Presidio of San Francisco (July 16, 2009) -- Seventy years ago, the world descended on a man-made island in the middle of San Francisco Bay for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, celebrating the completion of both the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge. Now a new, free exhibit opening at the Presidio Officers’ Club brings this dynamic exhibition back to life. Treasure Island 1939 opens July 22 and runs through October 18, 2009.
“The exhibit offers a look back at Treasure Island’s wondrous past, while at the same time provides a glimpse at its future,” says Jeff Weik, public programs manager for the Presidio Trust.
Produced in partnership with the Treasure Island Development Authority, Treasure Island 1939 features nearly 50 black and white and early color photographs of the art, architecture, dramatic nighttime lighting and grand landscapes of the 1939 exposition as well as newspaper covers from the time and programs from the original exposition. The exhibit concludes with a look at the future of Treasure Island as it evolves into San Francisco’s newest neighborhood.
“The images are really memorable and unique,” says Weik. “Culturally, it’s fascinating to see what people were doing in that era. The exhibit certainly will pique people’s interest, and I think they’re really going to enjoy it.”
Several special programs will enhance the exhibit’s spirit and bring it to life including a swing dance workshop on August 6; an evening of big band music and dancing featuring cocktails from the era mixed at the Presidio Social Club’s no-host bar; and an “Unofficial Guide to the Fair” presented by Trust historian Dr. Randolph Delehanty on September 17.
Billed as the “World’s Fair of the West,” the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition highlighted the cultural and economic life of the Pacific region and offered a welcome diversion in troubled times. New visions of art, architecture, and design were introduced to the Bay Area. The fair’s promotional materials promised “every type of entertainment” from art—“nearly all the outstanding Western artists and sculptors are represented”--to “outstanding theatrical productions bringing the ‘white lights’ of Broadway to Treasure Island.” And from “every type of music from symphony to swing and from the lofty carillon to a capella choirs” to “thrill rides, snake shows, foreign villages…wild animal acts and girl shows.”
Treasure Island 1939 runs from July 22 to October 18, 2009 at the Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Avenue. It is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. Admission is free. For more information visit www.presidio.gov/calendar or www.sfgov.org/treasureisland.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to oversee the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The 1,500-acre site contains expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. It also comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to its status as a National Historic Landmark District.
Following is a schedule of special programs accompanying Treasure Island 1939 for inclusion in events calendars. A complete schedule of programs and events is available at www.presidio.gov/calendar
Swing Dance Workshop
With Dance Diva Cynthia Glinka and music by Don Neely's Rhythm Aces.
Thursday, August 6, 7-8:30 pm, Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Ave., San Francisco
Royal Society Jazz Orchestra featuring Carla Normand
Big Band music and dancing. Enjoy period cocktails at the no-host bar by the Presidio Social Club.
Thursday, August 27, 7-9 pm, Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Ave., San Francisco
The Un-Official Guide to the Fair
Presented by Presidio Trust Historian Dr. Randolph Delehanty
Thursday, September 17, 7–8 pm, Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Ave., San Francisco