Here is part four of my solo adventures in San Diego. This was my last day in San Diego and it was the most beautiful. Before visiting any more museums, I wandered around Balboa Park taking photos of the lovely buildings. After that, I headed to the Timken Museum of Art.
The Timken Museum of Art is similar to the San Diego Museum of Art, except it is smaller and more importantly, free. It houses European artwork, 19th century American art and artwork from Russian icons. Also on display is San Diego’s only painting by Rembrandt. This museum, also know as the “jewel box,” came about thanks to the Timken family and the Putnam sisters, who purchased many of the pieces on display there. One of the exhibits on display when I visited was “El Lissitzky: Futurist Portfolios,” which featured geometric artwork by a Russian artist. Unfortunately I was not allowed to take photos at this museum, so you will have to see this one in person.
My next stop was at Mingei International Museum. “Mingei” is the Japanese word meaning “art of the people”. The American Artist Martha Longnecker, studied art in Japan for several years and brought the concept of mingei back to America with her. She later founded the Mingei International Museum, which features not just artwork from Japan, but as the name indicates, artwork from all over the world. This then has created a museum with an eclectic mix of exhibits. While I was there I saw five different exhibits, three of which were temporary.
The first on display was “Surf Craft“. This exhibit displayed surfboards from all over the world and throughout time. Some showed how the surfboard has evolved over time while others were displays of art. The next exhibit was “Masks“. This one displayed masks from African, Asia and Central America. Some were terrifying while others were just unusual. The third exhibit was “A Golden Age of Marketing Design“. This exhibit featured tins, boxes, cards, magazines and more from a former successful chocolate company and showed how beautiful the artwork on these objects was in order to attract consumers.
One of the permanent collections I saw was “Dolls and Toys“. This exhibit featured handmade dolls and toys, including some traditional Japanese ones. The other permanent collection on hand was “Beads“. This exhibit displays handmade jewelry from ancient times to now. The types of jewelry there reflect various cultures around the world. These beads are made from polymer, clay, glass and many other types of materials. I love jewelry and have even made some myself, so this exhibit was especially interesting.
After that museum, I visited my last one the San Diego Museum of Man. This museum came about after the Panama-California International Exposition in 1915-1916, which brought an anthropology exhibit called “The Story of Man Through the Ages”. After the Exposition ended, members of the San Diego Museum Association worked to keep many of the anthropology exhibits and thus created the museum. The museum thus features prehistoric items, such as pottery, fossils, Egyptian mummies and more.
One of the exhibits I saw was “Ancient Egypt: Real Mummies and Artifacts of the Dead,” which has many mummies on display. This exhibit (and others mentioned here) is still on display as I didn’t see an end date on the website. Another exhibit I saw was “BEERology“. This exhibit is open until February 2017 and features the history of beer-making from ancient times to now. The exhibit you’ll see first as you walk through the door is “Maya: Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth“. You can view stonework as well as masks and pottery. Another exhibit is “Kumeyaay: Native Californians“. This exhibit features various items made and used by the Kumeyaay. A final exhibit I remember visiting was the “Footsteps Through Time“. This exhibit showed the evolution of humans over a period of 4 million years. This not only includes the past of humans but also the possible future and inventions that may be created.
Finally I left San Diego and headed back home. I had an amazing time traveling through the city and seeing all I could in such a short amount of time. I have been to San Diego a few times since my visit in 2014 but have never been able to visit Balboa Park again. Hopefully someday I will be able to visit the few museums I did miss out on and maybe see some new exhibits from old ones.
I hope this has inspired you to visit not only San Diego and Balboa Park, but also anywhere that you’ve been thinking about visiting. Don’t let solo travel discourage you from visiting the places you want to see. You may not have someone there to share the moment with but with solo travel you can learn to live in the moment instead. You can go where you want to, stay as long as you want to and do whatever you want to. If you’re going to travel, enjoy it.