Ready for Racing Season!

The san diego automotive museum and the new plaza

Springtime brings new seasons for NASCAR, NHRA… and SDAM. Just as race car drivers prepare for their season, the San Diego Automotive Museum (SDAM) is entering their 2022 racing season with their signature event, THE Party in the Park…Vroom! on October 8, 2022, as the finish line.

This season, SDAM has set its sights on creating a positive impact in the community, beginning with the Vocational Education Academy (VocEd) for at-risk youth living at or below the poverty line in San Diego County by providing automotive career development, money education, and enhanced self-confidence. VocEd’s first class of students will begin in January 2023. To prepare, the Museum is inviting a group of local students to serve on a student advisory committee tasked with creating VocEd to be “by the student, for the student.” These high school participants will provide feedback and ideas on the curriculum, courses, and speakers to better develop the academy. SDAM will use their advice to produce a more robust and adaptable automotive program.

The San Diego Automotive Museum is also focusing on building a world-class automotive experience to be the center of car culture in the community. When friends think of a meet-up place for the weekend, they will look at the Museum’s event calendar. When a birthday party or wedding needs an intimate venue, the Museum will be their first thought. And businesses will first think of the Museum when planning holiday parties, retreats or meetings.

Being the destination in Balboa Park begins from the inside out. New exhibitions such as Alternate Fuels will open by the year’s end. Plus, a recently added vignette honors San Diego Ferrari owner and car enthusiast Skeets Dunn. In the coming weeks, the Berg Family Library will be completely overhauled to reintroduce SDAM’s collection of automotive periodicals – the most extensive collection on the West Coast. The grand reopening is scheduled for July 2022. SDAM will renew a small corner on the exhibit floor for an interactive Children’s Corner. Open year-round, activities will rotate offering a new experience for young visitors.

The Museum’s vision includes bringing the building’s 1935 façade back to its original glory. Thanks to the Committee of 100 (C100), who generously works to restore and preserve Balboa Park’s historical architecture, two life-size grizzly bear sculptures are returning to the Museum. The grizzly bear replicas will match the ones from the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition, bronze-casted and placed upon the corners of the Museum’s roof to overlook Pan American Plaza once again. They will be complemented by two flag poles rising 18 feet above the entrance, one to fly the American flag and the other flying the California State flag. C100’s commitment to SDAM’s historical architecture supported the return of the tile murals in 2021, which originally hung over the building’s entrance for the 1935 Exposition. Dedication of the grizzly bears and flag poles is scheduled for mid-2022.

Looking to become involved in the San Diego Automotive Museum’s racing season or supporting its vision? Naming opportunities are available, plus support for programs, exhibitions, and events. Contact the museum at

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Esteban Villanueva