The San Diego History Center, located in Balboa Park, is a museum dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of San Diego. Established in 1928 by businessman and civic leader George W. Marston, the San Diego Historical Society is housed in the Mission style Junipero Serra Museum on Presidio Hill, around San Diego, and California’s first settlement. The museum was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, with the help of The architect William Templeton Johnson, who was responsible for the design. The San Diego Historical Society relocated its collections and research library to the Casa de Balboa Building in Balboa Park in 1982 (while maintaining the Serra Museum as an auxiliary museum and education center). The Society changed its name to the San Diego History Center in 2010. The San Diego History Center was established in 1982 as the San Diego Historical Society.
The Historic Clothing and Textile Collection contains over 7,000 items illustrating the history of dresses from the late 18th century to the present. The San Diego Fine Art Collection is notable for its early 20th-century airplane paintings by artists: Maurice Braun, Alfred Mitchell, Charles Fries, Belle Baranceanu, Charles Reiffel, Alice Klauber, and Donal Hord, are both worth mentioning among the museum’s collections.
The History Center is home to a research library and archives. The archives are available to the public and used by local inhabitants, scholars, students, and researchers. There are more than 45 million documents in the Archives, and it is the region’s best collection of historical resources to date. These documents include; public records, architectural records, books, maps, scrapbooks, manuscripts, newspapers, ephemera, diaries, and oral histories.
It contains more than 2.5 million pictures and is one of the best regional photography collections in the United States. A vital addition was the entire San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper collection before 1981. Acquired from the Union Title & Trust Insurance Company in 1979, the collection includes many 19th and early 20th century images of the San Diego region. In addition, the photograph collection has several notable collections. Including the Edward H. Davis Collection of Indian Photographs and Drawings, circa 1900-the 1940s, and the Norman Baynard Collection of the African-American Community of Logan Heights, about 1939-1985, all of which are highlights.