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San Rafael Museums

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San Rafael Museums and Historical Places

San Rafael has outstanding museums, historical places, and heritage sites. From the architectural modern wonder of Frank Lloyd Wright to the personal collection of army vehicles of San Rafael resident Joe Garbarino, these buildings and collections reflect the unique character of the city of San Rafael and its residents.

Marin History Museum 

Since the Marin History Museum opened in 1935, it has remained the driving force that keeps the discovery of local history for both adults and children relevant today. Its programs, lectures, exhibitions, and artifact preservation, preserve the past for the benefit of future generations. 

At Boyd Gate House, the Marin History Museum’s exhibitions are open to the public. Family-friendly educational programs and a Family Activity Room are also ideal for young children. The Boyd Gate House was built in 1879 and is a graceful building decorated in high Victorian Gothic architecture. It is set in an expansive park and surrounded by a granite and iron fence.  The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Gallery Hours of Operation: Tuesday through Friday and the second and third Saturday of each month 11:00am - 4:00pm.

Mission San Rafael Arcangel

In 1817, Mission San Rafael was built as an assistencia or “helper” mission to support the Mission Dolores in San Francisco.  At the time the Mission was created to care for the sick. Its patron saint was St. Rafael the Archangel who was the angel of bodily healing.  Mission San Rafael Arcangel is a replica of the original Spanish mission and was the second-to-last mission built in California. The Mission was rebuilt in 1949 and stands at right angles to the building’s original alignment.

Mission Chapel is open for visitors Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and Sunday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Admission is free, suggested donations are welcomed.

Falkirk Cultural Center 

Falkirk was built by shipping magnate Robert Dollar in 1888. The building is a Queen Anne-style Victorian building. In 1974 the community bought the 17-room mansion and registered it as a heritage site and remodeled it as a cultural resource. The building is surrounded by 11 acres of formal grounds, natural wooded hillside, a sculpture garden and a restored green house. Falkirk Cultural Center exhibits modern art in the upstairs galleries and holds seasonal public events throughout the year. Admission is free.

Sheldon Donig Warehouse Museum

The Sheldon Donig Warehouse Museum is a large imposing brick warehouse in downtown San Rafael. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places  and a great place to visit and learn about its history.

World War II US Military Vehicle Museum  

The World War II US Military Vehicle Museum in San Rafael has one of the largest collection of military vehicles. All are in working condition and were rescued and restored from a bombing range in Pendleton, Oregon or bought from smelting plants. There are 65 World War II tanks and vehicles, including an M19 Gun Motor Carriage (M19A1) which are maintained by staff and volunteers. The vehicles have been on parade on the Fourth of July every year since the early 1980s and is a much anticipated event. Owner Joe Garbarino also exhibits collections of military clothing, marine corps uniforms, sailor suits, gear and equipment.

The San Francisco Chronicle published an article about San Rafael that gives you a brief, but clear view of the city, its history, and cultural roots.

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Marin County Civic Center
Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive San Rafael, CA 94903
Thousands of visitors come to Marin County each year to see the futuristic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Marin County Civic Center. It was Wright's...
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Mission San Rafael Arcangel
Mission San Rafael Arcangel
1104 5th Ave San Rafael, CA 94901
In 1817, Mission San Rafael was built as an assistencia or “helper” mission to Mission Dolores in San Francisco. Its original purpose was to...
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Sheldon Donig Warehouse Museum
739 A St San Rafael, CA 94901
The Sheldon Donig Warehouse Museum is a large imposing brick warehouse in downtown San Rafael. It is listed on the National Register of Historic...
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World War II US Military Vehicle Museum
1050 Anderson San Rafael, CA 94901
The World War II US Military Vehicle Museum in San Rafael has one of the largest collection of military vehicles. All are in working condition and...
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Falkirk Cultural Center
Falkirk Cultural Center
1408 Mission Ave San Rafael, CA 94901
Falkirk Cultural Center is an imposing 1888 Queen Anne-style Victorian building which was previously the home of shipping magnate Robert Dollar...
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Marin History Museum
1125 B St San Rafael, CA 94901
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Bolinas Museum
48 Wharf Cir San Rafael, CA 94903
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