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About the Comic-Con Museum
For the past 50 years, San Diego Comic-Con has created one of the biggest, most popular conventions of its kind in the world. But the organizers of Comic-Con wanted to do even more to recognize fans and spread the magic of Comic-Con.
They imagined a place where fans could come together to celebrate the things they love, not just for a few days each summer, but all year long. A place where the public could learn about areas of art and pop culture of which they may not even be aware. A space where everyone is included, where old fans and new could enjoy the passion, creativity, and imagination of Comic-Con, while learning about science, technology, art, storytelling and much more. Now, with the help of fans like you, that dream will soon become reality.
With classes and activities during the day, movie screenings and trivia contests at night, and programs available online anytime, the Comic-Con Museum will be an experience unlike any other. Our focus will be on community and not collection by bringing diverse audiences together for shared, vibrant experiences
In addition to the comics, film and science fiction/fantasy genres that started it all, the Museum will showcase TV shows, books, video games, anime, and so much more. Through regularly rotating exhibits, hands-on workshops for kids as well as adults, and interactive experiences to try, you will always find something new and exciting to explore.
Opening in 2021, the Comic-Con Museum will be a participatory place where audiences can connect with the magic of Comic-Con year-round.
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The SAN DIEGO COMIC CONVENTION (Comic-Con International) is a California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation organized for charitable purposes and dedicated to creating the general public’s awareness of and appreciation for comics and related popular art forms, including participation in and support of public presentations, conventions, exhibits, museums and other public outreach activities which celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture.
The vision of the Comic-Con Museum is to:
- Thrive as a world-class attraction and gateway to popular art, culture, and life-long learning for San Diego residents and visiting tourists.
- Serve as a pop culture focal point, enhancing the ways San Diego celebrates its unique place in the popular culture landscape.
- Enhance the economic strength of the community.
- Become a sustainable model for equitable and environmentally-sound community service through our practices and offerings.
These values are the core beliefs of Comic-Con and the Museum. They will be shared by the institution, its stakeholders, staff and volunteers alike. They will also be evident to visitors in each and every offering put forth by the Museum.
- Access. The Museum is a place where everything is made to be accessible. Intentionally placed within reach—physically, intellectually, and financially.
- Equity. The Museum will treat its diverse audiences fairly. Equity is being equivalent without sameness. Everyone will have an opportunity to get what they need based on where they are and where they want to go, taking into account their physical, intellectual, and financial abilities.
- Inclusion. The Museum embraces diversity of all types and is a place where the audience has a voice and a sense of authorship. The Museum will actively seek to provide opportunities for engagement to all people.
Comic-Con began in 1970 when a small group of comics, movie and science fiction fans from San Diego put on an event attended by just 300 people. Since then, Comic-Con has grown into a global phenomenon and is widely recognized as the premier pop culture convention in the world. Annually, the organization is focused on:
- Educational Programming. Core to Comic-Con’s work is using the educational power of popular culture to engage learners of all ages. We accomplish this through panels, and seminars as well as graphic novel clubs, conferences for teachers and librarians, how-to classes, and other activities.
- World Class Events. Each year, we put on two large-scale events that blend education and entertainment in San Diego (Comic-Con) and Anaheim (WonderCon). In 2019, we celebrated our 50th convention with nearly 2,000 programs and panels, including hands-on workshops, presentations, costuming competitions, art shows, and more.
- Arts Promotion. Comic-Con celebrates the popular arts by raising their visibility and public awareness in an effort to fuel creativity, imagination, and innovation. Examples include, the annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Comic-Con Independent Film Festival, Artists’ Alley (showcasing original works by artists at the convention) and Artist Portfolio Reviews (where up-and-coming artists are paired with experts to gain career guidance).
- Community Collaboration. Giving back is of the upmost importance to Comic- Con. We work with key stakeholders to strengthen our community through blood drives, charitable donations, and training more than 6,000 event volunteers annually.
The anticipated impact of the Museum project is significant. Routine economic studies conducted by the San Diego Convention Center over the last eight years have consistently found Comic-Con’s San Diego convention generates over $140 million for the local economy on an annual basis. The Museum will bring in a minimum of 100,000 annual visitors from an expansive range of local as well as international geographies and cultures, complementing and enhancing the annual convention’s economic impact.
Balboa Park, a 1,200-acre urban park located adjacent to downtown San Diego, is home to 17 museums and cultural institutions with an incredible diversity of collections. From local San Diego history, to the history of flight, trains, or automobiles, to the workmanship of the old masters, and the arts, crafts, and culture of people near and far, recent and historical - there is no shortage of things to see and do.
The Comic-Con Museum is located in the area of Balboa Park known as the Palisades. Our nearest neighbors are the Air and Space Museum, Automotive Museum, Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater and the public Gymnasium.
To plan your visit to Balboa Park, please visit the official website.
Development of a Comic-Con Museum has been a goal of the organization for years. Since 2017 and under a long-term lease with the City of San Diego, Comic-Con has been preparing for a transformation of Balboa Park’s existing Federal Building into a year-round museum focused on the popular arts.
The Federal Building, constructed in 1935, originally served as a hall to house U.S. Government Exhibits during the California Pacific International Exposition, the second of Balboa Park’s two major Expos. The building was always meant to be a permanent fixture with visions of it converting to a civic theater, or a convention center for the City of San Diego.
Serving a variety of roles over the decades—from Naval Barracks for 1,400 men during World War II to Badminton Headquarters—the building was modernized in the mid-1990’s to house the Hall of Champions, a multi-sport museum, that operated inside the building until June 2017.
Although the building itself is not listed as a historic structure, it, and more specifically its front facade, are considered a part of the National Historic Landmark and National Historic Landmark District status granted to Balboa Park in 1977. Balboa Park is also on the National Register of Historic Places.
For a more detailed history of the Federal Building, visit the San Diego History Center’s website to learn more.