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Get a Sneak Peek of Balboa Park's Mingei Museum Ahead of Grand Reopening

Mingei museum will be free during Labor Day re-opening weekend

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San Diego art lovers will have plenty to celebrate Labor Day weekend when the Mingei museum in Balboa Park reopens -- NBC 7 got a look behind the construction barriers ahead of Friday's grand reopening.

If it seems like years since the Mingei was open -- you would be right. The folk-art, crafts and design museum closed its doors to the public way back in 2018 for a $55 million renovation that took the facility down to the studs, said Mingei International's executive director and CEO, Rob Sidner, who noted that it's pandemic timing for the work was impeccable.

One of the installations on the Plaza level

While the Mingei is not the San Diego Museum of Art, it is a museum of art in San Diego that's "focused on objects of use -- not paintings and sculptures, so much as utensils and tools, containers, vessels of all kinds, even dolls and toys," Sidner said.

Admission will be free for all through Labor Day weekend, Sidner said. Keeping with that theme, the plaza level -- which features exhibits that will be switched out once or twice a year, a bistro and cafe, museum store, education center and an outdoor seating area -- will always be free to the public.

"With a taste of the museum, an introduction to it," Sidner said, the museum hopes guests will pay for admission to see the rest of the Mingei, inlcuding several brand new areas, including a pair of second-floor terraces that boast spectacular views overlooking the plaza in Balboa Park.

Check out NBC 7's sneak-peek video for a view to go inside the Mingei ahead of its opening day.

Other artworkd under way around San Diego: Balboa Park's Timken Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, in La Jolla -- guests could be strolling the galleries of both by sometime this fall.

See you at the Mingei this weekend -- here's a link to its website for more information -- and don't forget your mask!

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