Emerging technologies are enabling the feasibility of new types of point-of-care diagnostic devices. A portable, multimodal microscopy platform intended for use in remote diagnostic applications is presented. Use of such a system could bring high-quality microscopy to field use for diseases such as malaria, allowing better diagnostic and surveillance information to be gathered. The microscope was designed using off-the-shelf components and a manual filter selection to generate bright-field, fluorescent, and cross-polarized images of samples mounted to microscopy slides. Design parameters for the system are discussed, and characterization is performed using standardized imaging targets, multimodal phantoms, and blood smears simulating those used in malaria diagnosis. The microscope is shown to be able to image below element 9-3 of a 1951 U.S. Air Force target, indicating that the system is capable of resolving features < 775nm. Morphological indicators of Plasmodium falciparum can be visualized in images from each modality and combined into high-contrast composite images. To optimize parasitic feature contrast across all three imaging modes, several different staining techniques were compared, with results indicating that use of a single nucleic acid binding fluorophore is preferable.