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San Diego Museum Of Man’s Offers Itself To The Fight Against COVID-19

Asks how can the museum help during this pandemic

Photo credit: SDMM

San Diego Museum of Man bathed its tower in blue light and projected a "Thank You" slide as part of the #LightItBlue #LightItUpBlue movement to honor doctors, nurses, essential workers and everyone on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight. April 10, 2020.

Reported by Beth Accomando

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As with everything else in Balboa Park, the San Diego Museum of Man has had to close to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the museum put out ... Read more →

Aired: April 9, 2020 | Transcript

UPDATE: April 16, 2020

Just added a photo of how San Diego Museum of Man participated in the #LightItBlue #LightItUpBlue movement to honor doctors, nurses, essential workers and everyone on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight. The museum bathed its famous tower in blue light and projected a thank you slide last Friday.

ORIGINAL STORY

As with everything else in Balboa Park the San Diego Museum of Man has had to close to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the museum put out “A Proposal to Serve Community Need” last week.

Listen to this story by Beth Accomando.

The San Diego Museum of Man has 60,000 square feet of space that its CEO Micah Parzen is willing to make available to any group or organization that might be able to make use of it during the current pandemic.

Photo credit: San Diego Museum of Man

San Diego Museum of Man in the 1940s. During World War II the Navy took it over to use as a hospital.

"Back in World War II, the Navy actually took over the museum and several other institutions in the park or buildings in the park at that time and converted it into a hospital to care for the sick and the wounded," Parzen said. "And part of our thinking in terms of putting out this proposal to serve community need was we've done it once before. Why can't we do something like that again?"

Photo credit: San Diego Museum of Man

Could the San Diego Museum of Man's rotunda be used for something during this coronavirus pandemic? During World War II the museum was used by the Navy for additional hospital space.

The museum is not likely to become a hospital site again but there are plenty of other possibilities.

"Could we be a testing site for COVID-19? Could we be an overflow for folks who don't have COVID-19 but who still need care? Could we be a food distribution site?" Parzen posed. "All sorts of responses along those lines. Some other ones that were innovative and creative in their own right. One said, you know, do what you do best, create an exhibit on pandemics over time in and across cultures and the impact and do it virtually and then springboard that into a physical exhibit when you reopen."

The museum is currently fielding ideas about how the space could be of service but nothing has yet been decided.

"The first step was to put the word out there," Parzen said. "It's sort of spread like wildfire. If nothing else, it's motivating others to sort of think a little differently about ways that they can serve, that aren't squarely in what they're accustomed to or the traditional ways, but that nonetheless are part of this effort of bringing us all together."

And that goes toward the museum’s mission statement of "inspiring human connections by exploring the human experience."

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Photo of Beth Accomando

Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

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