Presidio to Pacific Powerhouse

How the Military Shaped San Diego

April 26, 2014 – December 11, 2014

Please note, beginning December 10, 2014 and ending in early February, Presidio to Pacific Powerhouse will be periodically CLOSED as we transition the exhibition into our largest gallery and make room to accommodate the construction of our two parallel exhibitions San Diego Invites the World & Masterworks: Art of the Exposition Era.

Please call ahead for additional information.


San Diego has been a military town ever since 1774 when it was officially made a presidio guarding the coast of California against the encroachment from other European nations like England and Russia. Built atop a hill, in what is today Presidio Park, Spanish soldiers lived with their families inside the fort, eking out an existence in defense of the Spanish Crown in the New World.

Since then, San Diego has been a training ground for all services of the United States military and today, San Diego is still inextricably tied to the United States military with naval, Marine, and Coast Guard  installations scattered throughout the county. The United States Navy is the second-largest employer in the county and many of the service members who have come through the region during their enlistments have stayed and started families. Many have started their own businesses as contractors to the United States military.

Throughout its existence, San Diego has been impacted in some way by the military’s presence and has benefitted from its proximity as well. Presidio to Pacific Powerhouse: How the Military Shaped San Diego is a nine-museum collaboration that tells the story of San Diego’s relationship with our military.

The San Diego History Center is the exhibition’s hub with nine other museums telling supplementary stories! Pick up a Tour of Duty Passport at The History Center and catch this exhibition at:

Take an exhibition video tour!

Presenting Sponsors

Major Sponsors

  • Helen and Webster Kinnaird


  • Reuben H. Fleet Foundation
  • Sudberry Properties