Fascinating exhibits inside the Casa de Aguirre Museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Many visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park might think the Casa de Aguirre is just a shop brimming with colorful crafts and wares. But a closer look reveals that a small museum is located inside.
Here are some photos which provide a glimpse of what you’ll discover should you step into the museum. Read the captions, and you’ll learn how Casa de Aguirre is one of the most important sites in Old Town, and how its occupants shaped San Diego’s early history.
Casa de Aguirre in Old Town was originally built around 1853. The adobe mansion was one of the first houses in San Diego, owned by Don Jose Antonio Aguirre, a prosperous merchant and rancher. The present building is a reproduction.
Bronze bust of Don Jose Antonio Aguirre, near entrance to Casa de Aguirre. Born in Spain, he owned several ships and warehouses and imported goods from Peru and China to trade for cowhides and tallow.
Don Jose Antonio Aguirre was known for his charity and funded many projects in early San Diego. He, his wife and children are considered to be one of our city’s founding families.
Bust of Father Antonio Ubach, Last of the Padres, 1835-1907. Antonio Dominic Ubach ran St. Anthony’s Indian School on this site from 1886 to 1891.
Plaque describes how Father Ubach advocated for California’s Native Americans and lobbied government to protect the Indians and their lands. He was loved by many. His last words were: “Have charity.”
Casa de Aguirre in Old Town San Diego today contains a shop visited by many tourists and a small museum in back.
One side of El Museo Casa de Aguirre. Excavated artifacts are on display, recalling what life was like here in the mid to late 19th century.
Visitor to the small museum watches a video which includes information about archaeological discoveries, the history of the casa and the lives of those who were sheltered here.
St. Anthony’s Indian School Artifacts Tell a Story. Many objects on display include porcelain cups, goblets, bottles, a saltshaker and beer mug.
Sign describes additional historical finds, including buttons, toys, harmonicas, slate board and pencils, lice combs, toothbrush handles, shoe parts, medal rosary and religious medallions.
Marbles, doll parts and tiny children’s tea sets, recovered from San Diego’s past.
Dozens of buttons on display. They were fastened by living fingers, now long gone.
Two old pipes.
Numerous bottles and jars are exhibited in the Casa de Aguirre Museum. They were used for medicine, mustard, chemicals, perfume, whiskey, beer, sarsaparilla…
People interested in collecting antique bottles would be mesmerized by the large assortment on display.
Don Antonio and Rosario Aguirre in Old Town History. The museum is located in what was once the bedroom and servants quarters in the Casa de Aguirre. The present-day adobe is a reproduction.
Don Antonio Aguirre, 1799-1860, was one of San Diego’s most important figures back when our burgeoning Southern California city was just a very, very small town.
A model of how the Casa de Aguirre appeared a century and a half ago.
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