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San Diego Museum Month 2021: How to Celebrate Virtually or Outdoors

San Diego Museum Month will look different this year due to COVID-19, but February remains the perfect month to discover (or re-discover) the story of San Diego as told through our diverse range of museums, historic sites, gardens, aquariums and more.

Join us on social media every day in February as we explore a rich world of cultural experiences, including special museum moments you can only find in San Diego. We are pivoting to a mostly digital model that will celebrate museums—virtually or outdoors—throughout the entire month.

Some of these Museum Month experiences include:

  • Live events

  • On-demand virtual tours, exhibitions or experiences

  • Hybrid programs that combine at-home kits/materials with interactive online components

  • Open calls for you and your family to participate from home

  • Gardens and outdoor museums that will be open for visitors in February

Note: Some events are ticketed, but many are free. Please visit each host museum’s website to learn more about the events and opportunities that interest you.

Live events

  • Lunchtime Live is a weekly event created as a response to COVID-19. Log onto Facebook to interact with the Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center weekly as its staff highlight a variety of species and topics. Learn more.

  • On February 22 at 1 p.m., the Visions Art Museum will host local ecology nonprofit Ocean Connectors to share what they see—as scientists and educators—when they look at the museum’s new Shifting Tides exhibition. Find out more.

  • On Thursday, February 18 at 6:30 p.m., the San Diego Archaeological Center presents the Zoom event Living Room Lecture: Ancient Maya Cave Rituals. In this talk, Dr. Jon Spenard will discuss his ongoing cave ritual research in Belize with a particular focus on understanding the relationship between cave rituals and the ancient Maya collapse.

  • Ever wanted to meet a raptor? Now’s your chance. The Nat’s Lead Educator Ashton Huge will host a special conversation with Falconer Bob Gordon. This event is hosted on two dates: Feb. 24 and 26.

  • The San Diego Museum of Art will provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the research and planning of the large, groundbreaking exhibition to be shared in 2024. Join SDMA for Planning Wonders to learn about the exhibition on science and Islamic art on February 19 at 10 a.m.

  • The Lux Art Institute will produce a virtual artist talk for its current Artist-in-Residence Beatriz Cortez. The presentation will have two dates; one for Spanish-speaking audiences on February 18 at 6 p.m. and another for English speakers on February 25 at 6 p.m.

  • With an online streaming catalog of five films, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival returns to the Museum of Photographic Arts for its 11th annual San Diego run from February 2 – 8. Get your passes and join online for a week of dynamic films and live conversations with filmmakers and human rights experts from around the world.

  • Join Mingei International Museum in celebrating Black History Month. You won’t want to miss this month’s Family Sunday as Hip Hop artist and community leader Ramel Wallace teaches you how to make your own face mask from home. Family Sunday will be hosted February 21 at 12:30 p.m. on Facebook Live.

  • The Heritage of the Americas Museum offers the opportunity to schedule live virtual tours for students/classes. Tours can be scheduled by calling 619-670-5194 or emailing Donations accepted.

  • Tour Downtown San Diego’s oldest building from the comfort of your own home. The Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House’s virtual format allows participants to go beyond the velvet ropes to get up–close views of artifacts the public rarely gets to view. Email to book your private zoom tour.

  • The San Diego Air & Space Museum is celebrating Apollo 14’s 50th Anniversary with an hour-long video interview with Apollo 14 Flight Director Gerry Griffin and CAPCOM Fred Haise. More details to come through the museum’s website.

  • Join the Birch Aquarium at Scripps for the online event “The Art and Science of Atmospheric Rivers and the Changing Hydroclimate of the West” with Meteorologist Alexander Gershunov. The lecture will be broadcast for free on Zoom. Registration details will be posted on Birch Aquarium’s website before the event.

  • Each week, The Museum of Making Music’s virtual live MoMM@Home series invites musical guests to share their careers, experiences, and connections to their instruments. Episodes will be shown on their website, in addition to the museum’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

On-demand virtual tours, exhibitions or experiences

  • The San Diego History Center has launched its new exhibit, Celebrate San Diego: Black History & Heritage. This initiative partners with, listens to, shares milestones, and captures physical and digital elements reflecting this vibrant community’s unique history.

  • The Coronado Historical Association began collecting and archiving its community’s response to COVID-19. Browse through dozens of student artworks in a virtual exhibit “Coronado Responds: Student Art of the Pandemic.

  • On February 13, an instructor from the San Diego Model Railroad Museum will guide children through hands-on activities to learn how bridges work to support trains passing over them. Register for the Zoom link.

  • Think Play Create From Home is a free online resource by The New Children’s Museum for children and families to get creative at home, including a variety of fun DIY crafts.

  • Mission San Luis Rey’s online auction is packed with chances to bid on exciting experiences at the Mission that have never been offered before. Visit their website starting February 1 at 8 a.m. to register and start bidding.

  • Sine Kwento: Filipino Stories in Film is a collaboration between the Bonita Museum & Cultural Center and the San Diego Filipino Cinema. The exhibition takes visitors from the beginnings of Philippine cinema into the modern age of media Filipino American vloggers in San Diego: Check out a virtual tour and interview with its curators.

  • The California Center for the Arts, Escondido Museum is providing digital content each Monday for their exhibition “Campus Creatives.” Follow the museum on social media for a short interview, studio tour, or video from a different artist in the exhibition. Learn more.

  • California Surf Museum will release a sneak-peak video about their new exhibit “Surfboard Craftsmanship: Artistry in Wood.” See here for more.

  • The Inside Loop is a weekly podcast by the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum where experts answer questions about aviation, physics, space, U.S. history and military service. Learn more.

Hybrid programs: At-home kits/material with interactive online components

  • From San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, limited-edition Roots: Thailand activity kits are available for free at participating San Diego Public Library branches during the month of February.

  • It’s never too early to start learning science! Children ages 3-5 can start their learning experiences and create excitement for science with Young Scientists, presented by the Fleet Science Center on Thursdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. Registration is required.

  • Mingei International Museum shares art-making activities for the families in our community while under stay-at-home orders. To do this, they mail free craft kits directly to participants so they can enjoy a family-friendly art activity at home! Sign up for emails here.

Open calls for you and your family to participate from home

  • La Jolla Historical Society invites San Diego County authors to submit stories for the San Diego Decameron Project. Local authors can submit previously-unpublished fiction or nonfiction narratives based loosely around the theme of the current pandemic. The stories will be digitally archived with the San Diego Public Library and La Jolla Historical Society, and a book of the selected 100 stories will be distributed to libraries in the City and County systems.

  • The current timeline at the San Diego History Center’s new exhibit “Celebrate San Diego: Black History & Heritage” needs input to reflect the history of Black San Diegans. The public is encouraged to submit their memories that tell a more complete story of the people that have built Black San Diego. Make a submission here.

  • The Museum of Photographic Arts’ call for entries for its Annual Juried Youth Exhibition is open now to all students K-12 in San Diego County and Tijuana. This year’s theme is space! Become an exhibiting artist here.

  • Gardens and outdoor venues open to the public

  • The San Diego Botanic Garden remains open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Wednesdays – Sundays. They invite everyone to come out and breathe in some fresh air! Especially families with kids! TIP: The gardens also have on-site yoga classes, every Saturday, from 9:15 – 10:15 a.m.

  • The Lux Art Institute presents its outdoor Artist-in-Residence exhibition [Glyph] through March 27, 2021. This exhibition features the work of Beatriz Cortez, rafa esparza, Kang Seung Lee, Candice Lin, Pavithra Prasad, and Christian Tedeschi. The exhibition opens with the installation of Cortez’s “Glacial Erratic”, then each artist will spend a minimum of one week with Lux contributing a new work of art to the exhibition hosted along Lux’s hiking trails.

  • Starting in February, visitors can again experience the legacy of the USS Midway Museum. See firsthand the museum’s extensive collection of naval aircraft and be captivated by the ship’s award-winning audio tour. Learn more here.

  • The Maritime Museum of San Diego will reopen to the public on February 13 (for weekends only). The museum’s outdoor experience includes a walking tour of the upper decks of the historic fleet, including the world’s oldest sailing ship, Star of India.

  • The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum has also been cleared to re-open, with outdoor exhibits featuring more than 30 historic aircraft (Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.).

Follow the San Diego Museum Council on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to re-discover these and more San Diego gems during the month of February.


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