San Franciscans everywhere were heartbroken when the historic Cliff House restaurant, which has been around for over 150 years, closed its doors in December 2020 due to the pandemic. Plans are in the works to open another restaurant there, but for now there is a little-known museum pop-up happening through April 10. It features dozens of artifacts from various points in SF history.
The building’s eclectic collection was put up for auction after it closed, and a number of Bay Area residents swung into action to save as much as they could for public viewing. According to KQED, about 60 artifacts made it to the hands of the Western Neighborhoods Project, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving SF history, after residents raised $180,000 to bid on them at auction. With help from the National Park Service, the group began displaying these items in the Cliff House’s former gift shop starting in the fall of 2021.
Some artifacts you can expect to see are swimsuits from the Sutro Baths, an 1890s stool stamped “A.S.” for Adolph Sutro, a ship’s wheel from a tanker that allegedly wrecked next to the Cliff House in the 1930s, a luncheon menu from when President Teddy Roosevelt visited the restaurant in 1903, a totem pole that used to stand outside of the building, and much more. Learn more about what was saved here.
A reminder that our Cliff House collection exhibit is open to the public today till 4 pm. We’re trying to maintain open hours Thursdays thru Saturdays for you to come by 1617 Balboa Street to see the exhibition. pic.twitter.com/PtyyvzUD0l
— Western Neighborhoods Project (@outsidelandz) July 3, 2021
The Western Neighborhoods Project has historically displayed the items in their office at 1617 Balboa Street, but this pop-up at the Cliff House allowed them to return the artifacts to their previous home, at least temporarily, and they hope to find a larger place to display them in the future. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of a possible public space for the collection.
Stay tuned with the Western Neighborhoods Project on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or their website to keep up to date with the Cliff House museum pop-up! The museum is open Thursday through Sunday from 11am-4pm at 1090 Point Lobos Ave in San Francisco.
Featured image: @andystokesphoto via Instagram