The Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts
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Palace of Fine Arts. CC BY 2.0
Source: Flickr: kevcole

History of the Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine
Arts was constructed for the 1915 Panama Pacific
Exposition.  The Exposition celebrated
both the completion of the Panama Canal, the uplifting
of San Francisco after the
devastating 1906 earthquake, and the progress to that point.  It is situated in San
Francisco’s MarinaDistrict near the Golden
GateBridge and is
home to the Exploratorium, which was previously known to be the exhibition hall
to house Impressionist art during the Panama Pacific Exposition.


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Colonnades at the Palace of Fine Arts. CC BY 2.0
Source: Flickr: harshlight

The Palace of Fine
Arts was intended to last for one year during the
Panama Pacific Exposition before being destroyed.  Because of that, the original column and
rotunda were built with wood and staff for an easy breakdown.  Bernard Maybeck, an architect from Berkeley,
was appointed as the designer of the Palace
of Fine Arts.  He based its architecture through Roman and
Greek architectural inspirations.

Later in the year, before the Palace
of Fine Arts was schedule to be
demolished, over 30,000 signatures were collected along with donations of over
$300,000 to keep and restore the Palace with longer lasting materials.  With this, the Fine Arts Restoration Day was
held in support of those against the destruction of the Palace
of Fine Arts.  Walter S. Johnson, a philanthropist who
fundraised to save the Palace for restoration and added original colonnades,
was one of the major reasons the Palace
of Fine Arts is still standing


The lagoon mirrors the surface and provides a more
aesthetically pleasing design.  It is
frequently visited by migrating fowl such as ducks, geese, and swan, but is
also home to frogs and turtles.  The park
enveloping the Palace of Fine
Arts Gallery has been named in honor of the philanthropist
Walter S. Johnson and the Theater houses up to 1,000 people in a continental-style
arrangement.  Because of its majestic
beauty, weddings are held in the Rotunda by couples across the globe.  Personally, my family and my husband’s family
were too large to host our wedding there – so my hubby and I snagged our
photographer at the end of our wedding reception so we could snap a few wedding
shots there!

Another series of restorations were completed in 2009 to
seismically retrofit the structure, improve pathways, and restore the
dome.  Now, the Palace
of Fine Arts is open to locals and
tourists alike.  The Palace
of Fine Arts Theater is home to
concerts, lectures, tributes, film events, and much more.  The Exploratorium that is housed at the Palace
of Fine Arts is a science museum that
holds a wide variety of exhibits that is geared toward the hands-on experience.  For tourists who are on a budget in such an
expensive city, I suggest checking out the Exploratorium on the first Wednesday
of the month where groups of 9 or less are admitted for free (groups of 10 or
more will need to make a reservation on free days).

For more information on the Palace of Fine Arts, visit the official websites of The Palace of Fine Arts and The Exploratorium.

Aerial View

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Aerial View – Palace of Fine Arts. CC BY-SA 2.0
Source: Flickr: jillclardy

At the Palace of Fine Arts

Have you ever attended a wedding or any other special event at the Palace of Fine Arts?

Nope, I’ve never been there.
No, but I plan to soon.
No, I was just walking around and took pictures.
Yes, I attended one!
Yes – I hosted one there myself!
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