Upcoming Exhibitions

Upcoming exhibitions at the


Mail Call

November 4th, 2017 – January 7th, 2017

A name is shouted out, and a parcel is handed through the crowd to its eager recipient—mail call is a moment when the front line and home front connect. Letters, news and packages from home unite families, boost morale and in wartime, elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary.

The traveling version of the National Postal Museum’s permanent exhibition, “Mail Call” explores the history of America’s military postal system, and examines how even in today’s era of instant communication, troops overseas continue to treasure mail delivered from home. Organized and circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the exhibition tells the fascinating story of military mail and communication—from the American Revolution to current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Throughout American history, the military and postal service have combined forces to deliver mail under challenging—often extreme—circumstances. But whether it takes place at headquarters or in hostile territory, on a submarine or in the desert, mail call forges a vital link with home.

Legacy In Black

November 4, 2017 – March 28, 2018

The San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art (SDAAMFA) is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibit in collaboration with the San Diego History Center (Center). The exhibit will feature the art of African American Artists who are from San Diego or have a significant relationship to San Diego. Each of the artists highlighted has made tremendous historical/cultural contributions to San Diego and beyond.

Alice Klauber, Untitled Landscape [Mission Bay Causeway Bridge], c. 1930s.

Exquisite Views: Selections from the Fine Art Collection

November 17, 2017 – March 25, 2018

With more than 1,700 works of fine art in its Collection, many of which were donated throughout the years by generous San Diegans, the History Center’s collection represents the visual culture of the San Diego region from the mid 1800’s through the 1950s. Exquisite Views, the inaugural exhibition launching a new gallery dedicated to exhibiting works from the Fine Art Collection, is an introduction to the collection focusing in the divergent movements which took place in San Diego between 1880 and 1950. Patrons will enjoy the spiritually luminescent works of theosophical society artists, glimpses of Southern California’s untouched landscape seen through the eyes of San Diego plein air painters, incredible murals and art by artists contracted through the Works Progress Administration and much more. With the goal of regularly bringing the collection into public view, this new gallery dedicated to the History Center Fine Art Collection will rotate periodically, allowing visitors to view works which have been out of sight and reach for decades.

Today the San Diego History Center, with its Art for the Next Century initiative, stands alone among other San Diego institutions by placing a renewed focus on gathering, conserving and showcasing the region’s art and local artists’ stories – a rich cultural heritage to be shared with the world. At present, it is unfathomable to think that any major city would give little regard to a century and half of history detailing the lives and work of world-class artists reflecting on their region’s beauty and uniqueness. Failure to catalog the triumphs and struggles of any city’s artistic community is to lose a great opportunity to interpret the immense political and social change, and our regional evolution. These stories in our community, especially those told by the artists, scholars, collectors and exhibitors, themselves, are being lost each and every day. To stem this loss, this the History Center, in addition to regularly showcasing its Fine Art Collection, is actively collecting to add important artists and visual arts stories that are currently missing from the collection’s holdings, insuring that decades from now future generations will have a clear picture of the advancement of art in San Diego today.