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National Steinbeck Center, Salinas

4.5
#1 of 10 in Things to do in Salinas
Art Museum History Museum
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
305 reviews
Google
4.5
  • I recently visited for the second time. It's a must for a Steinbeck fan, but I'd recommend it to as relevant to all. In addition to having interesting information and artifacts related to Steinbeck's ...  more »
  • I've read some Steinbeck and really wanted to see this museum. My husband is neutral to Steinbeck but still enjoyed. It's laid out in a cute way, themed by book. I did feel the exhibits were a bit flu...  more »
  • Well laid out and clearly a tribute to the contribution Steinbeck made to the American persona. Makes me want to revisit his classic works.  more »
Google
  • Small museum with few interactive activities for youngsters. No audio devices for guided tour narration (in English or any other language). Two brief films in the small theatre were informative but only for a adults. A film specifically designed for youngster us advised. No highlights or recordings from the annual Steinbeck weekend is available as part of the tour. Bookstore is unattended and signage fails to tell shoppers that the admissions clerk is also the bookstore cash register attendant. Bookstore has a lot of books all offered at retail prices. I bought 2 to support the Center; however, I felt that the pricing discouraged sales. No Steinbeck merchandise specifically designed for youngsters (boat replica, action figure, stress ball vegetables, squeaky mouses) and no collectible replicas (bronze bust, high quality resin boat replica, glowing pearl which float above a magnetic base) were available for adult Steinbeck fans. I saw no catalogs or flyers of merchandise to take with me nor did I get a complimentary bookmark offering a discount on membership, next visit or next purchase. I wanted this shrine to be more than it was yet I was an am grateful for it's very existence. It's mission cannot be achieved in any other place and no other place ought to even try.
  • Very clean and relaxed. I enjoyed myself. I'm surprised because it was a small Museum and I went to sleep many times reading The Grapes of Wrath. It really helped me to understand the period of the Dust Bowl and the area.
  • This museum does a great job of introducing the life and work of John Steinbeck, who was born and raised in Salinas. It also tells a lot about the lives of the people who have made Salinas what it is. It works for many different ages, and is really well designed for teachers who are organizing outings with their students about specific books that Steinbeck wrote and which are popular with high school and college students.
  • This was a great museum. There were so many interactive displays and different thinks to look at. It is geared toward Steinbeck fans, but those new to his work can appreciate it and gain a better understanding of his life, influences and contributions. Relatively quiet on the Saturday morning we visited.
  • A gem in the Central Valley. It will make you proud to be an American. Salinas is becoming a nice destination for Monterey-based visitors.

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