San Francisco Maritime Visitor Center Opens Major New Exhibit

Tuesday, April 10 2012 06:44   California
"The Waterfront," a major new exhibit at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park's Visitor Center, officially opens Thursday, April 19, 2012 with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m.

Reflecting San Francisco's rich and culturally diverse maritime heritage, the free exhibit invites park visitors to walk though time, and see, hear and touch San Francisco's historic working waterfront.

sf_wharf01Amidst the sounds of Native-American Yelamu voices and single-piston engines, painted murals depict early Spanish explorers and huge timbers suspended overhead recall San Francisco's important role in the once-vibrant West Coast lumber trade.

The new exhibit, which completely fills one-half of the Visitor Center, also features over 360 unique artifacts from the park's museum collection.

"The Waterfront's depiction of the City's deepwater roots advances our park's mission of preserving America's maritime heritage, and exemplifies our close connection to community," said Craig Kenkel, park superintendent, "In fact, many community members contributed to its stories and displays."

This exhibit was a labor of love for park staff, who worked with Academy Studios to design a visitor experience that avoided the walls and cases of a typical museum. It took a year of research and design plus three more years to complete. Over 360 artifacts from the Park's collection are carefully tucked into ship facades, store front windows, and even ship passengers' luggage.

A state of the art film takes visitors to the top of Telegraph Hill where they can watch boats and ships sailing San Francisco Bay from the earliest times to the present.

sf_wharf02The audiovisual design firm John Cavala Associates collaborated with park staff to create the film, other sounds and stories. Extensive collaboration with representatives from the Native American, Chinese, and Italian communities helped ensure that the sounds and content were as authentic as possible.

Whether you wish to stroll along 1920s-era Fishermans' Wharf, examine part of a Gold Rush vessel unearthed from under the Financial District, or eavesdrop on sailors trading yarns at a raucous Barbary Coast bar, "The Waterfront" is the perfect way to satisfy anyone's interest in San Francisco's rich maritime cultural heritage.

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, located on the edge of San Francisco Bay, in the Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood, is a park that can be visited year round. The Visitor Center is located at the corner of Hyde and Jefferson Streets. 

"The Waterfront" will be open free during regular Visitor Center hours from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. For more information about "The Waterfront" exhibit call (415) 447-5000 or visit San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park's Website at .


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