San Diego Museum of Man : Michelin's recommendations
Born out a Smithsonian Institution exhibit in the Panama-California Exposition of 1915, the museum now has a collection of more than 70,000 objects, arranged to explore evolution, anthropology, ancient history and indigigenous cultures. The museum occupies the ornage 1915 California Building, whose imposing 180ft campanile houses a 100-bell carillon that chimes the quarter-hour. Beneath the building's dome, on the first floor, are life-size replicas of stelae and other massive stone monuments from the Mayan city of Quirigua in Guatemala, AD 780-805.On the second floor, human evolution is the focus of Early Man; the exhibit includes a rare cast of the 3 million-year-old fossil skeleton of Lucy, a 3 1/2ft-tall female Australopithecus, one of the oldest known skeletons of an upright-walking human ancestor. Life and Death on the Nile presents artifacts from ancient Egypt, including mummies and a collection of ushabtis, magical tomb figurines from 1250-300 BC. A separate display of mummies includes bodies unearthed in Peru, Mexico and Egypt. In Life Cycles and Ceremonies, human rites of puberty, marriage, sexual union and birth are explored in audiovisual exhibits and artifacts from cultures worldwide. Kumeyaay: Native Californians describes the lifestyle and arts of this indigenous tribe when first encountered by missionaries in the late 18C. In the innovative Discovery Center, youngsters explore mysteries of ancient Egypt.