San Diego

Museum of Man's California Tower to Close for Construction in 2019

The tower will be retrofitted for better earthquake protection, the Museum of Man said Wednesday

The iconic California Tower at the San Diego Museum of Man in Balboa Park will be closed to the public for much of 2019 due to construction, the museum announced this week.

The City of San Diego will start a seismic retrofit of the historic structure that will last between seven to 10 months. A seismic retrofit is when a building is reinforced to protect against any potential earthquake damages, the museum said.

The museum and many of its exhibits, including "Cannibals: Myth & Reality" and "PostSecret," will remain open daily to the public during construction, operating during its regular of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In addition, the museum will offer discounted ticket prices for museum general admission both online and at the door during the retrofitting project.

The tower’s electronic carillon, a 100-chime instrument that plays those recognizable chimes that ring throughout Balboa Park every day, with concerts at noon, will be temporarily moved to keep it safe during construction.

The museum said the construction will be "virtually unnoticeable" but there may be occasional noise.

The California Tower was officially opened in 1915 as part of the Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park. The tower closed to the public in 1935, shortly after the California Pacific International Exposition.

Eighty years later, the California Tower re-opened to the public for tours, offering visitors a chance to climb its seven floors of stairs to the top, where a panoramic view of San Diego awaits. The tours cost between $16 and $23 per person but will be on hiatus while the tower is closed during the retrofitting project.

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