Find your spot

Find other facilities on map

San Diego Natural History Museum, CA

Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program


The San Diego Natural History Museum traces its roots to an enthusiastic group of amateur naturalists, who formed the San Diego Society of Natural History in 1874 to study the scientifically unknown region in which they had recently settled. The Society has continued the tradition of learning, teaching about, and preserving our natural heritage. The history of the Society is rich in accomplishments in the scientific exploration of the geological and biological history of Southern California and the Baja California peninsula, as well as farther afield. We opened our first exhibits in rooms in a hotel in 1912, moved to Balboa Park five years later, and built our present facility there in 1933. In 1991 members of the Society, along with a broad base of civic and scientific leaders, developed a strategic plan which defined the Mission of the Society, emphasizing a strong focus on our region. They designed a detailed plan for building the organizational and financial structure to accomplish that mission. Our Board of Trustees is dedicated to bringing it to fruition. A Binational Advisory Board guides the Museum in fulfilling its commitment to taking a leadership role in transborder and binational environmental issues. Our scientific and educational missions are carried out by the Biodiversity Research Center of the Californias, established in 1996, and the Environmental Science Education Center, launched in 1998. The Campaign for the Natural History Museum for the 21st Century is well on its way to its goal for funding a major expansion and renovation of the museum building in Balboa Park, as well as endowing research and educational programs. Groundbreaking was celebrated in November, 1998, with completion of the new wing projected for January, 2001. The San Diego Society of Natural History is building a regional scientific and educational institution that exceeds the promise of its past, and that will be worthy of the challenges of the future of our region and its people. Please visit the SDNHM online for more information on programs and exhibitions. helps you discover and book trips to all of America's public places.
Learn more about us, or about any of our agency partners below:
Bureau of Land Management Federal Highway Administration National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration Smithsonian Institution USDA Forest Service US Army Corps of Engineers US Fish and Wildlife Service National Park Service Bureau of Engraving and Printing Tennessee Valley Authority Bureau of Reclamation National Archives Records Administration

Agency Partners