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Museum of Monterey

Follow the story of this fascinating area from the first inhabitants 6000 years ago, to the days of Cannery Row and beyond.

The Museum of Monterey opened almost a century ago as a collection of model ships and maritime artifacts collected by one-time sailor Allen Knight. Today's museum maintains a strong emphasis on maritime history and the town’s links with the ocean. 

The story of Monterey’s past is told through thousands of local artifacts, photographs, papers and costumes. There’s also a collection of paintings and sculptures from local artists, both past and contemporary, including works by local sculptor Jo Mora, who is known for the impressive Miguel Cervantes Memorial in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. 

Learn about the lives of the Rumsien and Ohlone Native American tribes, who first settled this area, and the coming of the Spanish explorers and missionaries who would change life here forever. There’s an interesting and extensive collection of scale-model boats and ships to explore. See the models of early Spanish and English merchant ships, as well as 20th-century U.S. naval vessels. There’s also a sardine fishing boat from when Monterey was considered the “sardine capital of the world.” 

For a glimpse of how American fashion has changed since the mid-19th-century, slip into the costume collection, which features early fishing costumes and immigrant attire. The array of early to mid-20th-century hats is particularly impressive. 

Head to the Casa Serano Adobe to admire the decorative arts and crafts of Monterey’s first families, including locally made Civil War–era furniture. 

The Museum of Monterey is located on the waterfront at Customs House Plaza in downtown Monterey. It’s open every day except Mondays in Summer, and Mondays and Tuesdays in winter. Entry is free during specified hours on the first Wednesday of every month. Check the museum’s website for the hours and for a schedule of events, talks and films.


Guide to Exploring around Maritime Museum


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Lodging Near Maritime Museum

See all 354 Properties near Maritime Museum
Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa $134
Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa

Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa

1 Old Golf Course Rd, Monterey
     
    4.0
    of 5, from 5,228 reviews
    4.0 out of 5.0

    After undergoing a $60 million renovation, this 550-room hotel and conference center is situated on 22 acres next to the 18-hole championship Pebble Beach Resort's Del Monte Golf Course, 6 blocks from the beach and 1 mile from downtown Monterey.

    Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay $179
    Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay

    Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay

    Two Portola Plaza, Monterey
       
      4.2
      of 5, from 3,293 reviews
      4.0 out of 5.0

      Just 200 yards from Fisherman's Wharf, this resort borders Custom House Plaza, with the beach and sparkling bay just beyond; Cannery Row and the aquarium are a short walk away.

      The Monterey Hotel $169
      The Monterey Hotel

      The Monterey Hotel

      407 Calle Principal, Monterey
         
        3.9
        of 5, from 1,729 reviews
        3.0 out of 5.0

        Located in Old Monterey, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Golden State Theatre and Maritime Museum. Fisherman's Wharf and Dennis the Menace Park are also within 15 minutes.

        Mariposa Inn & Suites $99
        Mariposa Inn & Suites

        Mariposa Inn & Suites

        1386 Munras Avenue, Monterey
           
          4.0
          of 5, from 1,970 reviews
          3.0 out of 5.0

          Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Del Monte Shopping Center, Fisherman's Wharf, and Maritime Museum. Monterey Bay Aquarium and Dennis the Menace Park are also within 3 mi (5 km).

          Hotel Abrego $139
          Hotel Abrego

          Hotel Abrego

          755 Abrego Street, Monterey
             
            4.3
            of 5, from 2,100 reviews
            3.5 out of 5.0

            Offering friendly service and immaculate rooms, this hotel is 1 block from Historic Downtown Monterey, 5 blocks from Fisherman's Wharf and the Monterey Conference Center, and 2 miles from the aquarium.

            Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa $129
            Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa

            Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa

            700 Munras Ave, Monterey
               
              4.1
              of 5, from 2,059 reviews
              3.5 out of 5.0

              This downtown Monterey property is a half-mile from Monterey State Beach and within a mile of Monterey Fisherman's Wharf.

              Monterey Marriott $179
              Monterey Marriott

              Monterey Marriott

              350 Calle Principal, Monterey
                 
                4.1
                of 5, from 902 reviews
                3.5 out of 5.0

                Connected to the Monterey Conference Center by a footbridge, this smoke-free downtown hotel is 3 blocks from Fisherman's Wharf, and less than 2 miles from Cannery Row and Monterey Bay Aquarium.

                Colton Inn $109
                Colton Inn

                Colton Inn

                707 Pacific Street, Monterey
                   
                  4.0
                  of 5, from 1,704 reviews
                  2.5 out of 5.0

                  Located in the heart of Monterey, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Monterey Museum of Art, Fisherman's Wharf, and Maritime Museum. Monterey Bay Aquarium and Dennis the Menace Park are also within 3 mi (5 km).