Opened in 1978, the Mingei (art of the people) conserves and exhibits arts of daily use – by anonymous craftsmen of ancient times, from traditional cultures of past and present and by historical and contemporary designers. Exhibitions focus on historical and contemporary folk art, craft, and design.
The Museum’s Founder, Martha Longenecker, was a professor of art at San Diego State University who studied the art of pottery-making in Japan. As an artist craftsman, she became acquainted with and learned from the founders and leaders of the Mingei Association of Japan, who inspired her to carry the vision of mingei to the U.S.A.
The Mingei is located in the so-called House of Charm, a historic Mission Revival Style museum building in Balboa Park. Built for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.