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    San Diego Natural History MuseumSan Diego Natural History Museum San Diego, California
    In 1874, the San Diego Society of Natural History was born, and today it occupies a marvelous spot at Balboa Park in San Diego, California, the third oldest science institution west of the Mississippi River and the oldest scientific establishment in the state. The structure would be constructed and opened in 1933, with an addition finished in 2001 that doubled its spaces to about 150,000 square feet, that would add more research space, administrative offices and educational rooms, as well as five new exhibition halls. One significant addition would be the state-of-the-art theater with 56 foot screen and Dolby Digital 3D projector that really adds a lot to the whole event. One of the most incredible exhibitions that the museum has ever held was about six months long in 2007 and 2008 that showcased the Dead Sea Scrolls, or at least ten of them, with a record attendance of 400,000 visitors. Research categories have also grown with the fabulous museum and now include; botany, paleontology, birds and mammals, mineralogy, marine invertebrates, botany-climate change, herpetology, collections care, geology and entomology. Current exhibitions include; Lizards & Snakes: Alive!, Fossil Mysteries, Water: A California story, All That Glitters The Splendor and Science of Gems and Minerals, The Color of Water and Aerial Portraits of the American West: Photographs by John Shelton. The museum offers many exciting and interesting programs for the community to learn and understand more about the collections and museum.

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    San Diego Museum of ArtSan Diego Museum of Art San Diego, California
    Another outstanding museum located in Balboa Park of San Diego, California is the Museum of Art that opened originally in 1928 as the Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego and wouldn't change its name until 1978, considered to be the region's oldest and biggest art museum, with almost half a million people attending each year. The architecture of this magnificent structure would be designed by William Templeton Johnson and Robert W. Snyder, using a plateresque style that would actually complement the other structures located around it that had been built for the Panama-California Exposition of 1915. The most significant design element of the structure is the facade with its heavily decorated door that had been inspired by the doorway at the University of Salamanca near Madrid, Spain. Another influence for the building was the Cathedral of Valladoid, with interior motifs borrowed from the Santa Cruz Hospital that exists in Toledo, Spain and would take two full years to construct. The museum's collections are encyclopedic, spanning from 5000 BC to 2001 AD, with strong holdings in Spanish works by El Greco, Murillo, Cotan, Ribera and Zurbaran. Their first big acquisition would be the 1939 purchase of El Marques de Sofraga by Francisco Goya that had been part of a private collection and never seen by the public before. Then, the next year, they would acquire a portrait by Giovanni Bellini and again in 1941, they would purchase a Diego Velazquez portrait of the Infanta Margarita of Spain. The museum holds outstanding works by such masters as Giotto, Canaletto, Giorgione, Luini and Veronese, with works by van Dyck, Hals and Rubens from the northern European schools.

March 30, 2014