Enjoy your museum in South Bay San Diego, The Bonita Museum contains two large galleries for visitors to view history, art, and cultural exhibits. The front gallery presents a portion of the museum’s permanent collection which depicts the history of the region including Rancho de la Nacion ranchos and the Sweetwater Valley. The larger second gallery presents changing exhibits such as local contemporary art, history and cultural exhibitions.
The Bonita Historical Society is dedicated to preserve, for public education and enjoyment, the culture, history, art, crafts, and aesthetic facets of the region, specifically El Rancho de la Nacion in South San Diego County. Entry is free to the museum
Proctor Valley Monster Footprint
Paleontology of the Sweetwater Valley and San Diego
Sculpture of San Diego Symphony conductor Mastro Jahja Ling
Mehl Lawson, Cowboy Artists of America sculpture
Current & Upcoming Exhibitions
Art of the West
The exhibition, which runs from July 8 through August 2023, is curated by local Western art collectors Mehl Lawson and Mark Fehlman and features artworks from San Diego County collectors. Artists in the exhibition include Roy Anderson, John Asaro, Joe Bohler, Tom Browning, Jill Carver, Russell Case, Bruce Green, Ralph Love, Harry Jackson, Jerry Jordan, Calvin Liang, Michael Malm, Charles Movalli, John Moyers, Terry Moyers, Bill Owen, Bob Pummill, Jim Reynolds, Jason Rich, Ray Roberts, Mark Shasha, Bob “Shoofly” Shufelt, Eric Sloane and Olaf Weighorst. Live and silent auctions will feature art works by local artists and sculpture by Mehl Lawson. Bonita is home to Cowboy Artist of America and Traditional Cowboy Arts Association member Mehl Lawson who leads a paint-out in the Sweetwater Valley every May as well as passing on sculpture traditions to the next generation of artists.
The rural area of Bonita in San Diego County is home to many stables, horse trainers and trails. The museum has documented the life of local animal lover and TV celebrity Joan Embery recreating her tack rooms as well as chronicling her life. The Bonita Museum & Cultural Center has hosted several western art exhibitions and is excited to host Art of the West. During the past two years the museum raised funds to create a life size artist bronze of Mehl Lawson’s WR This Cats Smart which was installed outside of the museum. WR’ was sculpted in the museum allowing the public to watch the process. Since the installation in 2022, it has become a landmark in South San Diego County celebrating horse culture of the Sweetwater Valley.
Quilts, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
September 2 – September 23
Reception: Sat. Sept. 2, 4:30- 6:30pm
Sweetwater Women’s Club member Linda Matlock curates an exhibition featuring local quilters.
The Bonita Museum & Cultural Center (BMCC) is located in South Bay San Diego along the Sweetwater River. From the mountains to the bay, the Sweetwater valley has been an ideal historic location for plein air painting.
Visit Bonita Museum & Cultural Center
4355 Bonita Road
Bonita, CA 91902
Open Wednesday through Saturday
10 am. to 4 p.m.
4355 Bonita Road, Bonita, CA