National Steinbeck Center, Salinas

4.5
#1 of 9 in Things to do in Salinas
The National Steinbeck Center is a museum and memorial dedicated to the author John Steinbeck that is located at One Main Street in Salinas, California, the town where Steinbeck grew up.The Steinbeck Center Foundation was founded in 1983; the center itself was finished and opened to the public on June 27, 1998. The center houses the largest collection of Steinbeck archives in the United States, with various exhibits on his body of work and philosophy. There is also a wing dedicated to the experiences of agricultural workers in the United States, a topic that Steinbeck was passionate about.The Steinbeck Center has a focal point for activities to encourage learning about literature, human nature, history, agriculture, and the arts. Many educational programs are provided for the public, students and teachers, a multimedia experience for regional and national audiences.Steinbeck's House is located near the museum.
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National Steinbeck Center Reviews
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4.5
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  • A wonderful adventure to learn about the local history and culture of the Salinas Valley. I attended an event here and truly enjoyed the educational ambiance. Beautiful displays, photography of bygone...  more »
  • The National Steinbeck Center is a fascinating museum honoring the life and writings of John Steinbeck. The Center is well planned and laid out to educate and entertain all ages offering story boards,...  more »
  • Great place to visit if you are a reader of the famous author. The Salinas-Watsonville-Castroville-Monterey farming and fishing areas are well represented with cameos and vignettes in the displays and...  more »
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  • It has everything you'd expect to see. It takes you through different works he's written in a quasi-chronological order and discusses the meaning behind why he wrote it. There's also a few displays on Salinas and the towns around California. There are good visuals and it tries to have interactive pieces, mainly for children.
  • Two great videos about Steinbeck and agriculture around the Salinas area. A large room displaying all of his work and other nice historic information about Salinas, politics, and culture. Great content available for purchase at the gift store.
  • Very nice museum dedicated to Steinbeck, with extra exhibit halls for local area events. You walk through a series of sets from Steinbeck's era, with plenty of storyboards, photos, and rolling movie footage from his works. It is a very visual display, lots of space for groups of people to move through at their own pace. Docents are available. A gift shop with coffee mugs, magnets, stickers, etc, and of course hard cover and paperback copies of Steinbeck's classics. Give yourself 2 hours to walk through the exhibits, 3 hours if you read each storyboard, photo, watch films, etc. (The Steinbeck House Restaurant is separate from the Center, about 2 blocks away, and only opened for Brunch hours Tues to Sat. you should eat there First, then go to Center) James Dean from East Of Eden movie, actually crashed his Porsche (and died) on his way up to Salinas. This museum has a large display about the book & movie. James Dean crash site & memorial is east of Paso Robles at HWY 41 & 46.
  • Charming restaurant...all of a sudden modern day faded and early 20th century welcomed us. Afterward we went to the museum which also brought the past to life thru exhibits. Delightful day sharing with good friends.
  • I found this place by accident while visiting the Salinas Farmers Market. But what a treat! Very pleasant self guided tour. Not too crowded and very pleasant staff. I learned a lot about Steinbeck's life and career. Highly recomended!

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