At a glance


Skylight Gallery Exhibit Area
San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102




Sunday - 12:00 - 5:00
Monday - 10:00 - 6:00
Tuesday - 9:00 - 8:00
Wednesday - 9:00 - 8:00
Thursday - 9:00 - 8:00
Friday - 10:00 - 6:00
Saturday - 10:00 - 6:00

Contact info




  • All ages
  • Good for groups
  • Near MUNI
  • Near BART

Share This Event

< Back To All Events

Company’s Coming: San Francisco Hosts the Panama-Pacific International Exposition

San Francisco Public Library
Sep 09, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015

Less than a decade after the earthquake and fire of 1906 devastated the City of San Francisco, 635 acres of its waterfront were transformed into an imagined walled city of antiquity. Its purpose was to promote the latest in technological innovation by celebrating an engineering marvel realized by the United States: the opening of the Panama Canal. The Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) opened its doors to 250,000 attendees on February 20, 1915, aggrandizing the natural resources and beauty of the State of California and reintroducing the City of San Francisco to the world as a nexus of global trade on the West Coast.

Preparations for the fair precipitated numerous civic improvements and expansions to San Francisco’s infrastructure and provided opportunities for civic leaders to extol the heroic rebirth of the city and publicize its commercial potential. Drawing from rarely-displayed photographs, ephemera, City archives, and organizational papers of the San Francisco History Center, this special exhibition offers a glimpse into the efforts made by government, business, and societal leaders to prepare for and organize the PPIE and the crowd of nearly nineteen million national and international visitors that descended upon a revitalized city in search of entertainment and opportunity. Original PPIE artifacts, souvenirs, and scrapbooks highlight the ways in which San Franciscans experienced the fair dominating their city with its bewildering exhibits of groundbreaking technology and dazzling displays of consumer goods, enriching palaces of art and education, and captivating concessions.

Similar Events

The Exhibition That Never Was: The Panama Pacific International Exposition, the Book Club of California, and a Century of Fine Books

Sep 28, 2015 to Dec 07, 2015
The Book Club of California
In 1912, a group of San Francisco bibliophiles proposed an exhibition of locally produced fine press books for the forthcoming Panama-Pacific International Exposition. When advised that their proposal would carry more weight if made by an official organization, they founded the Book Club of California.
Learn More

Underground Chinatown: Racism at the Fair — The 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition

Apr 02, 2015 to Apr 02, 2016
Chinese Historical Society of America Museum
The exhibition focuses on a popular attraction in the 1915 Fair’s “Joy Zone” that fascinated visitors with false portrayals of Chinese culture.
Learn More

A Tale of Two Fairs: 1915 San Francisco and 1915-16 San Diego

Apr 15, 2015 to Dec 23, 2015
Special Collections Research Center, CSU Fresno
A special exhibit on the San Francisco and the San Diego World Fairs of 1915 from the Donald G. Larson Collection on International Expositions and Fairs at CSU Fresno.
Learn More

City Rising: San Francisco and the 1915 World’s Fair

Feb 21, 2015 to Jan 03, 2016
California Historical Society
Journey inside the PPIE to see what fairgoers encountered 100 years ago in the grand palaces, exotic foreign pavilions, and the amusement midway known as the Joy Zone. Learn what distinguished this world’s fair through vintage photographs, souvenirs, and other artifacts.
Learn More