Profile of the Mingei International Museum

Mingei International Museum
••• Outdoor display at the Mingei International Museum in San Diego, CA. Image courttesy the Museum.


The Mingei International Museum in San Diego, California was established in 1978 to exhibit 'art of the people', i.e., folk art, crafts, and design works.

The Museum has a permanent collection of more than 20,000 objects dating from the 3rd century BCE to the present day from 141 countries.


The Mingei International Museum was established in 1978 by Martha Longenecker, who was an art professor San Diego State University.

Her studies of Japanese pottery-making led her to study with the Mingei Association of Japan, and thus helped her bring the idea of 'mingei' ('art of the people') to the US.

As Museum Director for 27 years, Ms. Longenecker oversaw a new site design for a 41,000 square-foot museum facility which opened in August 1996. She was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun in 2003 by the Emperor of Japan for "her contribution to transcultural artistic understanding."


The Museum's mission, according to their website, is:

"The Museum features dynamic, changing exhibitions of folk art, craft and design from all cultures of the world, displayed throughout six beautiful galleries."


The Mingei International Museum is located in the west end of historic Balboa Park, on the Plaza de Panama in San Diego, California.

Please refer to the museum's website for directions and further information.

Museum's Conservation Department:

The Mingei International Museum has a permanent collection, so it requires the services of an art conservator from time to time, in order to preserve and restore artworks.

To learn more about the field of art conservation, please see interviews with conservators.

Famed Artworks in Collection:

The Mingei International Museum's permanent collection includes folk art, crafts, and design.

Objects such as furniture, quilts, textiles, pottery, clay works, metalwork, baskets, dolls, toys and ritual objects comprise the collection.

All the objects in the museum's collection are hand-made and were created to be both aesthetically pleasing and as a functional object to be used for daily living.

The Museum has exhibited work by notable artists such as Judith Scott and Bill Traylor.

Noteworthy Facts:

The Museum's comprehensive reference library contains "over 9,000 books, 200 videos and many art journal subscriptions related to the Museum’s collection and philosophy."

Employment Information:

The Museum posts employment and volunteer opportunities on its website, in the various departments such as administrative, curatorial, collections, exhibitions, marketing, sales, and security. 

How to Apply for a Job:

Applicants can apply to positions in which they qualify by submitting their applications via email. Please refer to the Museum's website for current job listings and further information.

Museum's Contact Info:

    Mingei International Museum, Balboa Park, Plaza de Panama, 1449 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101. Tel: 619-239-0003.

    Mingei International Museum's website

    Museum Hours:

    • Monday closed
    • Tuesday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
    • Wednesday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
    • Thursday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
    • Friday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
    • Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
    • Sunday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
    • Closed holidays