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“Worst museum ever...save your time and money”

San Diego Museum of Man
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San Diego Gaslamp Segway Tour
Ranked #82 of 446 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 January 20, 2013

The worst museum experience ever...very disappointing! Very little on exhibit, lots of written information that could have been experienced via the Internet. Save your money and time and avoid this museum.

1  Thank forgetmenot2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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228 - 232 of 309 reviews

Reviewed January 13, 2013

This place has one of the most infamous, yet unbelievably interesting, exhibits: authentic instruments of torture from the inquisition. Not for the faint-hearted.

Thank GlootsMan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2013

Went to this Museum for the first time as part of a work party there. The curators and all of the staff there were friendly and helpful for the exhibits. Love4d the evolution theme for man and the Egyptology Exhibit was wonderful, even have coffins and two mummies

Thank julie c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2012

After an incredible time at the Natural History Museum I was prepared to be amazed at the Museum of Man. What a dissappointment it was. Small, dull it even sucked the life outta the Egyptian mummies...skip this place.

Thank WesWSD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2012

This museum has sufficient exhibits to teach kids about evolution, the origin of species and the origin of humans, the origin of life on earth, and even a little bit on the slowing evolving shape of the land masses on earth. Some of the terrible ratings were understandable. Foreign tourists may not understand.

I have checked that the evolution of man exhibits is unique in Southern California. The Natural History Museum in Los Angeles do not have anything obviously related to human evolution or even evolution alone. The nearby Natural History Museum in San Diego has something related to evolution but not about humans. The Natural History Museum in Orange County is closed. There may be one such museum left in Santa Ana with only a phone number listing but no website. That alone deserves 5 stars if you want to teach kids about evolution, rather than wait till 12 to study at school. By then there may be the possibility of evolution being taken out of the curriculum, if presidents such as Bush and Reagen are free to have their wishes fulfilled.

The iconic building was erected to celebrate the opening of the Panama canal. Goods from old Europe can reach the west coast much sooner. If you come from the old entrance to the museum area, this is what I call grand entrance when you walk up to the Museum of Man, the first and the oldest building of the lot. But nowadays you will be directed off the freeway and enter from the other side - the zoo. Indeed it is rather difficult to find the MoM. Wherever you park, basically you walk pass all the other museums to get there. Suspiciously, I did not spot the name of MoM on the road signs on the ground! Of course it is (still) on the handout map.

It is not as impressive as the British Museum of course. It is also not as entertaining as Madam Tussuad. If you have visited a well funded Natural History Museum with the history of man exhibits, perhaps you don't need to visit this one. But I doubt how many states and how many counties in US have museums like this.

This MoM is by no means terrible. The interior is as grand as the exterior. Small is relative. The exhibit areas are spacious, with natural lighting. There are two buildings on each side of the entrance road, one devoted to the History of torture. I don't blame them as museums are struggling to be popular. The history of man building has two floors, each have corners and rooms for related exhibits.

I concentrate on the history of man exhibits. There are replicas of skulls/bones/reconstructed hairy bust. They are not broken nor dusty - what do you expect? You don't see the whole tree of life but there are side by side comparisons emphasizing the evolution of prehistoric human species, the existence of common ancestor of human species and common ancestor of human species and other animals. There is something about DNA, changing of Continental land masses, and fossil dating. I find it sufficient to teach kids about the concept of change, evolve and evidence. If you can't wait until your kids are 12, this is the best or the only choice in SoCal.

There are a few video booths for apes that doesn't work. The video in general aren't that interesting and the equipment shows their age. Hey, the Getty isn't much better.

The other exhibits are about human civilization. The main hall is for Mayan, probably because of 2012. One big hall is obviously not scholastically enough for subjects like Mayan civilization. One wing on the upper floor for Egyptians. Again no British Museum.

There is one hands on area at the entrance for kids. They can play sign language video "games", brailles typewriter, and try walking blind with a stick. Since I had a hard time avoiding them coming at me left and right, I think they were having fun.

Thank agnostic2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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