Mission & Vision

Our Mission

To inspire discovery, wonder, and stewardship of our natural world.


Our Vision

We envision a community of curious minds, engaged in discovering the natural heritage and cultural legacy that exist today on the Central California Coast. The Museum is a catalyst for conservation and a valued learning resource in this region, facilitating active inquiry for all ages.

OUR VISION Statement

The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History inspires a diverse community to explore and conserve the natural and cultural wonders of the Central California Coast.


Who We Are

In 1883, our Museum opened its doors among the first wave of natural history museums in America. 

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Naturalists of this era, such as John Muir and Louis Aggasiz, began a national tradition of hands-on science education and nature preservation. The Museum has continued this tradition for 130 years. 

What is Natural History?

Our Museum is part of the rebirth of Natural History. Get inspired by the leading naturalists in America. Thank you Natural Histories Project

<5% of American Museums

Fewer than 5% of American museums have earned accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). Hear AAM President Ford congratulate the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History for earning re-accreditation for 42 continuous years.


Museum History

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The Chautauqua (shuh-TAH-kwuh) Literary and Scientific Circle established its Pacific Coast branch in Pacific Grove in 1879. A two-week Chautauqua assembly was held here every summer, featuring lessons, exhibits, lectures, picnics, and concerts. Over the years several members felt the need to have a storeroom and exhibition site to house collections of nature’s wonders and to make them available for study. In 1883, a petition calling for a Museum building was signed by Professor H. B. Norton, Dr. J. H. Wyeth, Dr. C. L. Anderson, Miss Lucy M. Washburn, Miss Mary E. B. Norton, and Professor Josiah Keep. The petition was sent to F. S. Douty, secretary of the Pacific Improvement Company, a small wooden octagonal building on their land the Chautauqua Museum's first home.

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The original Chautauqua Museum in Pacific Grove was initiated at the second meetings of the Chautauqua Assembly in 1881, and the actual Museum was founded in 1883. The Museum was created to house collections of nature’s wonders and to make them available for study. In 1900 the Chautauqua Museum disbanded to form a more permanent organization as the Pacific Grove Museum Association. The Pacific Improvement Company donated the Museum’s current lot to the Association, and the Museum subsequently moved into a large building on its current site.

The Association maintained the Museum until 1916 when it was transferred to the City of Pacific Grove through a Charter election. The Museum remains city owned and is operated by a non-profit 501.c.3, The Museum Foundation of Pacific Grove. The Museum has been accredited by the American Association of Museums since 1972, the first such institution in Monterey County.

The Museum's mission is to inspire discovery, wonder, and stewardship of our natural world.