Community Historians are trained volunteers and staff who bring their passion for San Diego history to your community meetings and organizations through informative talks. Our speakers can introduce visitors and tourists to San Diego history or else dive deep into the details of a unique San Diego topic.

Program presentations are illustrated with historic photos and documents from our Research Archives.

Available topics include:

  • San Diego History to 1915
  • San Diego History 1900-1985
  • Old Town to New Town: The Development of San Diego
  • San Diego – It’s All About Diversity
  • Settling the San Diego Mission and Presidio

But we are not limited to these! If you have a specific topic in mind for your function, please reach out to discuss options.

Submit a Program Request

Submit a Program Request at least two weeks before your preferred presentation date. Not all presentation topics are available on all dates.

Request a program: Community Historian Program Request

The tuition fee is $150. In the interest of broadly serving all San Diego County residents, tuition assistance is available for those who need it.

Presentations are typically 1 hour.

For more information or questions: 619-232-6203 x 108 or

Community Historians can also be seen on Residents’ Free Tuesdays!

On the second Tuesday of each month, watch a Community Historian presentation at 1:00 pm in our Thornton Theater. Each lecture is free with “Give Forward” admission.

Upcoming Topics

January 9, 2018, 1:00 pm

Dam the Water and Pray for Rain
The story of San Diego is inextricably bound up with the story of water; people cannot long survive in a region without access to this most vital resource. This presentation starts by looking at water access prior to American arrival. With an increasing population, water agencies, plans, and infrastructure blossomed after California joined the United States. This brings the presentation to the modern era and leaves the audience with questions to ponder.

February 13, 2018, 1:00 pm

San Diego History 1900-1985
This presentation picks up where the presentation “San Diego History to 1915” ends. Moving forward in time, this presentation looks at some of the major regional, national, and international forces that shaped the city – the Great Depression, World War II, and the post-war trends of urban-flight and redevelopment.