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San Diego, California

Museum of Photographic Arts

1649 El Prado

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The museum seeks to inspire, educate, and preserve the broadest possible spectrum of photographic arts. Its permanent collection features 9,000 images by Margaret Bourke-White, Alfred Stieglitz, Ruth Bernhard, and 850 other photographers. Since it was founded in 1983, the museum has been dedicated to conserving and exhibiting photography from the medium’s whole history.

The permanent collection takes into account that history. It includes 19th century images by photographers including Matthew Brady, Jeremiah Gurney, and Julia Margaret Cameron; expeditionary photographers Samuel Bourne and John Thomson; early 20th century works by Clarence White, Eugene Atget, and Lewis Hine; and World War II and Depression-era images by Berenice Abbott, Weegee, Dorothea Lange, August Sander, and Andre Kertesz.

Past exhibitions have explored numerous ideas through the photographic medium. They have included “Women: A Celebration,” “Humanitas: Images of India by Frederic Roberts,” “Picturing the Landscape,” and “Ansel Adams: A Life’s Work.” It also hosts films, lectures, artist talks, and even wine tastings.

Museum of Photographic Arts Information

  • Public Transportation: Good (a 5-minute walk from bus 7 at Park Blvd./Village Pl.)
  • Handicapped Accessibility: Good
  • Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Summer hours (Memorial Day through Labor Day) open Thursdays until 9 p.m. Closed Mondays and major holidays
  • Admission: $8 adults; $6 seniors, retired military and dependants; $5 students; Free to members, active military and dependants, and children under 12. Free admission on the second Tuesday of each month to San Diego County residents
  • Tour: Docent-led, self-guided, and Print-Viewing Room tours are free with two-weeks advanced notice, and available everyday from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Behind-the-Scenes Tours are available with a suggested donation of $50 for a group of 20 or less
  • Membership: Individual membership is $50; Dual/Family membership is $75. Member benefits include unlimited free exhibition admission; an invitation to Members’ Previews; 2 MoPA gallery guest passes; a reduced admission to MoPA events; free films and lectures; discounts on educational programs & workshops; MoPA Snapshot; a 10% Museum Store discount; a 10% discount at Light Impressions; access to MoPA’s Edmund L. and Nancy K. Dubois Library, by appointment; a $25 coupon for printing at George’s Camera; and free admission or discounts on service and merchandise at a selection of institutions nationwide.