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
Sculpture of San Diego Symphony conductor Mastro Jahja Ling
Mehl Lawson, Cowboy artists of america sculpture
Current & Upcoming Exhibitions
Every 2nd & 4th Saturday is Art in the Museum day with artists Christopher Padilla and Desiree Lawrence of San Diego Art Kids (free and all ages)
Art, History, and Culture exhibitions:
FEB. 2020: The Bonita Museum and Cultural Center is excited to announce a solo exhibition by South Bay sculptor Michael Leaf February 7 thru Feb. 29, 2020. A public reception for the artist will be held Friday, February 7th from 5:30 to 7:30pm.
Michael Leaf is a third-generation San Diegan who makes his living as a fine artist working in the medium of metal. He is completely and diligently a self-taught artist who focuses on metal in multi-scale 2D and 3D installations. Michael’s artwork can be seen in both commercial and public spaces around California, including at the Port of San Diego.
Also on exhibit: Ceramic cultures by Southwestern College student Eduardo B.
MAR.– Woodworkers of South Bay and San Diego March 13 – April 3, 2020. Preview reception is Saturday, March 14th 5:30 – 7:30 PM
See what contemporary, traditional and non-traditional woodworking looks like in San Diego featuring member so San Diego Fine Woodworkers and local universities.
APR.– Sweetwater Water Authority Highschool Photo Competition and The High School Student Exhibitions. Reception, Friday April 10, 5:30 – 7:30PM
MAY– Kumeyaay Ethnobotany with curator Deborah Small, Cal. State University San Marcos, May 9 – June 13, 2020. Reception Saturday May 9, 5:30- 7:30 PM. Kumeyaay Ethnobotany brings to life the native plants and medicinals used in our region. The interdependence between native peoples and native plants of California are explored through photography and narratives.
JUN–Lumiere de California: California Art Club members. June 27 – July 18, 2020. Preview reception: Sat. June 27, 5:00pm – 7:00pm. Paint out: Friday June 26th for “wet gallery.” The museum’s annual California plein air exhibition celebrating the rural nature of Bonita and the region.
AUG- Permission To Come Aboard August 8 – September 26, 2020. Preview Gala: Saturday August 8th at the Admiral Kidd Club
Permission to Come Aboard a walk through history as told through sailor-built miniature models, toys, uniforms and historical objects. Retired Navy sailor, Marine, and model builder Joe Frangiosa,Jr. curates an exhibition of San Diego Navy history. Visitors will travel back in time from the Iron Clads of the 1860’s, to the Great White Fleet , the Spanish American War, and the aircraft carriers of WWI and WWII. Visitors will see the evolution of military ship design, as well as enjoying histories recounting adventures and daily activities aboard ship. See the website for programming during this exhibition.
SEP- Bonitafest Trail Ride, Friday Sept. 18th. Annual horse ride and walk from Rohr park to the Bonita Museum and Library.
OCT- Chula Vista Art Guild, Oct. 10 – 31, 2020. Sat. Oct. 17 5:30-7:30pm
Blooming Art: Bonita Garden Club on Oct. 23 – 24, 2020. Reception, Friday Oct. 23, 5:30 – 7:00pm.
NOV- Sine Kuwento: Filipino Film and Stories Nov. 8 – 30, 2020
Sine Kuwento: Filipino Film and Stories with Benito Bautista and Emma Francisco. Sine Kuwento “remembering our past by celebrating and sharing its inspiration” is an exhibition about the history of Philippine Cinema. Starting in the Philippines and then transitioning to California, the exhibition takes visitors from the beginnings of cinema into the modern age of media and content creation by Filipino-American vloggers in San Diego, California including curators Benito Bautista and Emma Francisco. Programming includes film screenings created by global Filipino filmmakers, as well as panel discussions and open-mic activities with creative collaborators in film, music, and spoken-word (poetry) by San Diego Filipino-American artists.
2019: past exhibtions
South Bay Artists: Survey with curator Christopher Padilla
Nov. 9 – 30th / Reception: Sat. Nov. 9 5:30 – 8:00 PM
Dia de los Muertos: Public Ofrendas
Oct. 30 – Nov. 2, 2019
Chula Vista Art Guild and “Blooming Art” with the Bonita Valley Garden Club
October 12 – Nov. 1, 2019
Anthropocene: Humans and Nature:
September 6 -28, 2019
Nuestra Frontera: South Bay Families at the Border
June 22 – August 24, 2019
A history and culture exhibition showcasing the people and families living in the border region for the past 250 years, from the late 1700’s to 1970’s. Curator: Barbara Zaragoza
July 20 – Walk through the exhibition with curator Barbara Zaragoza, 11am
July 27 – 11am – 12:30pm Tortilla making with the Kitchenistas and Katie Stokes,
editor of SD Edible reservations.register
August 2 – 5:30pm Film Screening and book signing with professors and authors Alberto López Pulido and Rigoberto “Rigo” Reyes. Follow the history and birth of lowrider culture to the present day in South Bay San Diego. The Friday night event also includes a display of South Bay cars. more
August 10 – 2pm Saloons, Brothels and Opium Dens : Life at La Frontera during Prohibition. You’ll hear about the Border Barons who started the “Vice-Industry” in Tijuana and at the same time donated to churches in the South Bay.
You’ll find out that the famed horses Trigger & Seabiscuit were boarded in the South Bay and raced in Tijuana. You’ll also find out that the 1920s is when our our sewage problem at the border began, the foreshadowing of maquiladoras came to be and much more. There’s fun, laughter and some serious topics explored during this slideshow with original archival photos. A discussion and beer tasting will follow.
Anthropocene: Humans & Nature
September 6 – 28, 2019
Reception: Sept. 6, 5:30-7:30pm
An exhibition of contemporary works by Southern California artists exploring the earth and nature as affected and interpreted by humans including technology, farming, architecture, and ethnobotany. Systems and mysteries as related to various fields of study including metal and mineral extraction, plant science, shamanism, invisible and visible communication systems, human designed environments, and carbon based complications. Conceptualizations of objects in contemporary philosophy and art. Peak experience acoustic phenomena related to storytelling and topography. Defunct and abandoned science institutions, mystical meeting places. Documentation of the human soul and eternity.Curator: Wendy Wilson-Gibson. Exhibiting artists: Seffa Klein, Diana Benavidez, Amanda Kachadoorian, Eva Struble, Matthew Hebert, Nancie Gallegoes Holliday, Anna Sequeiros, Luis Ituarte, Jim Melli, Julie Sperling, Sasha Koozel Reibstein , Michael Field, Paula Poole, Nancie Holliday Gallegos, Stephanie Bedwell, Brian Gibson, May Cheung, Janet Hubka
Chula Vista Art Guild
October 12 – November 2nd, 2019
Reception: Friday, October 18, 5:30 – 7:30pm
Bonita Garden Club
October 25 – 26
Reception, Friday Oct. 25, 5:30 – 7pm
Day of the Dead:
Siqueiros Art Foundation
Oct.30 – Nov.2
South Bay Artists
November 8 – 30, 2019
What are artists in their 20’s and 30’s up to in the San Diego region. Curator: Christopher Padilla
May 9 | 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Preview reception: Kumeyaay Ethnobotany: Plants & Medicinals with curator Deborah Small, CSUSM
Hosted by: Bonita Museum & Cultural Center
Jun 27 | 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Preview reception: California Art Club “Lumiere de California” The light of California plein air
Hosted by: Bonita Museum & Cultural Center
Visit Bonita Museum & Cultural Center
4355 Bonita Road
Bonita, CA 91902
Open Wednesday through Saturday
10 AM - 4 PM
4355 Bonita Road, Bonita, CA