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“Cataclysmic waste of time and money.”

San Diego Museum of Man
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San Diego Gaslamp Segway Tour
Ranked #73 of 451 things to do in San Diego
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Owner description: The San Diego Museum of Man is your museum! Join the hundreds of thousands of people each year who come to see its exhibits on beer, monsters, torture, race, human and primate evolution, and more. You can also experience one of most important ancient Egyptian collections in the United States, which includes authentic Egyptian mummies, an exceptionally rare child sarcophagus, and one of the world's few surviving examples of Nefertiti's cartouche. Also, for the first time in 80 years, we are now offering guided tours of the California Tower - one of San Diego's most iconic landmarks. Tower tour tickets are timed like theater tickets, so be sure to purchase tickets in advance to secure your desired date and time.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed September 3, 2012

I was really looking forward to seeing MoM, the website makes it sound fascinating. The building itself is beautiful as is the interior, so at least it has that going for it. I was in and out of the place in literally 20 minutes, there is so little to look at! Mostly plaques with boring facts, rather than interesting artefacts. There was even a massive section full of cutesy ethnic photographs. If I had wanted to look at the likes of this, I would have googled it. It's $12 into the MoM, but you have to pay an extra $8 to get into the torture exhibition which, admittedly, was fascinating but, again, small and only took about 10 minutes to look around. Seriously don't bother.

5  Thank davidross89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 27, 2012

My husband and I went yesterday to enjoy an afternoon at a Museum. We got in free for the Museum part which was nice as they had a promotion for Military Families, but had to pay for their Torture Exhibit which was no problem for us. This was the smallest Torture exhibit we have seen, it was in 1 room which was long, and did have some cool items to look at. They had told us not to touch anything yet there were some people touching the exhibit items. There was even a lady with a baby stroller that contained a small dog, NOT a service dog mind you. Last time I checked I didn't think dogs were allowed in unless they were a service dog. Maybe I'm wrong but I thought that was rather strange.

The Museum itself has a gorgeous building, really beautiful. Inside their exhibits seemed to be the normal and lacking a bit. They had a skate board section which we didn't find interesting but for some it could possibly be fun. They had an exhibit on the Aztecs which was nice to look at the replicas of carvings of stones from the actual site. Upstairs it was all about "how people evolved from Monkeys and apes". Mind you I don't believe in the whole evolution from monkey/ape to man but I did enjoy seeing the skeletons of past monkeys/apes and how the different species differ from one another.

Their exhibit that I was looking most forward to was the Mummy's and ancient Egypt. They did have several mummies to look at and this was my most liked exhibit but compared to the Museum in Boston and the Museum I had been to in England this was sub par. One room and that was all.

The whole trip inside was a bit disappointing it was more so when my husband told me that it hadn't changed from when he went 12 years ago! Except for the exhibit on skateboarding as this was new. The rest of it was almost identical. It was not even worth the money for the torture exhibit. I would have been more upset if I had paid the admission AND the torture fee to get in. NOT worth the price, not even the $37 we paid.

3  Thank pink46girl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2012

What a complete waste of time. Look at many of the other reviews and most agree, this place is "old" and the exhibits they have on display are "dated". Translated - they're BORING!

Nothing, I mean nothing, is worth seeing in this dump. What an embarrassment, especially as a lifetime San Diegan, to see this museum mentioned as a "real museum", when you could better spend your time and money at any of the other museums in the Park and not feel like you were swindled.

The only positive, we went on Free Tuesday... And I still feel cheated!

3  Thank Cole_J_12385
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2012

Where to begin... Let's see, The exterior of the building is iconic, no denying that. But once you enter the tired and dated lobby that looks like Grandma's sitting room, it's all down hill from there! First off, who came up with these exhibits? What, did some old, rundown, irrelevant museum hold a rummage sale and MoM buy all the outdated junk that was left? But it gets better, or should I say worse. There's the 50's style exhibits, which show absolutely no thought, effort or attempt to become relevant or at least somewhat interactive, mixed in with what can only be described and someone's unbelievably poor and uneducated attempt at bringing in tired and traveled packaged exhibits. What, did the Head Dingbat in Charge look in his book of, "Traveling Junk We Can Show For Less" and pick the three least interesting exhibits? This hodgepodge of stuff that's clearly a stab at trying to catch lighting in a bottle without lifting a finger, reeks of a lack of creativity and leadership while not being in touch with what today's museum patrons want. Honestly, it's embarrassing and condescending to think that someone over the age of 5 might be even the least bit interested in this collection of junk.

And speaking of those five or younger, parents they clearly don't want you or your kids visiting anytime soon. Nothing more than a dirty dressing room and a few old monkeys for your kiddos. Wow.

Save your time and money, if this is the type of stuff you're into, google "boring museum's from the 1940's" and you'll see it all perfect black and white, just the way it's presented at this tired old relic.

3  Thank James B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2012

As a fan of anthropology and with a background in biology, I was excited to visit San Diego's Museum of Man. My expectations did not match reality.

I regularly visit natural science and history museums, so I like to think I have a fairly good knowledge of what works and what doesn't work. There was a lot in this museum that could have been improved.

The main hall had a very impressive set of plaster casted models of Mayan monuments and art. They even had some information about the history of the pieces and exhibit, a detail that was lacking throughout most of the museum.

Part of the main hall was taken up by a "filler" exhibit of photography. While I understand the need to fill empty spaces with stuff, the photography exhibit added little value and provided no additional knowledge beyond, "Oh, here's a picture of another culture." The space that housed this exhibit would be better served with an actual installation and educational materials.

The Footsteps through Time was a bit confusing, in that the footsteps on the ground to direct you at times crossed over one another and seemed to backtrack. This exhbit also includes some busts created for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. These dated, biased artifacts definately serve a purpose in showing how our knowledge of Human development has advanced, but gave the impression that they were as equally credible as the significantly more recent models of Australopithecus and Gigantopithecus.

The Ancient Egypt exhibit took a shotgun approach. Mummies from around the world and artificats from different periods in the development of Ancient Egypt were interspersed with no sort of rhyme or reason. This exhibit also dedicated an entire wall to "The Lemon Grove Mummy" describing her life, pregnancy and characteristics - but no identifier as to where she was from or how she was discovered. Luckily my iPhone was there to answer my questions.

The bright part of this museum was the annex across the street housing an Instruments of Torture exhibit. It was well laid out, very informative and both answered questions and asked questions of the participants. Unfortunately, access to this area requires you to purchase a ticket to the much weaker exhibits AND an additional fee for the Instruments of Torture.

In short, the Museum of Man would benefit from a curator taking a new and dynamic approach to education and exhibition. Save yourself some time and money and visit one of the other stellar museums in Balboa Park.

3  Thank Matt B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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