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Museum of Us, San Diego

3.3
#12 of 42 in Museums in San Diego
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The Museum of Us (formerly known as the San Diego Museum of Man) is a museum of anthropology located in Balboa Park, San Diego, California and housed in the historic landmark buildings of the California Quadrangle.

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Museum of Us reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 3.5
417 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • I like anthropology and I like museums. But I did not learn much from the exhibits on the Mayan or Egyptian civilizations or on the indigenous people of California. The people who curated the Maya... 
    I like anthropology and I like museums. But I did not learn much from the exhibits on the Mayan or Egyptian civilizations or on the indigenous people of California. The people who curated the Maya...  more »
  • I found Hostile Terrain 94 to be a pretty powerful exhibit. Looking at the map where 3200+ people have passed away while attempting to cross the US-Mexico boarder really made me stop and think. To.....  more
    I found Hostile Terrain 94 to be a pretty powerful exhibit. Looking at the map where 3200+ people have passed away while attempting to cross the US-Mexico boarder really made me stop and think. To.....  more »
  • Very interesting exhibits in the museum. The current ones included the dangers of crossing the US/Mexico boarder and the lives that are lost in this attempt. There was an exhibit on secrets... 
    Very interesting exhibits in the museum. The current ones included the dangers of crossing the US/Mexico boarder and the lives that are lost in this attempt. There was an exhibit on secrets...  more »
Google
  • It's been a few days and I can't stop thinking about these exhibits. I had been looking forward to it but this place more than exceeded my expectations. The exhibits are well curated and laid out. While I enjoyed exploring this place at the time, I wasn't even conscious of how incredibly interactive everything was and how that helped me understand concepts more deeply and made me think about them later. The cannibals: myths and realities exhibit is a unique one, especially, with pop culture references to draw folks in and thought provoking historical context that remains relevant.
  • Front desk folk were very helpful. The exhibitions were so beautiful and thought provoking. Over all learned a lot from the exhibitions and about myself. A great experience over all. You can definitely see all exhibitions in one day but make sure you take your walking shoes.
  • Not worth it. Poor value for money. $19.95 for adult tickets and $16.95 for kids and seniors means a four-person family will spend almost $75 just to get in the door. What do you get for that? 10-12 small exhibits which each take up a small room's worth of space. Even you take the time to read all the placards and displays, you'll get through each one in 5-15 minutes. At most, you'll spend an hour or two in the museum before wandering off to find something better to do. Missed opportunities. The museum has exciting collections hidden away in its archives AND plenty of space to display them. For example, it has the 6,000-item Jessop Weapons Collection, one of the largest collections of exotic weapons in the world. If you're lucky, you might see one or two objects from the collection on display. But don't worry, the Museum of Us has plenty of space for inscrutable modern art exhibits. The Mayan statuary exhibit, the crown jewel of the museum, has been updated ... with neon-toned graffiti spray-painted on the walls around it. I suppose the attempt to include modern Mayan artists is admirable ... but nothing has been done to help guests better interpret the stunning statues and the culture which made them. No dioramas. No VR or augmented reality goggles. No displays explaining Maya society or religion. No light displays to pick out interesting features on the statues. Just the same decades-old placards. The museum's much-diminished one-room Ancient Egyptian exhibit can only be described as a bitter disappointment. You won't learn anything meaningful about Egyptian gods and goddesses, how mummies were made, or much else about Ancient Egypt. You'll see remarkable objects like a shaduf yoke on display, but you won't learn anything about how this simple tool made agriculture possible in an arid desert. Oh, and you won't see any mummies. Messaging. From the moment you walk into the museum, you'll be bombarded with apologies, acknowledgements, and other pablums. If you hadn't guessed from the name change, the Museum of Us has no problem making charged political statements whenever possible. Half the exhibits at the Museum are now partly or wholly about race and racism. These are topics worth learning about, but the Museum of Us does it in the most ham-handed and inept way possible. The Cannibals exhibit, for instance, dedicates a quarter of its space to lambasting Columbus. It barely mentions the Aztecs, who are the subject of an intense academic debate about cannibalism. Were they industrial-scale human slaughterers who treated prisoners as "marching meat," as Marvin Harris argued? Or were those trumped-up charges that overplay the limited, religious nature of Aztec cannibalism? For a museum supposedly interested in centering itself on indigenous stories, giving more space to conquistadors than the Aztecs is pretty damning move. The effort to "decolonize" the museum has also caused many of its best exhibits to vanish, never to be seen again. One of the best parts of the Museum of Man was the mummy displays. Visitors could see Peruvian mummies and learn about how their high-altitude ritual burials had naturally preserved their remains. And visitors could learn about how these remains revealed secrets about ancient diets, healthcare, and much more. But it's all gone forever now, victims of the Museum's policy not to show human remains. You'd never knew they even existed. There aren't even mock-ups or images or the remains to take their places in the exhibits. The whole exhibits are just gone. In trying to decolonize, the Museum's gormless curators have managed to eliminate one of the few places Western audiences could learn about the Inca mummies and the Inca people they came from. The Museum of Man was one of the best anthropology museums in the world. I suppose the Museum of Us is a museum.
  • Pretty cool museum. Feels like there is something for everyone in there. I felt the flow of some of the exhibits was wonky and not very user friendly,. There could be better way finding. Also, lockers would be really great. Def worth the visit. The postcard confessions exhibit was very moving
  • Had the best weekend. Went riding around balboa park. My boyfriend was skateboarding and I rode my bike. It was a nice ride. Took the free tram back, it comes by every 15 min. This made parking super easy. Stopped by the Marston house. The grounds are gorgeous. We also did a virtual scavenger hunt. Which took us to places around the park we have never seen. Definitely stop by the Balboa park visitors center and grab a park map. I would also recommend going to their website to take advantage of the free entry on Tuesday's to one meusem.

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