The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park

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2115 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101
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Open:
Tuesday - Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Honor the military heroes of San Diego by touring The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park. With programs and a research library, it is much more than just a gallery.
The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park
Honor & Valor
What to Expect
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Display of Heroics
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Exhibits / Attractions
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Honor & Valor at The Veterans Museum

The military history of San Diego comes to life at The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park. This comprehensive collection of objects, artifacts, photographs, and documents chronicles the trials and tribulations of San Diego veterans from all branches of the US Armed Forces including the US Coast Guard and Merchant Marines.

Opened in 1989 in what was formerly the Chapel of the Naval Hospital on Inspiration Point, this Balboa Park museum not only commemorates the sacrifices of active and retired military service members but it also provides educational and supportive programming to the public and local community.

The Veterans Museum hosts special events throughout the year to honor and remember veterans, but it is also available for private events such as graduations, weddings, and anniversaries. In addition, both service members and the rest of the San Diego community have access to the museum’s extensive research library which includes over 10,000 books, videos, and papers.

Military museums can be found throughout the country, but this one at Balboa Park stands out because it serves as a meeting site for military organizations in addition to its role in educating the community and venerating local heroes. In fact, the vast collection housed in the museum is composed entirely of memorabilia donated by veterans.

Balboa Park is rich with cultural attractions and historic buildings, but no sightseeing trip would be complete without paying your respects at The Veterans Museum. Make plans to take a guided tour or spend some time in quiet reflection in the outdoor memorial garden during your excursion.

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Know What to Expect

The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park is a living history and community center, and on any given day, you may find yourself attending a tribute ceremony or talking with a veteran docent who can share first-hand accounts of war or peacetime service.

The displays cover the period from the Civil War to the present day for a comprehensive narrative.

Whether you go alone or take your family, your outing to the museum can change your perspective and bolster your respect for those selfless individuals who serve this country.

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Explore the Proud Display of Heroics

Before you view The Veterans Museum, check to see when a guided tour is available while you are there. The opportunity to follow a veteran guide throughout the displays can enhance your experience. If you prefer, explore the exhibits on your own, at your own pace, to appreciate what veterans have confronted and overcome. Make time for these exhibits during your visit:

Seven Murals by Richard DeRosset

Throughout the museum are seven wall paintings by a celebrated maritime artist depicting significant military events such as the attack on Pearl Harbor and other battles from the 1800s to Iraq.

Women’s Military History Room

Walk through this presentation of uniforms, photographs, and documents that explain how the role women play in all branches of the military has progressed.

Local Tips
Public Awareness Concerning
The Museum also serve as a home for programs for charitable, scientific, literary or educational purposes that promote public awareness concerning the sacrifices and contributions of men and women who serve and have served in the Armed forces.

The Military in Balboa Park, 1915 to 1988

This celebrated park in San Diego has seen its share of active duty, and this exhibit provides a glimpse of the relationship of both the Army and the Navy with the growth of the city.

Hold at All Costs – The Battle for Outpost Harry

The last battle of the Korean War is explained through dioramas, relics, documents, and video recordings from that difficult struggle for American troops.

Vietnam Remembered – A 50th Year Retrospective

Multimedia displays and oral histories of the men and women who fought in Vietnam shed more light on this difficult and often painful chapter of military history.

Memorial Garden

Stop outside to see the B-24 memorial and the San Diegan Vietnam Peace memorial to those local heroes who were killed or missing in action during the Vietnam War.

Research Library

Less an exhibit and more a resource, this substantial library of personal accounts and books can expand your knowledge of military events.

Enlightening and Educational Programs

The calendar of events at The Veterans Museum is quite full throughout the year, thanks to the many celebrations, ceremonies, and memorials hosted by the volunteers and staff.

The museum offers tours for school groups as well and can serve as a venue for private functions.

Other programs held by the museum focus on support services, such as the Eagle Wings bereavement support and the San Diego Widow and Widowers group.

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Special Tips for Visitors

  • Parking is available on-site for your convenience.
  • Check the schedule before you go to see if any special program is being held.
  • Be sure to ask about a docent-led tour for a more interactive and enlightening look at military history.
  • Ask about ways to get involved locally or support the museum’s mission from afar.
  • Be respectful of other guests by refraining from loud conversation, as some patrons may prefer quiet reflection as they tour.
  • The volunteers and tour guides are happy to answer any questions you may have, so do not be shy.
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