Fine Arts Preservation Day Centennial, 16 October 2015

By Anthea M. Hartig, Ph.D.
Executive Director & CEO
California Historical Society

Long before autumn of 1915, one building emerged as the crowd favorite at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The Palace of Fine Arts both beguiled and dazzled the millions who had attended the Fair. One of many masterpieces by noted Bay-Area architect Bernard Maybeck, the Palace may have been inspired by Roman ruins and other classic European architecture, but its elegant, ethereal beauty–in a western, urban, port City without compare–clearly spoke to the hearts of visitors and San Franciscans alike.

As the December end of the Fair drew near, and its impermanent nature became real, October 16, 1915, was declared “Fine Arts Preservation Day.”  Exposition management dedicated 75% of all Fair dollars taken in that day above the daily average to a fund for the permanent preservation of the Palace of Fine Arts. On that day, according to Fair historian Laura Ackley, 92,865 visitors entered the gates, and by closing time at 11:00p.m. $8,000 had been collected for the cause. Adding most significantly to the efforts to save the building was the Chair of the PPIE’s Women’s Board, Phoebe Apperson Hearst.  In concert with her San Francisco Examiner publisher ... Read More >


On July 17, the Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) kicked off an event commemorating the centennial of a significant cross-country road trip by several young men including Edsel Ford, the son of Henry Ford, in 1915. The men traveled from Detroit to San Francisco to visit the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The roadtrip helped popularize automobile travel for recreation and symbolized the country’s growing fascination with cars. This summer the HVA is recreating this trip with a Ford Model T from 1915, a 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Convertible, and an EcoBoost powered F-150 pickup truck, and documenting their experience at Read More >

Historypin – A new PPIE100 project

The California Historical Society is proud to announce a new project with Historypin: MAPPING SAN FRANCISCO’S 1915 WORLD’S FAIR. The innovative Historypin platform enables a global community of people, groups and institutions to gather and share the history of the places that matter to them, using collections of photographs, documents, sounds and moving images to start conversations and trigger memories. ... Read More >

KQED Forum

On Wednesday, February 18 KQED Forum host Michael Krasny discussed the history and legacy of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition with Anthea Hartig, CEO and Executive Director of the California Historical Society, Laura Ackley, author of San Francisco’s Jewel City: The Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915 (Heyday), and Lee Bruno, author of Panorama: Tales from San Francisco’s 1915 Pan-Pacific International Exposition (Cameron + Company). ... Read More >

Palace of Fine Arts Readies to Re-Open its Doors as Innovation Hub for Young and Old to Imagine the Possibilities of “Then, Now and Tomorrow”

Innovation Hangar bringing together visionaries, hands-on educational activities and amazing exhibitions from major institutions such as Bay Area Discovery Museum, Kaboom, Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Maker Media and Wearable World, among others. ... Read More >