Curiosities and Keepsakes: Treasures of San Francisco’s Past, focuses on the unique people, places, and events that made 19th century San Francisco the interesting, lively and unique place it has been in the past and present. Colorful characters (Emperor Norton and Ada Mencken), unique places to spend leisure time (Sutro Baths, the Cobweb Palace and Woodward’s Gardens), and the material objects that surrounded these people and places all are on display in our first floor gallery, the Seymour Pioneer Museum, and our second floor Moore Gallery.
Items from all parts of the Society’s collections are on display including: artifacts, furniture, paintings, prints, photographs, certificates, ephemera, clothing, books and archives. Delve into the lives of actresses from the era, politicians from the city, policemen whose beat was Chinatown at the height of the Tong Wars, and artists who sketched the news for the San Francisco newspapers. Enter San Francisco’s past through advertisements for such items as silk and teas from China, French boots and shoes, fine Havana cigars, porcelain teeth, billiard and bagatelle tables, firearms and spectacles.
In our small theater on the first floor, there will be showing throughout the exhibition, early Thomas Edison silent films of San Francisco (archival films from the Library of Congress). Via these films one can take a ride on cable cars down Market Street, attend a parade in Chinatown, swim at the Sutro Baths and ride along the cliffs on the Ferries and Cliff House Railroad. The exhibition runs through spring of 2011