No matter where your interests may lie, you’re likely to find a museum nearby to suit your needs.

With more than 90 museums in the county, San Diego offers a wide scope of museums that entertain and educate visitors about the fine arts, botanical gardens, children’s interests, history, sciences, animals and more.

Today, we recognize the influential role of museums worldwide on International Museum Day (IMD) as more than 36,000 museums in over 150 countries unite to increase public awareness of the role of museums in the development of society. Established in 1977 by the International Council of Museums, IMD has been steadily gaining momentum for more than 40 years.

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Exploring San Diego’s Museums

Locally, IMD coincides with the culmination of the San Diego Museum Council “The Big Exchange”, which gives members of participating organizations reciprocal admission at more than 30 museums throughout the county. During “The Big Exchange”, anyone who is a member at one of the participating institutions can enjoy full reciprocal free admission to the others.

Participating museums include Birch Aquarium at Scripps, San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, San Diego Natural History Museum, Mingei International Museum, Oceanside Museum of Art and more.

If you’re not a member of the participating museums, consider celebrating IMD by:

  • Exploring one of the 17 museums at Balboa Park (or investing in the Balboa Park Explorer Pass)
  • Visiting Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
  • Taking a family trip to museums for children, such as the New Children’s Museum downtown or Children’s Discovery Museum in Escondido
  • Heading out on the water to the USS Midway Museum or Maritime Museum of San Diego
  • Adventuring the ARTS DISTRICT Liberty Station and the many museums it houses

Long-Term Support for Local Museums

For years, San Diegans have supported their favorite museums to maintain the value and cultural history local museums share with our communities.

A group of museums partner with The San Diego Foundation to invest in their long-term sustainability through endowment funds. By establishing endowments, museums build enduring assets over time and a stable revenue stream to support the valuable programs they offer to our community, in perpetuity.

Please consider giving to museums with endowment funds that are making a lasting impact in the region:

Learn about the Power of an Endowment Fund