School Programs: The San Diego History Center

Stories of San Diego explores the rich heritage of San Diego

This program offers a comprehensive exploration of San Diego’s early beginnings. Through the examination of artifacts, works of art, historic photographs and our interactive Walk-on Map, the past comes alive and students discover how the history of San Diego is reflected in our culture today. Student investigations focus on the role that human-environment interactions played in San Diego’s development, contributions of the diverse peoples that settled here and the main events and personalities that have shaped San Diego.

To make a reservation: Program Request

Mapping Balboa Park introduces students to geography and mapping skills:

Exploring the buildings and features from the 1915 Expo that form the foundation of the modern park, students will utilize cartography, navigation, and spatial awareness skills as they learn about Balboa Park “then and now” during this 1-1.5 hour guided tour through Balboa Park. Smartphones are encouraged, but not required.

To make a reservation: Program Request

We are offering the following programs as part of our special exhibition, Celebrate San Diego!: The History & Heritage of San Diego’s Jewish Community

Jewish Culture, Then and Now

This program uses the artifacts, photos, and other primary sources found in our Jewish history exhibit to guide young learners through an exploration of Jewish culture here in San Diego. Students will discover answers to questions about Jewish life. How did the life of Jews in San Diego differ from the life of Jews in other parts of the country? What aspects of Jewish culture were the hardest to maintain here in San Diego?

Grade Levels: K-2
Available starting March 2017

Shalom, San Diego!

What kinds of unique challenges did Jewish settlers face in California? How did they make their mark? Discover the answers to these questions and more as you experience a guided exploration of the artifacts, photographs, and other primary sources found in our Jewish history exhibit.

Grade Level: Upper Elementary (3-6), Middle, High
Available starting March 2017

To make a reservation: Program Request

We are pleased to continue offering two school programs related to our special exhibition on the San Diego Zoo:

Do you belong in a zoo? Maybe you do! This program explores the fascinating work conducted behind the scenes by San Diego Zoo staff and offers a chance for students to get down and dirty (figuratively) to learn about the skills and knowledge needed to work at the world renowned San Diego Zoo. Grade levels: Elementary

*These programs will be available through May 2017

Using an interactive and inquiry-based approach, this program offers a general exploration of the Zoo’s history and its relationship to the community as it expanded from an informal collection of animals to the world-famous global research and conservation organization it is today. Grade levels: Elementary; Middle; High

*These programs will be available through May 2017

School Programs:  Junípero Serra Museum in Presidio Park

San Diego Before Statehood takes students through early changes in our community.

Journey back in time and tread in the footsteps of the padres, soldiers and settlers who established the first mission and presidio in Alta California. Through a combination of museum educator/docent-facilitated or teacher-led activities, explore a section of Presidio Park, learning about the plaza, stables, jail, chapel and commander’s house that lie protected underground today. Inside the Serra Museum, investigate artifacts that reveal the daily life of the Kumeyaay, the Spanish and the Mexican inhabitants of early California. “Meet” real historic figures by dressing in costume as Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, Father Junípero Serra, Guillermo Carrillo, Señorita Pico, and Josefa Carillo de Fitch, all important leaders in the early years of the city.

San Diego Before Statehood (pdf)

Research Archives Programs: The San Diego History Center

The History Center’s Research Archives houses our extensive collections that document the people, places and stories of San Diego. Two programs are available:

Introduction to Historical Research:

Students receive an introduction to the collections and an orientation on how to use the Research Archives by our trained Archivists.

Research Visit:

Students receive guidance with specific research materials for class projects, led by our Archivists

 K-12 Self-Guided Tours: The San Diego History Center or the Junípero Serra Museum

To make a reservation for a self-guided tour at either site: Self-Guided Tour Reservation


To make a reservation: Program Request
For reservation questions or more information: 619-232-6203 x 130 or
NOTE: Reservation fees must be received within two weeks of scheduled visit to hold your date. Confirmation letters are sent upon payment receipt.
Fees: $7/student; free admission for chaperones up to 8:1 ratio
Title I schools: $4/student reduced fee; free admission for chaperones up to 8:1 ratio
Program Schedule: Monday – Friday, 9:30-11:30 am

NOTE: The Junípero Serra Museum is currently not ADA accessible