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’ 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


Survey Open Now & Closes on October 27, 2017


Monterey, CA. – The role of public art in a community can take on many facets. The City of Monterey Community Services Department wants to hear from you about how public art can enhance Downtown Monterey. All residents are encouraged to participate in the survey. 

The Art in Downtown survey is an NIP-funded project. Its purpose is to ask for your help to create a plan for art in Downtown Monterey. The idea is to connect a path from the Lower Presidio to the Royal Presidio Chapel on Church Street, provide outdoor public art identifying Monterey’s historic and cultural assets, and to aid point-to-point way-finding. 

This project will also include a community meeting on Thursday, November 2, 2017 in the Council Chamber to review the survey results.

Please take the survey for art and history:






Submit your proposal for a acoustic music concert at Few Memorial Hall for 2018

The Museums and Cultural Arts Commission of the City of Monterey invites acoustic music artists and/or groups to submit proposals for acoustic music concert in Few Memorial Hall for the year 2018. NEWS RELEASE IN PDF

ADA Accessible Pathways Under Construction at Lower Presidio Historic Park

Serra Statue, Bouchard and Sloat Monuments soon to be accessible to all

Construction is in progress for the ADA accessible pathways to the Serra statue, Bouchard and Sloat monuments and the Presidio of Monterey Museum. The pathways to the Serra statue and Bouchard monument are nearly complete, and the accessible pathway to the Sloat monument will be completed by the end of November. The parking lot at the Museum is nearing completion and the date will be announced soon.

Visitors may still see the Presidio of Monterey Museum by taking the detour from Lighthouse Avenue to Foam Street, left on Reeside, right on Lighthouse and a right turn onto Pvt. Bolio Road. Do not go to the guard house but make the first sharp left turn onto Cpl. Ewing Road and follow the road. You will see the Museum on your right. Parking on the grass is permitted while construction continues for the ADA parking.

Bicentennial of the Battle of Monterey

Coming in 2018! Stay tuned!

Find out about this exciting event here:

2017 Schedule of Free tours of Pacific Biological Laboratories

2017 Schedule of Free tours of Pacific Biological Laboratories

Second Saturdays - Oct. 14, Nov. 11

We are pleased to offer free one-hour tours of the Pacific Biological Laboratories (Ed Ricketts’ Lab) at 800 Cannery Row.  Tours times: 9 am, 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2 pm, and 3:30 pm.

Lab Docents will tell the history of marine biologist Ed Ricketts, his friendship and collaboration with John Steinbeck, and of the "PBL Members" who bought the Lab in the mid-1950s and who were instrumental in the founding of the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Tours also feature a scale model of the Lab in the 1940s, created by Bill Johnk.  There will be opportunities for visitors to purchase a copy of a special photo-bookplated editions of John Steinbeck’s books plus other local authors.With the purchase of a book and a minimum $ 5.00 donation, visitors will receive a tax-deductible donation receipt.

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED for these popular tours as spaces are limited. Contact the Colton Hall Museum at 831-646-5640. Reservations must be made by 4:00 pm the Friday before the tour. Contact the Museum (646-5640) in advance if you cannot attend. Please allow time to park and walk to the Lab. The City of Monterey is committed to include the disabled in all of its services, programs and activities.  If you require a hearing amplification device to attend an event, dial 711 to use CRS to talk to the City Museums Division Office at (831) 646-5648 to coordinate use of a device or for information. 

Find out more information about Ed Ricketts's Lab here:

Special group tours for cultural and educational groups:

and just recently featured in "The Bulletin", Bend Oregon: