Our Museum

Founded as—and still officially named—the San Diego Society of Natural History, the organization traces its roots to an enthusiastic group of amateur naturalists who came together in 1874 to study the unique flora and fauna of our region.

Now known as the San Diego Natural History Museum (and affectionately referred to as The Nat), the organization focuses on the natural history and unique biodiversity of our binational region. We welcome nearly 400,000 people into the Museum each year, host environmental education programs in the community, and are engaged in scientific research throughout Southern California and the Baja California Peninsula. 

While many people know The Nat as a flagship institution in Balboa Park, we are much bigger than our building. The world we live in is an amazing place. We want everyone to understand it better, enjoy it more, and love it as much as we do, so we’ll all protect it for the future. Because we believe that nature is the biggest exhibition of all.


The Museum has grown from a small group of amateur naturalists to a storied institution that has achieved international recognition for its research, discoveries, programs, and exhibitions. More.


Learn about the people, places, and programs behind the Museum. More.

Press Room

Read all about it. Members of the media are invited to learn about The Nat’s most recent news and find information and photos to accompany stories. More.


Join our skeleton crew. Learn about current job openings. More.

Our Mission

To interpret the natural world through research, education and exhibits; to promote understanding of the evolution and diversity of southern California and the peninsula of Baja California; and to inspire in all a respect for nature and the environment.

We are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, which certifies the Museum continues to demonstrate a professional level of operation in accordance with AAM’s standards of excellence.

Our organization is a member of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, a collaboration of 26 arts, science, and culture institutions in Balboa Park. By working together, we produce major outcomes that no single organization could achieve alone.

In 2009, the Museum was awarded LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance Certification for efficiency in energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as incorporating a variety of sustainable strategies.