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Before the Bridge Exhibit
A watercolor of the San Carlos, a tallship with two masts, many sails, and sailor on the deck as the ship approaches land.
Before the Bridge: Sight and Sound at the Golden Gate
Exhibit Runs May 23 to December 16
Wednesdays to Sundays, 11 am to 5 pm
103 Montgomery Street, next to the Main Parade Ground
The newly rehabilitated Montgomery Street Barracks is the setting for a sensory experience of the Golden Gate Strait. Come experience images and sounds of this area before the iconic bridge was imagined. This exhibit surveys the dramatic geology, dangerous waters, ships, shipwrecks, lighthouses, art, and poetry related to the Golden Gate Strait. It also explores the military installations that guarded it and are now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Rarely seen images, maps, and paintings are complemented by sounds of the ocean, foghorns, and sailors.
Gallery I traces the history of the magnificent Golden Gate Strait with tales of ships, lighthouses, foghorns, and shipwrecks. Gallery II explores two centuries of harbor defense, the impact of the Golden Gate Bridge on the Presidio, and the earliest vision of a national park at the Gate. Visitors can also complete an interactive scavenger hunt and attend evening programs that complement the exhibit.
Download the Exhibit Manual, written by Curator Dr. Randolph Delehanty.
Related programs:
  • Shipwrecks at the Golden Gate
    Wednesday, December 12, 7 pm
    James Delgado, international shipwreck expert and maritime archaeologist, will speak about the variety of shipwrecks and sunken treasures hidden deep beneath the bay. Dr. Delgado will be introduced by co-author and National Park Service historian Stephen Haller.


What People are Saying
“This was well worth the trip across the Bay Bridge to experience the photographs, maps, and videos. The sounds and voices enhanced the experience.”
“Wonderful exhibit. It was really nice for my 12 year old son to get a glimpse of what our neighborhood was like prior to the Pan Pacific Exhibition and the development that the Golden Gate Bridge allowed to happen.”
“This is a beautiful exhibit. I am a native San Franciscan and spent many childhood days at the Presidio with my retired Naval officer father. I appreciate hearing and seeing more of the history of the Presidio.”
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