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News 8 Throwback: Celebrating San Diego Museum Month with some of the county's finest institutions

Celebrating San Diego Museum Month, there's a little something for everyone from The Natural History Museum in 1956 to The California Surf Museum in 1993.

SAN DIEGO — February is San Diego Museum Month so we dug through our collection and found these stories from CBS 8's television "museum." There's a little something for everyone from The Natural History Museum in 1956 to The California Surf Museum in 1993. 

San Diego Natural History Museum 1956

Original script from 11-21-56.

One of the many interesting attractions in Balboa Park is San Diego's Museum of Natural History. Within the museum are literally thousands of exhibits and specimens, of interest to persons of all ages. Botanical as well as zoological displays...bird eggs of every kind and color...fascinating mineral and gem displays. In addition to static displays, the museum conducts regular nature walks and excursions where persons can study in its natural habitat, plant life, sea life, birds and freshwater life. 

Dr. George E. Lindsay is director of the museum and recently completed a voyage to Guadalupe Island where he conducted research on fur seals. New information and exhibits are constantly sought. Mr. Lawrence Huey is shown in the ornithology department where hundreds of different birds are studied. Charles F, Harbison is seen in the entomology section where all phases of insect life are examined. Another of the museum staff is 90-year-old Ethel B. Higgins who has catalogued thousands of leaves. Another one of the museum's free services is weekly classes held for school-age children. Here, museum personnel provide youngsters with the latest of literature and materials to aid them in their quest for knowledge in natural history.

San Diego Aerospace Museum opens in February 1963

CBS 8 cameras got a sneak peek at the brand-new San Diego Aerospace Museum in Balboa Park on Feb. 14 and 15, 1963. On display—a full-sized model of the glider John J. Montgomery flew at Otay in 1883. It flew to 603 feet. Other displays included models of two other Montgomery planes and a replica of the Curtis A-1, the US Navy’s first airplane.  And the original XL engine, the first to break the sound barrier. 

On opening day Vice Mayor Harry Scheidle did the ribbon cutting to officially open the museum. The original script says, “The museum’s founders hope to make it a center of space and aeronautical activity in San Diego.” 

Now known as the San Diego Air & Space Museum, 59 years later it still is.

Dinosaurs arrive in San Diego for Natural History Museum exhibit in 1986

What a sight to see in September 1986 - huge animatronic dinosaurs being trucked into the National History Museum in San Diego's Balboa Park. The exhibit was set to open later that month. It cost $30,000 and admission fees were expected to at least double. CBS 8’s John Culea was there to greet the beasts.

Coca-Cola Museum in San Diego 1987


Did you know that San Diego had a small Coca-Cola Museum? It was in the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Chollas View. It contained a treasure trove of memorabilia and in many ways was like an American history lesson. Plenty of trays and bottles but also unique items that CBS 8’s Hal Clement showed off—a lighter, a corkscrew, keyrings and lipstick.  Memorabilia expert Jack Martin conducted the tour.

San Diego's Museum of Man: Mummies, Mayhem and Miseries exhibit in 1988

Mummies, Mayhem and Miseries exhibit stopped at the Museum of Man in San Diego's Balboa Park in 1988. Mummies from all parts of the globe were on display and used to teach about diseases and maladies. Curator Rose Tyson told CBS 8’s Andrea Naversen “in forensic anthropology, they say the dead are our teachers.” Dead men and women do indeed tell tales.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego gets a new aquarium in 1992

Since the turn of the 20th century, Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego always had an aquarium. In 1992 they unveiled what CBS 8's Loren Nancarrow called "by far the most grand." Our environmental reporter got a sneak peek at the Stephen Birch Aquarium Museum a couple of weeks before it opened for the first time.  

California Surf Museum from humble beginnings in 1986 to fully realized in 1993

In 1986 CBS 8's Chris Saunders met up with three seasoned surfers who wanted to start a surf museum. While they searched for a permanent location, the small exhibit was located in George's Restaurant in Encinitas. 

Fast forward to 1993 - CBS 8's Liz Pursell paid a visit to the California Surf Museum in its Oceanside location. It opened in 1991. Since then it's moved a few times. CSM has been in its current location since 2009. In March 2011, the California Surf Museum was awarded a coveted Museum Assessment Program grant by the American Association of Museums.

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