Everyday 10am - 4pm; Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day; Winter hours (mid-November to mid-January) Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat 10am - 4pm; Sun and Tues 12pm - 3pm
The Custom House is the oldest government building in California and is State Historic Landmark #1. In its early years, the government used it as a point of entry into Alta California from Mexico. It's also the location where Commodore John Drake Sloat claimed over 600,000 miles of territory for the US by raising the American flag. Today, you can walk through this building to see what it looked like in the 1840s and take a look at several artifacts from that time. It's one of the buildings in the Monterey State Historic Park group.
Location: Custom House Plaza near Fisherman's Wharf
Hours: Everyday 10am - 4pm
Walking Tours of Old Monterey: Leave from Custom House Plaza everyday except Monday at 10:30am, 12:30pm, and 2pm. $5 for adults, children under 12 are free. Tours are given on state and national holidays that fall on Mondays.
Another museum included as part of the Monterey State Historic Park is the First Brick House. This is where Gallant Dickinson introduced a new, more permanent method of building houses. Prior to 1847, all houses were made of adobe and didn't last long. Gallant built his house out of brick. Stop by to visit his original house and the Monterey history exhibits in the main room.
Location: Hertigate Harbor next to the Old Wailing Station
Hours: Everyday 10am - 4pm
If you are traveling with kids, you will want to stop at this hands-on children's museum. Exhibits here include My Build-a-House, My Theater, and My Go-Fore Golf. Each exhibit targets a specific age group so your kids can find an activity that's perfect for them.
Location: 425 Washington Street
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 5pm; Sunday 12pm - 5pm; Closed Monday
Admission: Adults $8; Children $8; Children under 2 free
The Museum of Monterey houses more than 50,000 pieces that showcase the history of this region. In their permanent collection, you will find costumes, textiles, and photographs. Other highlights here include several historic papers, early California works of art, and ship & boat models that reflect the diversity of this port city. The museum also features traveling exhibits from local and national artists.
Location: 5 Custom House Plaza, Monterey, CA
Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 11am - 5pm, Sunday Noon - 5pm, Closed Monday & Tuesday; Closed on New Year's Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving & Christmas
The Pacific House Museum is one of several museums and historic buildings that make up the Monterey State Historic Park. Built in 1847, this Monterey Museum features exhibits that tell the story of Monterey when it was the capital of California under Spanish and Mexican rule. It also houses the Monterey Museum of the American Indian where you will see pottery, baskets, and other Native American artifacts.
Location: Custom House Plaza just south of Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf
Hours: Everyday from 10am to 4pm
The Presidio of Monterey Museum houses exhibits featuring the history of military development in the area. It starts with the indigenous period, transitions to the time when Spain and Mexico ruled the area, and ends with the present. Due to the area's importance starting in 1902, much of the museum focuses on the development of this Presidio as a training base.
Location: Corporal Ewing Road, Building 113 in Lower Presidio Historic Park
Hours: Monday 10am - 1pm, Thursday - Saturday 10am - 4pm, Sunday 1pm - 4pm, Closed Tuesday & Wednesday; Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day
The final building that makes up the Monterey State Historic Park group is the Stephenson House & Museum. Over the years, this historic adobe building housed artists, writers, fisherman, and government officials. Its most famous resident was writer Robert Louis Stevenson. At the time, it was a rooming house called the French Hotel. He lived here for a few months in 1879. During his stay in Monterey, he wrote "Old Pacific Capital". Today, you can visit the restored house and see several rooms dedicated to Stevenson.
Location: 530 Houston Street
Hours: Thursday - Saturday 10am - 3pm, Sunday 12pm - 3pm, Closed Monday - Wednesday; (Winter schedule: Closed December 19, 2016 - January 1, 2017; from January to February, open Saturday 10am - 3pm and Sunday 12pm - 3pm and by appointment)
Admission: Adults $6, Children (6-12) $3, Children (5 and under) free