San Francisco, Calif. (Dec. 3, 2014) – Today, Mayor Edwin M. Lee joined with business, civic and community leaders to launch PPIE100, a yearlong celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE). The PPIE was the 1915 World’s Fair celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal and showcasing host city San Francisco, which emerged from the ashes of earthquake and fire as a center of beauty, progress, and innovation.
“San Francisco’s innovation, imagination and vision were on full display at the World’s Fair in 1915, and these qualities are at the heart of our City then, now and tomorrow,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “This yearlong Panama-Pacific International Exposition Centennial celebration at the Palace of Fine Arts and venues across our City will provide residents and visitors a unique, only in San Francisco experience to discover and understand how the spirit of innovation in our residents has shaped the City’s past, present and future.”
In commemoration of this seminal event in San Francisco history, the California Historical Society (CHS), together with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, Innovation Hangar and Maybeck Foundation are coming together to host PPIE100 — a yearlong series of public events, exhibitions and activities presented by more than 35 Bay Area cultural, civic and business organizations to reflect on PPIE’s historical significance and celebrate the innovations of “Then, Now and Tomorrow”.
AT&T is the presenting sponsor with key institutional partners including the Exploratorium, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco Public Library, Mechanics’ Institute, Oakland Museum of California, Presidio Trust and San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. Additional corporate sponsors include Hearst Corporation, Wells Fargo, and Sterling Bank/Seligman Family Foundation, and the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation.
“We are thrilled to work together with so many partners and collaborators to help bring back the spirit of the PPIE and the 1915 World’s Fair to San Francisco,” said Dr. Anthea Hartig, Executive Director of the California Historical Society. “Opening the doors to the Palace of Fine Arts as a center for innovation and technology, along with the yearlong events being planned, provides a window to tell the amazing history of innovation and perseverance of this City and the brilliant future that lies ahead.”
The celebration includes the re-opening of the Palace of Fine Arts to the public, which is the only remaining structure from the 1915 World’s Fair. Managed by the Recreation and Parks Department in partnership with the Maybeck Foundation, the Palace will be transformed into Innovation Hangar, the host tenant throughout the Centennial. Innovation Hangar celebrates the innovative spirit that defines San Francisco, creating a unique social innovation space that facilitates connections, ideas and investments in a way that simply cannot happen in the virtual world. Among its founding partners are Makers Faire, the Smithsonian Institution and the Bay Area Discovery Museum and will include interactive exhibits, such as Kaboom’s indoor invention playground and the Smithsonian’s Spark Lab, virtual classrooms, student programming and other events.
“Innovation Hangar is literally transforming the inside of the Palace over the next few months into a rare place where the curious can play, grow and learn and where the dreamers of today can inspire our world tomorrow,” said Dan Shine, CEO, Innovation Hangar. “We are proud to be partners with PPIE100 to celebrate our City’s rich history and explore the ideas and innovation of tomorrow.”
Also featured inside the Palace and at its galleries at 678 Mission Street will be exhibitions by the California Historical Society, “City Rising: San Francisco and the World’s Fair of 1915,” which will depict PPIE as a critical event that shaped the San Francisco we know today: a city undaunted by tragedy, audaciously innovative, and rising to meet the challenges of the day.
The general public will be able to experience the transformation of the Palace and the exhibitions as part of a three-day citywide celebration that begins on February 20, 2015, the actual date the World’s Fair opened 100 years ago. Engaging and diverse events and activities are being planned for the family, individuals and enthusiasts of history and technology, which will recreate some of the lore of the World’s Fair with light shows, music festivals, and interactive learning modules, all part of the celebration.
As part of its presenting sponsorship, AT&T, which staged the first transcontinental phone call in conjunction with PPIE 100 years ago, will make a $50,000 contribution to help launch and support the PPIE100 Passport to Success program, an educational initiative that will provide San Francisco middle school students with hands-on learning and educational opportunities offered through PPIE 100 partners.
“The future of innovation depends on our youth – and a workforce that is inspired and prepared to tackle the challenges of the 21st century global economy,” said Ken McNeely, President, AT&T California. “AT&T is proud to be the presenting sponsor of PPIE100 and to support the Passport to Success program so that students can advance their learning about the innovations of “Then, Now and Tomorrow.”
As part of the PPIE100 celebration Heyday Books and the California Historical Society are also publishing a new book, San Francisco’s Jewel City: The Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915, written by Bay area architectural historian and author Laura Ackley. The book, 352 pages with over 200 full color photographs and illustrations, is available for purchase.
A special website – www.PPIE100.org – has been created that brings together all the history, stories, special events, activities, partners and exhibitions taking place during the yearlong centennial celebration. Specific information about Innovation Hangar is available on its website at www.ihangar.org.