As a canine, I’m inherently pack-conscious, whether it’s my immediate domestic pack or my Balboa Park dog park pack. But around the Fourth of July, I’m reminded of my place in the United Packs of America. And it just so happens that a number of Balboa Park institutions* are honoring our national pack this year with cultural displays showcasing the many local flavors of American culture.
Allied Craftsmen Today at the Mingei International Museum, for instance, explores the significant growth of the arts and crafts movement in this country following World War II by highlighting San Diego’s local artists collective (a.k.a. pack), one of the few still around today.
Bottled & Kegged: San Diego’s Craft Brew Culture at the San Diego History Center reveals an entirely different, if not slightly intoxicating, side to local craft making, revealing how San Diego’s craft beer industry has begun to vie for leader of the pack status both nationally and internationally.
Handcrafted Journeys: Japanese American Woodworkers in San Diego at the Japanese Friendship Garden showcases the great diversity of American culture by examining the legacy of Japanese craftsmanship in a variety of functional and decorative objects made locally, some dating prior to World War II.
Toy Cars at the San Diego Automotive Museum highlights our culture’s fascination with cars, which begins when we are pups (and continues well into adulthood for many), through a display of chase-able auto-related toys, including scooters, models, soapbox derby cars, and pedal cars.
House of USA Lawn Program: Of course no Fourth of July weekend in Balboa Park would be complete without the annual Sunday afternoon cultural extravaganza at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. From my perspective, there’s simply no better way to celebrate American culture than by chowing down on hot dogs, baked beans, potato salad, and apple pie, while enjoying patriotic music and performances.
Dog Bless America!* Note that most museums will be open on July 4, except for the Mingei and Timken Museum of Art. Other museums may have special holiday hours. Be sure to check each individual museum’s hours while making your plans.