Making History in San Diego

San Diego Historical SocietyIn January 2010, the AHA annual meeting will be held in San Diego for the first time. In anticipation of this historic (so to speak) event, check out the web site of the San Diego Historical Society.

The San Diego Historical Society maintains four* two unique museums in southern California: the Museum of San Diego History and the Junipero Serra Museum (one of San Diego’s most familiar landmarks, located in Presidio Park), the George White & Anna Gunn Marston House, and Villa Montezuma*. The Museum of San Diego History, located in Balboa Park, is the headquarters of the society. Here are the exhibitions that chronicle San Diego’s diverse history, as well as the society’s research library, home to over 45 million pieces of paper and 2.5 million images that document the people, places, and events of San Diego’s past. The museum is closed on Mondays, but open 10-5 Tuesday through Sunday. The second Tuesday of each month has free admission (that would be January 12, 2010, two days after the annual meeting). The web site calendar provides details on upcoming events at the Museum of San Diego History.

Check out the current exhibits at the Museum of San Diego History by browsing the current exhibitions page on the web site. For one exhibit, “Dressing a City: Selected Styles from Marston’s Department Store, 1878-1961,” there are additional photographs from the museum that can be clicked through. While there’s nothing there now, bookmark the upcoming exhibitions page to track what will be on display when we arrive in January 2010.

Researchers will want to visit the Collections and Online Resources pages to get started on preparing a research agenda for their annual meeting trip. The Online Resources page has an archive of photographs and documents, and the back issues of the society’s quarterly, the Journal of San Diego History. Be sure also to visit the society’s education resources for various ages, linked on the sidebar.

*UPDATE:The San Diego Historical Society no longer operates the Marston House nor the Villa Montezuma. The web site of the Marston House Museum and Gardens is now See the web site for an updated schedule and more information.

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  1. Melanie

    The San Diego Historical Society no longer operates the George White & Anna Gunn Marston House or the Villa Montezuma due to funding issues. The Marston House will be reopened to the public next week (operated by the Save Our Heritage Organisation) but the Villa Montezuma is not accessible and is unlikely to be for some time.

  2. Friends of the Villa Montezuma, Inc. (Louise Torio, Chair)

    The Villa Montezuma Museum (the Jesse Shepard/”Francis Grierson” House) is currently closed for restoration. The Friends of the Villa Montezuma, Inc. (FOVM) has worked with the City of San Diego (owner of the sites) and will soon have significant funds to begin the foundation restoration in early 2010. We are excited that after over three decades of service to the Villa that we have been instrumental in finding funding in these very difficult economic times. We look forward to restoration and reopening of the Villa in order to be the future operators of this Victorian masterpiece. In the mean time, we do walking tours of Jesse Shepard’s neighborhood, the Sherman Heights Historic District. We’d love to have visitors to San Diego for the AHA Annual Meeting come walk with us! For more information please visit, call us at 619-255-9367, or contact us at

  3. Sande Lollis

    SOHO is pleased to announce an agreement of operations of the historic Marston House with the City of San Diego.

    The property, which was originally built for George Marston and his family by the internationally renowned architects William Sterling Hebbard and Irving Gill, became a house museum in 1987 after the Marston family gifted it to the City of San Diego for “the enjoyment of the public”.

    Spend some time exploring the grounds, formal gardens and canyon pathways in the shade of towering pine, eucalyptus and oak trees. Learn about one of San Diego’s most prominent families and the master architects and renowned landscape designers who worked with the family to create one of the region’s most important estates.

    Read more about it here: