Coronado Museum of History & Art

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1100 Orange Ave., Coronado, CA 92118
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Open:
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Tuesday - Sunday)
Art, photographs, maps, books & more, the Coronado Museum of History & Art brings it all together to tell the incredible history of this fascinating neighborhood.
Todd Sarouhan
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Coronado Museum of History & Art
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Explore San Diego History and Art at the Coronado Museum

Antique Hotel Del Coronado Laundry CarDonations Accepted at the Coronado Museum of History and Art

I love history and can say that The Coronado Museum of History & Art is a great way to learn about a large part of the history of San Diego.

Located on Coronado Island, across from the spectacular and iconic Coronado Bridge in San Diego, California, this museum recognizes and celebrates the lives and creations of the people who have lived in the neighborhood throughout multiple centuries.

As part of the Coronado Historical Association, the museum’s mission is to make Coronado’s unique architecture, art, and historical resources accessible to all visitors. Through this, they hope to achieve greater recognition for the artists that called Coronado their home.

Alongside the art collection, the museum also includes a gift shop and a museum café right in the building. Admission is free.

Entrance to the Coronado Museum of History and Art
Entrance to the Coronado Museum of History and Art

The Museum’s Connection to the US Navy

With a trip to this educational and interesting San Diego museum, you’ll learn about the longstanding history of the friendship between Coronado and the US Navy. The partnership dates all the way back to the establishment of a Naval Air Station on the island in 1917.

The museum outlines the progression from this point to Coronado being recognized as “The Birthplace of Naval Aviation” and how this relationship has continued during modern times.

Looking at Hotel del Coronado from the beach
Looking at Hotel del Coronado from the beach

Where I Recommend You Stay

Before we dive into the details about the museum, it might seem a bit early to mention where I think you should stay when you visit.

The thing is, the Coronado Museum is affiliated with the Hotel del Coronado, one of the most iconic hotels in all of San Diego. It’s conveniently located just a few blocks away from the museum and if you can make a reservation for a few nights, I really think you’ll find it an amazing experience.

The Hotel del Coronado is made up of five neighborhoods that are a part of the Curio Collection by Hilton: The Views, The Cabanas, Beach Village, Shore House, and The Victorian.

The Victorian in particular is the hotel’s original, iconic beachfront building that is renowned for being a vacation getaway for celebrities and a sought-after set for filmmakers.

Take part in a relaxing spa treatment by its poolside, enjoy music and socializing in The Cabanas, or get your workout in with one of the hotel’s many beach yoga, beach spinning, or beach body bootcamp classes.

Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton is a landmark beach and waterfront hotel on Coronado Island. See what's happening at The Del on a tour with Todd, including its family-friendly sweet shoppe.

Stay at the Hotel del Coronado

What to Expect at the Coronado Museum of History & Art

Military Drawings of Coronado at the Coronado Museum of History and Art
Military Drawings of Coronado at the Coronado Museum of History and Art

The Coronado Museum is home to an incredible collection of art.

There are thousands of photographs, art pieces, and antiques either related to the development of the Coronado area or created by those who lived in the area. The museum also displays centuries-old newspapers, artifacts, and even clothing so visitors can experience the storied history of Coronado.

After you’ve checked out the art, don’t forget to check out the thousands of books, oral history transcripts, and other written documents. These are all part of the museum’s expansive library collection, which is full of books detailing the history of Coronado.

Local Tips
Bring History to Life
In the Museum of History & Art, Coronado’s history comes to life through fascinating permanent exhibits and changing displays.

Go Biking with Go Pass!
Coronado - Full Day Bike Rental
Coronado - Full Day Bike Rental
Enjoy Coronado Island while taking a full day bike rental. Use your Go Pass and Grab your bike, helmet and map, then plan your personal tour of the island. Take in the beautiful view of the San Diego skyline during your picturesque ride.
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Local Tips
What kind of deals does the Go City San Diego pass offer?

The Go City San Diego pass gives visitors the ability to save up to 55% on attraction admissions.

Combine our exclusive 5% discount to save even more and consider the All-Inclusive pass to maximize your savings. Plus the pass gives you the ability to skip the line when visiting select attractions.

Use our exclusive discount code GVSD5OFF to save an extra 5%!

Art Collection and Exhibits

The main draw of the Coronado Museum is its art collection. The museum is broken up into different exhibits, each of which focuses on a different part of the collection.

Previous exhibits have included: Uprooted: The Story of the Japanese Americans of Coronado, The League of Wives: Vietnam’s POW/MIA Allies & Advocates, Wings of Gold: Coronado and Naval Aviation, and Coronado’s Golden Age of Film.

Let’s have a closer look at what’s currently on display.

An Island Looks Back: Uncovering Coronado’s Hidden African-American History

The museum’s latest exhibit, An Island Looks Back, explores the remarkable yet often overlooked stories of African Americans who played a significant role among the early pioneers who shaped Coronado’s foundation.

These African Americans laid down their roots in the area, built successful businesses, owned property, became civic leaders at the state level, and served in the military, among many other notable accomplishments, while still struggling with segregation and discrimination in their schools, the military, and housing.

Photograph Collection

The Coronado Museum contains an astounding 20,000 historical photographs capturing moments from the lives of people throughout history.

The photo catalog includes everything from snapshots of historic events to the more mundane, like everyday activities of Coronado’s residents. See historical and aerial photographs of Orange Avenue, Coronado’s ferries, the Coronado-San Diego Bay Bridge, Hotel del Coronado, the Historic Tent City Resort and more.

If you like a particular photo, you can request a reproduction and take it home with you to commemorate your trip!

Manuscript Archives

The manuscript archives are full of first-hand accounts and documents from people and businesses that called Coronado their home. The archives contain papers from local companies, clubs, organizations, local government, and even personal papers.

Two standout manuscripts are the personal notes of Katherine Carlin and files from the Coronado Beach Company. Carlin authored Coronado: The Enchanted Island, a book that details local history. The Coronado Beach Company was owned by John D. Spreckels, who invested in the San Diego and Arizona Railway as well as the beautiful Hotel del Coronado.

Maps of Coronado

The museum’s map collection doesn’t just contain topographic and geographic maps of Coronado. It also contains maps of different construction lots, railroads, bridges, and even tree planting maps.

These provide more insight into how Coronado used to look and how it has changed over time.

The Stockdale Family Collection

James Stockdale was a US Navy admiral who lived in Coronado with his wife Sybil Stockdale. He was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, where he was an aviator until he was shot down, captured, and eventually returned to the US over seven years later.

The Coronado Museum contains various artifacts from the Stockdale family’s lives, as well as educational information about their lives. These items include a prisoner of war smock and tin cup, both owned by Admiral Stockdale and later donated to the museum.

Education and Exploration for Kids

The museum offers several school programs for educators, homeschool and traditional students, parochial and private schools, and youth/Scout groups that foster learning and exploration, from educational programs to historic walking tours and museum visits.

Third Grade Program

The Coronado Museum has run its Third Grade Program since 2009 and has benefitted over 1,500 students to date.

Through the program, museum staff and trained volunteers bring the history of Coronado right into the classroom through 4 hours of instruction over 4 days utilizing copies of historic photos, documents, and artifacts from the museum’s collections.

Students also get to visit the museum and the surrounding area, explore the influence of geography on the development of a community, and compare current community services and resources with those available 100 years ago.

Featured Hotel
Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton
Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton
Beachfront
Beachfront
Families
Families
Historic
Historic
4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
It doesn’t get any more iconic in San Diego than the Hotel Del Coronado. This luxury hotel is what other hotels strive to be. Treat yourself to this experience.
Prices Starting at $374
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Free Parking
Free Parking
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Neighborhood Parking
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Tips to Make the Most of Your Visit

Don’t worry about parking, eating, or making arrangements for an overnight stay in the middle of your trip. Make your visit to the Coronado Museum of History & Art as smooth as possible by knowing these helpful tips before you go.

Parking

The nearest parking lot to the museum is located at 1199 Orange Avenue. It is about a four to six-minute walk from the Museum, and also in close proximity to the beach.

Where to Eat

The museum café, Tent City Restaurant, is located right inside the same building that houses the museum.

Tent City Restaurant offers brunch and dinner with items ranging from classics like the TCR burger and TCR famous pot pie to fan favorites like the charcuterie board, vegan burger, and grilled lobster.

Gift Shop at the Coronado Museum of History and Art
Gift Shop at the Coronado Museum of History and Art

The Gift Shop

If you’d like to take home a little gift to remember your visit, the museum has a gift shop open daily during normal museum hours.

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Stay Nearby

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