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M.H. de Young Memorial Museum

M.H. de Young Museum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

The M.H. de Young Museum, usually called simply “The de Young” is a fine arts museum in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The museum is named for the early San Francisco newspaperman, M.H. de Young, and the original structure was opened in 1895. The original de Young was severely damaged by the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989. We happened to visit the original de Young on the last weekend that it was open to the public, before the construction of the new de Young, which was reopened on October 15, 2005.

The new structure was a product of designers Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron and engineers Arup and principal architects Fong and Chan. The new de Young is clad with perforated copper plates, which will “weather” and change colors with exposure to the elements. The de Young’s collection of European art was sent to the Palace of the Legion of Honor (12), as part of the agreement that created the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The de Young received the bulk of the organization’s anthropological holdings, including pre-Hispanic works from Peru and Teotihuacan, as well as tribal art from Africa.

The courtyard of the de Young features a sculptural installation by Andy Goldsworthy named Drawn Stone. A feature of the sculpture that I did not notice at ground level, but which was apparent by looking down at the courtyard from a window at the top of the central wood staircase, is that there is a deliberate “crack” (resembling a fault?) that runs through the courtyard itself and all of the blocks of stone of the sculpture. Other collections include pieces from the Rockefeller Collection of American Art, the African and Oceanic collections, and the Art of the Americas collection.

The observation tower of the de Young is 144 feet (44 m) tall and provides a view of the Music Concourse of the Park as well as a view of the Golden Gate and the Marin Headlands (1).

The de Young sits very near the San Andreas Fault. To address the problem of the fault, the building can more up to 3 feet (91 cm) as the result of a unique system of ball-bearings, sliding plates, and viscous fluid dampers that convert kinetic energy to heat, as cited in Wikipedia.

Although the design of the new de Young has been controversial to some, I have grown to like it a great deal. There is also a sculpture garden and the de Young Cafe, where you can relax with a lunch and a beverage, and enjoy the museum and the park.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

You can view higher-resolution photos (*generally* 7-30 megabytes, compressed) at the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Pro Gallery on Shutterfly™, where you can also order prints and gifts decorated with the photos of your choice from the gallery. Apparel and other gifts decorated with some of our most popular photos can be ordered from the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Store on CafePress®.

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