A Guide to San Francisco Airport Museum

Travelling can be a big part of many people’s lives these days and if you are a business or leisure flyer, this can mean spending many hours at an airport, especially if the dreaded delay occurs. This can be a fairly boring experience as you are essentially trapped in the airport building and finding something to do to pass the time is not always easy. Most airports try to cater to their passengers by providing some facilities which can be used for a little entertainment or to spend some interesting time. If you are ever in San Francisco airport one of the options you have is spend some time at their museum and this can be something that will be of interest to many people.

The San Francisco Airport Museum was established in 1980 when the airport entered into a agreement with the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco to establish and run a museum in the airport building. This has fairly modest beginnings but proved to be popular with passengers. Much of the museum program is dedicated to the history of commercial aviation as well as the role the airport itself plays as a gateway to the Pacific region. However the exhibitions on display also cover a range of other topics. In the early days the museum comprised a gallery in the North Terminal which these days is Terminal 3 of the airport. However the success of the exhibitions meant it has grown over the 30 years it has been in operation and today there are around 20 galleries spread around the airport displaying artifacts and items covering topics such as history, science and culture.

The museum has a collection of around 6,000 books, 3,000 photographs and 5,400 artifacts relating to the history of the airport and aviation and these are housed in the Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum. Much of these have been professionally researched and cataloged and these are available for study both in the museum itself and also online. If you are interested in the history of aviation the museum provides one of the best locations in the US to study this. The airport continues to build its collection of aviation artifacts and actively seeks out further documents, books and other items to improve the museum.

While the Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum house a permanent collection the other galleries throughout the airport feature a rotating schedule of exhibitions and change on a regular basis. This provides passengers with constantly changing displays to keep their interest as they frequent the terminal buildings. Some of the current 2010 exhibitions in the galleries of the airport include Shanghai: High Rise Architecture and the Remaking of China’s Gateway to the World, Japan Air Lines: Dawn of the Jet Age and Pirkle Jones: A Life of Photography. In Terminal C1 there is an Aquarium which has a display entitled Live from the Tropics: Animals of the Rainforest and Coral Reef which is one of the few continuous displays.

As well as catering to adults the museum looks to engage children. Near gate 87a there is an exhibition entitled Kids Spot II which has interactive displays from the San Francisco Explatorium and this can be an excellent place to keep children entertained. The museum also has a continuous program of displaying kid’s art and there are two galleries dedicated to this in Terminal 1. The Animals of the Rainforest and Coral Reef display can also be an excellent place to keep children entertained. It features three exhibitions comprising freshwater, sea and land environments which display animals from rainforests of the Americas and also a Philippine coral reef and children are sure to be enthralled by this.

Spending time at an airport can be a tedious experience at times and finding things to do to keep yourself entertained can sometimes be a chore. However with the library, museum and various galleries located throughout the San Francisco Airport finding something of interest to see and do is made a lot easier. The exhibitions are entertaining and educational and can provide an excellent way to spend some time while you are at the airport. This should help to pass the time more quickly, ensure that you enjoy a trip to the airport and learn a little while you are there

For more details check out http://www.sfoarts.org/