"San Diego--The Museum of Man displays both good and dark sides of culture through the centuries"


By The Editor

San Diego's Museum of Man located in Balboa Park had a remarkable number of special exhibits when we visited it. One such is called "Instruments of Torture" revealing how much time and effort man has made, during many centuries, to make life as miserable as possible for others of his kind. Devices to almost every part of the human body are displayed from stocks, flaying instruments, a rack for stretching the body past its limits, a crown of spikes and many, many more.

This Torture exhibition is housed in a separate building and requires its own admission price. It is, while most educational, not an uplifting experience.

However we did discover one exhibition that was most interesting and showed the brighter side of man's industry. It is called BeerOlolgy and shows that beer has followed civilization almost every place on the globe. The making and enjoying of beer has been tied to writing, cities, agriculture and religion for a millennium. Whether Egypt Pharaohs, Inca kings, ancient Sumerians or Amazonian headhunters, they have all enjoyed a brew of their own making. If you are found of beer you have history on your side. Exhibits here show you are only following the lead of your ancestors who have always had a fondness for this beverage.

Another uplifting exhibition is called Rites of Passage and depicts events that are a part of most people's lives. It traces birth, baptism marriage, graduation, first job and retirement, events common to people of many diverse cultures. For us as individuals these are milestones cherished and remembered over one's whole life. It is rightly called "Our Journey Through Life."

Monuments and artifacts of the Maya civilization that existed in Central America for thousands of years can be seen at the Museum of Man. We were much interested in the Maya Glyphs that have been translated to letters in our alphabet.

There is so much to see here that it is impossible to do justice to all the exhibits in one visit. Footsteps Through Time take you into the story of human development over millions of years as learned through recent discoveries. Then there are the mummies of ancient Egypt and what life was like besides the Nile River under the Pharaohs.

As for us that exhibit on Beerology made us thirsty and a reminder that it was nearing lunch time so we decided to leave the rest for another visit.

San Diego Museum of Man is located at 1350 El Prado, open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information call 619 239-2001, on the web at museumofman.org.

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