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“A Charming Look at the Decorative Arts” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Mingei International Museum

Mingei International Museum
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Ranked #95 of 424 things to do in San Diego
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Attraction details
Owner description: A museum of folk crafts with a variety of displays that run the gamut from textiles and toys to painting and sculpture.
San Diego
Level Contributor
231 reviews
177 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
“A Charming Look at the Decorative Arts”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 24, 2013

We discovered the Mingei on a free museum Tuesday. And, we keep coming back. First, the staff and volunteers are wonderful and so helpful. Second, each exhibit is expertly curated so the theme flows from piece to piece to piece. And, most importantly, the often ordinary is taken to the level of the work of a master craftsman. In the current exhibit, there are two guitars. So, what? A six string guitar is commonplace. But, these two are limited edition Taylor made beauties with mother of pearl, abalone shell, and a variety of exotic woods. These are something special to look at. Takings the ordinary and elevating it to the sublime is what Mingei exhibits are all about.

Visited May 2013
Thank AlandDiane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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89 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
73 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Great collection of contemporary and historical crafts”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 24, 2013

The craft scene is widely under appreciated by casual observers of the art world. The Mingei houses an excellent, rotating collection of crafts including furniture, musical instruments, fibers work, glass work, and other pieces. One of the highlights is the Chihuly chandelier hanging about the staircase. Well worth an hour of your time if you're strolling through Balboa, and definitely worth going out of your way if you're interested in craft art.

Visited March 2013
Thank John A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shaker Heights, Ohio
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Charming staff and fascinating exhibits”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 7, 2013

I loved this museum so much I went two days in a row. The objects are things that people use
or else are in the folk tradition. Lighting, installation and architecture are first rate, and the staff
is totally engaged and friendly. Also the gift shop has some very reasonably priced items
that I haven't seen elsewhere. On my next trip back to Balboa I will head immediately for the Mingei!

Visited April 2013
Thank donnaverush
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chula Vista, California
Level Contributor
104 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Small but interesting”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 19, 2013

I visited the Mingei on Resident Free Tuesday for the first time and found it to be a beautiful facility with an interesting collection and exhibits.

I have to admit that I wasn't overly impressed with the current Bill Traylor exhibit, but that's just personal preference. (The exhibit itself was very nicely done; it was the artwork that didn't excite me.) The musical instruments, furniture, Niki de Saint Phalle sculptures, and glasswork by Dale Chilhuly did a better job of grabbing my attention.

It's a small enough museum / collection where you can see it in about an hour.

The staff was helpful and informative.

You must check backpacks and large bags at the entrance, but the museum did allow photographs without flash (according to the staff member I asked).

There's a small gift shop near the entrance.

I'll keep my eye on future exhibitions and would definitely return if I find something that appeals to me.

Visited March 2013
Thank zed1958
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hyattsville, Maryland
Level Contributor
289 reviews
84 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
“A Really Lovely Guided Tour”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 3, 2013

My girlfriend and I recently came out from DC to visit her parents and found ourselves wandering around the Mingei museum one afternoon. It's a smaller (not small) museum, but it was well worth the trip.
At the door, we were met by Olivia, who asked us if we'd be interested in a guided tour. She was charming, engaging and very pleasant to speak with. Shortly thereafter, we were joined by Kathleen, another tour guide, who was just as lovely. It was actually really wonderful, because it felt like you were talking to a couple of every day, down to earth gals who just really loved the content of the place. They also had a wealth of knowledge on all of the different displays though. Very beneficial for us. It exemplifies the phrase "art of the people". By the people and for them to enjoy. I definitely thank them personally, as it's people like themselves who keep people like me returning.
The content of the museum itself was really wonderful. For my favorites, it'd be a toss-up between the Takamura furniture and the different musical instruments that they had on display. Really beautiful. I look forward to my next trip there!

Visited January 2013
1 Thank CaptainAwethume
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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