By Al Graham
There are many war memorials in San Diego, but there are many more that have been forgotten, yet they still exist. Up until last year, there was no war museum in the county. So, when Captain Will Hays USN retired, heard that an old church had become available in Balboa Park – a new one was built recently at Balboa Naval Hospital; and the old one looked like it might be demolished, he went about making this abandoned church into a not-so-abandoned historical domain. Now San Diego can proudly boast that it finally has a Veterans Museum to honor the proud history of our long enduring military and its heroes.
The Veterans Museum and Memorial Center occupies the former chapel of the Naval Hospital on Inspiration Point in San Diego’s Balboa Park. The original hospital buildings have been familiar and nostalgic landmarks to countless naval personnel and San Diegans alike since the early 1920s; although the chapel itself was not built until the World War II period. Today the museum houses a unique collection of artifacts, memorabilia, and papers as well as a library holding more than one thousand volumes. Dedicated to veterans of all conflicts, the museum’s exhibits feature World War I, World War II, Pearl Harbor, the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts, Desert Storm, Women in the Military, and paintings by local artists of military subjects.
Do not miss a living history tour by our docents who have been there! See the first American flag to fall in the Philippines. Enjoy the museum’s unique collections of memorabilia and artwork dating from the Civil War to the present. This is the place to see and hear history. The Veterans Museum and Memorial Center is one of the very few places you will find that covers all branches of the service and is indeed a home for all veterans groups.
Museum Hours: The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Admission Prices: $5 for General Adult; $4 for Veterans & Seniors (65+); $2 for Students with Valid I.D. Free Admission for: Museum Members, Active Duty Military & their Dependents, & Children 12 & under.
Veterans Memorial Museum
2115 Park Boulevard
San Diego, Ca 92101
Phone / 619.239.2300