San Francisco for Historians
Joshua Paddison, December 2001
California Palace of the Legion of Honor. Art museum overlooking Golden Gate Bridge displaying an impressive collection of 4,000 years of ancient and European art. January exhibitions include "Artists' Books in the Modern Era: 1870-2000" and "In Focus: Photographically Illustrated Books, 1857-1930." 34th Avenue and Clement Street, San Francisco. (415) 863-3330. Open 9:30–5. www.thinker.org/legion.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. One of the world's most innovative museums of modern and contemporary art. January exhibitions include "Ansel Adams at 100," the first important critical reevaluation of Adams's art since his death in 1984, and "Judith Rothschild: An Artist's Search." 151 Third Street, San Francisco. (415) 357-4000. Open 11-6. www.sfmoma.org
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. With program areas devoted to Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Film/Video, and Education, the Yerba Buena Center is located in the heart of Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco's new cultural, entertainment and commercial district featuring a range of attractions, restaurants, museums, public art, and formal gardens. Mission Street and Third Avenue, San Francisco. Gallery open Thurs. and Fri. 11-8; Sat. and Sun. 11–6. (415) 978-2787. www.yerbabuenaarts.org
California Academy of Sciences. Founded in 1853, the California Academy of Sciences is the oldest scientific institution in the West and one of the ten largest natural history museums in the world. Includes Steinhart Aquarium and Morrison Planetarium. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. (415) 750-7145. Open 10-5. www.calacademy.org
California Historical Society. State historical society featuring exhibitions, galleries, the North Baker Research Library, and museum store. 678 Mission Street, San Francisco. (415) 357-1848. Open 11-5, closed Sun. www.californiahistoricalsociety.org
Society of California Pioneers. Historical society devoted to California history, with a museum, research library, gallery, and educational activities. 300 Fourth Street, San Francisco. (415) 957-1849. Open 10-4, closed Sun. www.californiapioneers.org.
Exploratorium. Hands-on museum of science, art, and human perception. January exhibitions include "Mathematica: A World of Numbers . and Beyond." 3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco. (415) 397-5673. Open 10-5. www.exploratorium.edu.
Fort Mason Center. Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Fort Mason houses the Museum of Craft and Folk Art, Museo ItaloAmericano, San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society, Cowell Theater, and Magic Theatre. West of Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco. (415) 441-3400. Hours vary. www.fortmason.org.
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society of Northern California. Founded in 1985, the GLBTHS collects, preserves and promotes an active knowledge of the history of sexually diverse communities in northern California and beyond. Extensive archives and occasional exhibits. 973 Market Street, Suite 400. (415) 777-5455. Open 1-5, closed Sun. and Mon. www.glbthistory.org.
Presidio Trust. January exhibit of woodblock prints from the Meiji Era, 1868–1912. Main Post of the Presidio. 800-965-4827. www.atthepresidio.org
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. This unique park, located at the west end of Fisherman's Wharf, includes a fleet of historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier, the Maritime Museum, and the Maritime Museum Library. West of Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco. (415) 556-3002. Open 10-5. www.nps.gov/safr/local.
San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum. A library and museum with more than two million items, including books, periodicals, photographs, programs, playbills, newspaper clippings, audio and video tapes, costume and set designs, and other artifacts. 401 Van Ness Avenue, Fourth Floor, San Francisco. (415) 255-4800. Open 11-5, closed Sun. www.sfpalm.org.
Wells Fargo History Museum. Displays original Concord Coaches, Wells Fargo banking and express documents, artifacts, photos, gold coins, mining tools, ore, balance scales, working telegraphs, and western fine art. 420 Montgomery Street, San Francisco. (415) 396-2619. Open 9-5, closed Sat. and Sun. www.wellsfargohistory.com/museums.
Oakland Museum of California. Major museum devoted to the history, art, and natural sciences of California. January exhibitions include "California's Native Grandeur: Preserving Vanishing Landscapes," "Wrapped in Pride: Ghanaian Kente and African American Identity," and "Grand Lyricist: The Art of Elmer Bischoff." 1000 Oak Street, Oakland. (510) 238-2200. Open Thurs. 10-5; Fri. 10-9; Sat. 10-5; Sun. 12-5. www.museumca.org.
African American Museum and Library. A division of the Oakland Public Library devoted to discovering, preserving, interpreting, and sharing the historical and cultural experiences of African Americans in California and the West. 14th Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, Oakland. (510) 238-6716. www.oaklandlibrary.org/AAMLO.
Judah L. Magnes Museum. Jewish history museum featuring exhibitions, library, and archives. January exhibitions include "Telling Time: To Everything There Is a Season." 2911 Russell Street, Berkeley. (510) 549-6950. Open Thurs. and Sun. 10-4, closed Fri. and Sat. www.magnesmuseum.org.
Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology. U.C. Berkeley's anthropology museum, with exhibitions and collections with 3.8 million items. 103 Kroeber Hall, U.C. Berkeley. (510) 642-3682. Open 10-4:30. www.qal.berkeley.edu/~hearst.
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts. With 27 galleries, special exhibitions, and stimulating educational programs and events, the Cantor Center at Stanford is a cultural hub of the Peninsula. January exhibitions include "Liberated Voices: Contemporary Art from South Africa," "Paul De Marinis: The Messenger," and "Men at Work: Paintings by Kristina Branch." Stanford University. (650) 723-4177. Open Thurs. 11-8, Fri.-Sun. 11-5. www.stanford.edu/dept/ccva.
City Hall. McAllister and Polk, San Francisco. (415) 554-6023. Docent-led tours Thurs. and Fri. 10, 12, and 2; Sat. and Sun. 12:30. www.ci.sf.ca.us/cityhall.
Public Library. 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco. (415) 557-4400. Open Thurs. 9–8, Fri. 12–6, Sat. 106, and Sun. 12-5. sfpl.lib.ca.us.
Alcatraz Island. One of the National Park Service's most popular destinations, a boat ride to Alcatraz offers a close-up look at a historic and infamous federal prison. Advance tickets recommended. Pier 41, Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco. (415) 705-5555. Daily excursions leave 9:30-4:30. www.nps.gov/alcatraz.
Presidio of San Francisco. 1,480-acre park with more than 500 historic buildings, a collection of coastal defense fortifications, a national cemetery, an historic airfield, a saltwater marsh, forests, beaches, native plant habitats, coastal bluffs, miles of hiking and biking, and some of the most spectacular vistas in the world. Northwest corner of San Francisco. (415) 561-4323. Visitor's Center open 9-5. www.nps.gov/prsf/home.htm.
Muir Woods. 295-acre recreation area renowned for its ancient redwood trees and stirring natural beauty, accessible to beginner hikers. Marin County. (415) 388-2596. www.nps.gov/muwo/home.
San Francisco Zoo. Sloat Boulevard at 45th Avenue. (415) 753-7080. Open 10–5. www.sfzoo.org.
Oakland Zoo. 9777 Golf Links Road, Knowland Park, Oakland. (510) 632-9525. Open 10–5. www.oaklandzoo.org.
Theatre on the Square. To be announced. 450 Post Street, San Francisco. (415) 433-9500. www.theatreonthesquare.com.
Orpheum Theatre. To be announced. 1192 Market Street, San Francisco. (415) 512-7770. www.bestofbroadway-sf.com/.
Golden Gate Theatre. To be announced. 1 Taylor Street, San Francisco. (415) 512-7770. www.bestofbroadway-sf.com/.
Curran Theatre. To be announced. 445 Geary Street, San Francisco. (415) 512-7770. www.bestofbroadway-sf.com/.
Club Fugazi. Beach Blanket Babylon by Steve Silver. Green Street at Columbus, San Francisco. (415) 421-4222. www.beachblanketbabylon.com.
Cable Car Theatre. To be announced. 430 Mason Street, San Francisco. (415) 587-6747. www.sfstation.com/theatre/cablecar.htm.
Berkeley Repertory Theater. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare. 2025 Addison Street, Berkley. (510) 647-2949. www.berkeleyrep.org.
In addition to those arranged by organizations affiliated with the AHA and described elsewhere, the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau has prepared a series of self-guided walking tours of various San Francisco locations, including Union Square, Chinatown, and North Beach. The tours may be downloaded at www.sfvisitor.org/visitorinfo/html/walkpdfs.html.
—Joshua Paddison recently received his MA degree in history from San Francisco State University and is on the staff of the Local Arrangements Committee.