Mingei International Museum

Mingei International Museum, San Diego: Address, Phone Number, Mingei International Museum Reviews: 4.5/5

Mingei International Museum

Mingei International Museum
4.5
About
A museum of folk crafts with a variety of displays that run the gamut from textiles and toys to painting and sculpture.
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4.5
113 reviews
Excellent
66
Very good
33
Average
10
Poor
1
Terrible
3

An0nyMs
Tucson, Arizona1,053 contributions
Open again after three-year renovation
Oct 2021
This medium-sized museum was a real find in the crowded list of Balboa Park museums. I'd never been to the old version, but the renovated version that just opened is beautiful. (I'll attach some photos.) There's a new cafe that adds to the list of museum cafes to visit.

There's a sparse ground-floor exhibition that's free to visit. To see most of the collection, pay to go upstairs. (Hint: If you're a museum fan from out of town, buy a NARM pass -- North American Reciprocal Museums -- as part of a museum membership. It gets you into around 1,000 museums, like the Mingei, for free. There are lots of NARM institutions around San Diego. Note that some museums, like many in San Diego, won't accept a NARM pass from other museums geographically close to them.)
Written October 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

lsc_Denver
Denver, Colorado438 contributions
Great museum, but closed for a year
Aug 2018 • Couples
We enjoyed the limited exhibitions that were available as they packed everything up. The museum will be closed for a year now, for a total renovation.
Written September 5, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

ckckckckckck
Florida, Uruguay659 contributions
Enjoyable
Aug 2018 • Couples
We enjoyed the Mingei Museum while visiting Balboa Park. They have a history of fashion exhibit from the House of Isrea which was intriguing. They also had collection from pop culture artist William L Hawkins. They also had a fascinating rare books collection which ended up being my favorite exhibit.
Written August 26, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

crg505
Albuquerque, NM67 contributions
Loved it!
Jul 2018 • Solo
Adored everything here- William L. Hawkins' work is a treasure to see, the Jewish art exhibit was so eclectic, really incredible selection, loved the book exhibit and the ancient beads.....So sorry if they are closing for renovations.
Written August 20, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

GlobalGypsy_13
San Diego, CA2,687 contributions
Star is Closing for 1 Year (Sept.1, 2018 - ?)
Aug 2018 • Couples
This star in the Balboa Park complex of museums is closing on Sept. 1, 2018 for renovations that hopefully will only last 1 year. Thus, I'd take a cool break in August to enjoy the featured Jewish exhibit, the rare book show, the colorful Ohio artist -- William L. Hawkins, the Niki de Saint Phalle mobile in the lobby, Mexican toys, and Dale Chihuly hanging sculpture over the stairs. Good news is their well stocked international gift/book shop will open in Liberty Station in October, 2018.
Written August 8, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

favtravels
Santa Barbara,Ca205 contributions
A nothing sandwich
May 2018 • Couples
My wife and I visited the museum on May 22, believing it was the 3rd Tuesday of the month - when entrance is free. It is a strange scheduling, and imagine our surprise after driving 3.5 hours to San Diego when we were told it was not fee because it was actually the 4th Tuesday of the month. We were then assured, that even though they had just taken down the Navajo textile exhibit that there was "plenty to see".

We had wanted to come to this museum for a while. Several years earlier we bought an exhibition book published by the museum on Maeiki Neko. We really like Japanese folk art and since their name is the "Mingei" International museum, we were expecting a permanent collection of wonderful Japanese pieces.

Well, despite the name, there were less than a handful of Japanese items on display, and the entire exhibit on the first floor seemed like it could be packed up in a pair of 2' square boxes. There was an entire room dedicated to Guatemalan beads and beaded necklaces, and a the rest of the floor was a variety of pieces that were, forgettable.

There were some interesting pieces by new artisans, but why am I paying money to see a single piece, or small group of pieces by some new artist? If it was a gallery and the pieces were for sale, I'd have greater interest. But, that said, if it was a gallery, I woudn't pay $8 each to go and look at them.

The second floor was mostly illuminated manuscripts, and not very engaging. It isn't the first time I've seen them and nothing new was brought to the exhibition.

The collection of Mexican paper mache pieces was a bit more interesting, but not really anything you can't find in a good Mercado in Mexico City. They did have a large carousel horse covered in Huichol beading. The piece is nice, but it was also a missed opportunity. It stood there, with no information on the Huichol people, the process used to make it, nothing to provide context or depth.

I have been told that the exhibitions at this museum are amazing, but I didn't visit during one of those. We were there on a random Tuesday and we took a little more than 15 minutes to view everything on 2 floors.

A docent did try to help as we were leaving. We diplomatically tried to ask. . "where is all the Japanese Mingei? Really, It's like going to an Air and Space museum and they've replaced all the planes and aircraft with a fine display of Amish quilts. If the name of the museum is "Air & Space" . I expect planes,.. if your name is "Mingei". . I expect Japanese folk art.

The docent tried to salvage our visit by saying that they did have one Maneki Neko. . .inside the plexiglass box where they accept donations. Which is not really an exhibition piece as much as standard issue kitsch that you find beside every cash register in Japan.

In the end, it wasn't worth the price of admission. The permanent collection lacked any core of Japanese Mingei items (which is the first word in the name of the museum) and the remaining pieces that were on display were average at best, having seen most of them for sale in antique stores over the past 20 years.

In the end, it was a very underwhelming experience.
Written June 7, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

_ivypruett
Eugene, OR68 contributions
Delightful folk art museum
Apr 2018 • Couples
The Mingei Museum in Balboa Park is a great place to spend a morning. The interior is beautiful, and spacious. The Mingei specializes in folk art. Recently, we saw an exhibit of Navajo rugs. The docent on duty was very helpful, and looked up a technical question we had about the weaving. We try to visit every time we visit San Diego. The gift shop is very expensive for a museum shop, but it is clear that all of the pieces are very high quality.
I would like to see the children's section enlarged. If you like museums, perhaps the Mingei is for you.
Written May 4, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

GlobalGypsy_13
San Diego, CA2,687 contributions
Always Fun!
Mar 2018 • Solo
In the Mingei Museum you get a taste of other cultures. Their outstanding deign team makes their changing shows come alive. Currently (March 2018),the upper level features Navajo weavings (great color & designs) and "voluminous Art" with art books from 3 university libraries in San Diego. Don't miss the elevator shop on floor 2 that is enclosed with metal "caps" for batik from Indonesia. In their well-stocked, spacious gift shop I enjoy browsing and finding that unique gift. For a fun, educational experience, go to the Mingei International Museum.
Written March 30, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Marjie K
Cortlandt Manor, NY142 contributions
My favorite museum in San Diego
Mar 2018 • Solo
I didn't know what to expect when I added this one to my 'pick five' ticket at Balboa Park, and it ended up being my favorite museum of all those I visited. The beaded carousel horse stole the show, and the gift shop had some really cool and funky clothing that I gifted for myself!
Written March 18, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Gelatifan
Toronto, Canada370 contributions
A folk art treasure box
Feb 2018 • Couples
We hadn't heard of this eclectic small museum when a local artist told us it was not to be missed. What you'll see depends on what's on view--currently, Bengali and Navajo textiles, Mexican toys and handicrafts, Indonesian puppets, pre-Columbian art, all of it beautifully presented, with well informed docents nearby to spark conversations. Most of these artists were unknown and didn't think of themselves as artists, rather as providers of solutions to everyday problems. Kids need playthings, the table needs covering. Yet they created beautiful things that elevate an ordinary day. You can get a sense of the place in an hour, although it would reward a longer stay if you're in the mood to learn and ponder. Don't miss the exceptional gift shop.
Written January 31, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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