For the past 50 years, San Diego Comic-Con has hosted one of the biggest and most popular conventions of its kind. Until now, the annual event took place only a few days each summer, but soon, fans will be able to enter the world of comics and pop culture every day of the year when the Comic-Con Museum opens in 2021 in San Diego’s famous Balboa Park.
Comic-Con was founded in the early ’70s as an event for San Diego fans of comic books and other pop culture mediums like films and science fiction/fantasy literature. Today, the annual four-day event has become the premier comic book and popular arts convention in the world, with more than 130,000 fans attending each year.
“This love we all have […] for the comic books and the comic book movies and pop culture generally […], we don’t just have it for four days a year; it’s coursing through our veins every single day,” says Michael Uslan, executive producer of the Batman films. “It’s a way we can come together no matter what our cultures are, no matter what our politics are, no matter what our beliefs are, and we need a place that can be more than four days a year.”
The organizers of Comic-Con agree. With the opening of the interactive Comic-Con museum of popular culture, fans can connect with the magic of Comic-Con year-round in new and exciting ways. In addition to the comics, film, and science fiction/fantasy genres that started it all, the new museum will also showcase TV shows, books, video games, and anime.
During the day, the Comic-Con Museum will serve as a world-class immersive educational destination for tourists, families, and students with rotating exhibits and hands-on activities and workshops. At night, it will become a pop culture community hub with interactive movie nights, trivia contests, music, classes, and gaming.
“Visitors to the Comic-Con Museum will experience regular programming, an Education Center, meet and greets with comic creators, fan-sourced exhibits, experiential cinema, watch parties, eSports, cosplay, a gift shop, and more,” says vice president of development, Melissa Peterman.
The museum will also rely on fan sourcing and respond to current interests to distinguish it from other pop culture museums and make it more accessible and dynamic for audiences worldwide. Plus, an online museum will engage those who can’t travel to San Diego and provide pre- or post-visit experiences for those who can, including live streams and digital museum programming.
“San Diego is enormously proud of Comic-Con—of this home-grown global phenomenon—which is why the museum is so important,” says Todd Gloria, California State Assembly member representing the 78th Assembly District.
What can fans expect at the Comic-Con Museum?
- The Entry Plaza – The façade of the museum’s 85-year-old historic building (formerly the Hall of Champions sports-themed museum) and the surrounding outdoor spaces will become canvases for illustrating the sense of adventure, enterprise, and imagination that define Comic-Con. Colorful banners will be displayed during the day, and at night, the building will come to life with dynamic illumination.
- The Atrium – With four flexible galleries, the museum’s main level will feature a continually refreshed year-round schedule of exhibits, panels, art shows, multimedia installations, experiential cinema, and more.
- The Mezzanine – This area will house three art galleries, with the main one wrapping around the upper level. The frequently-rotated selections from a wide variety of artists will provide opportunities for visitors to experience the bold and colorful graphic world of comics and pop culture.
- The Levels – The Levels (located on the Mezzanine) will be an area for social gatherings ranging from tabletop gaming to a quiet place to sketch, from book clubs to special events.
- The Education Center – The museum’s 6,000-square-foot Education Center on the Mezzanine level will advance a love of learning for visitors of all ages by exploring the depth and breadth of pop culture, including comics, science fiction, television, art, movies, mass media, fashion, and technology.