Enjoy the captured moments of the past at The Museum of Photographic Arts. This beautiful frozen piece of time is located in Balboa Park in the historic Casa Balboa building, along with the Model Railroad Museum and the San Diego History Center. This museum is perfect for shutter bugs and lay people alike, giving guests a unique look into the past. Make sure to visit this piece of history on your next San Diego Vacation.

History of the Museum

The Museum of Photographic Arts is a photography museum that lies in the historic area of Balboa Park, San Diego. First founded in 1974, The Museum of Photographic Arts is only one of three museums in the United States dedicated exclusively to the collection and preservation of photography. The Museum of Photographic Arts has a written mission to inspire, educate, and engage the broadest possible audience through presentation, collection, and preservation of photography, film, and video.

Over the years, The Museum of Photographic Arts has collected thousands of photographs that currently are on display in the museum’s permanent collection. These photographs range in history, but generally cover every year since the invention of the photograph. These collections include some of the most influential photographers, including a donation from film maker Lou Stoumen’s estate, as well as the entire Nagasaki Journey: The Photographs of Yosuke Yamahata, August 10, 1945.

Museum Expansion & Tours

The museum has also been renovated in 2001, which expanded the gallery space and added a classroom, theatre, and a print viewing room, along with a twenty thousand volume library. The museum offers a wide range of self-guided and guided tours through their collections. The self-guided tour leads guests through the gallery space directed by small placards that aim to educate people of all ages and abilities about each exhibit. The guided tours offer a more structured approach as a Museum of Photographic Arts tour guide leads guests through the gallery space and allow guest to discover first and then ask questions.

The Museum of Photographic Arts also offers a behind the scenes tour option that shows an exclusive look at the internal operations of the museum. This tour leads guests through the galleries, libraries, and curatorial workshops rather than focusing on specific collections or specific exhibitions.

The gallery also runs pay as you wish days, in which guests can make a voluntary contribution instead of paying the admission price to enter. This allows the gallery to be open to a wider range of guests and educate even those unable to pay normal admission rates.


Visit The Museum of Photographic Arts

Address: 1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92103

Phone(619) 238-7559


Photo By http://www.flickr.com/photos/osbornb/ – http://www.flickr.com/photos/osbornb/419302134/sizes/o/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5401138

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