Monthly Programs

Monthly programs are generally held on the second Tuesday evening of each month except for August and December. Programs are free to SFMHS members. Admission for non-members is $10 per person ($5 for seniors, students, K-12 teachers, and persons with disabilities), which may be applied to membership dues within 30 days.

Program dates and topics are subject to change. Please check this page for any last-minute updates.

Unless otherwise noted, it is not necessary to RSVP for a monthly program.

Beginning in April, 2015, monthly programs will be held in a new venue:

Milton Marks Auditorium
Hiram Johnson State Building
455 Golden Gate Avenue
(between Larkin and Polk, across from the Federal Building)

Some street parking is available; or use the Civic Center Garage (355 McAllister Street, between Larkin and Polk) or the Hastings Law School Garage (376 Larkin Street, at the corner of Larkin and Golden Gate). Nearby transit includes the 5-Fulton, 19-Polk, 47-Van Ness, 49-Mission/Van Ness, or the BART/MUNI Civic Center Station.

Please note: You will need to pass through security to enter the building. Be prepared to pass through metal detectors and have your bags searched. Allow extra time.

Please join us at 7 PM for a reception before each program.

April 2015 Program

Lessons from the Making of Latino San Francisco
Tomás F. Summers Sandoval Jr.

Tuesday, April 14 - 7:30 PM
Milton Marks Auditorium
455 Golden Gate Avenue

How can the history of Latinos in San Francisco prepare us for this future? What can it teach us about the value of community history and its role in building a multiracial democracy? In his new book, Latinos at the Golden Gate, Tomás Summers Sandoval details the rise of a diverse community of Latin American migrants in San Francisco, focusing on those historical moments when a shared Latino identity was forged through struggle. He will share some of this story with an eye toward how it might help us better prepare for the challenges of a building a more inclusive future.

Tomás F. Summers Sandoval Jr. is an associate professor of history and Latina/o Studies at Pomona College in Claremont, CA. A Native Californian, his work focuses on the historical experiences of Latin American migrants and their descendants in the United States.

May 2015 Program

On the Joy Zone: A Postcard and Photographic Tour of the PPIE’s Amusement District
Glenn D. Koch

Tuesday, May 12 - 7:30 PM
Milton Marks Auditorium
455 Golden Gate Avenue

Everyone knows the splendors of the Panama Pacific International Exposition, such as the Tower of Jewels and the Palace of Fine Arts. However, ask people today about “The Zone,” and most will just shrug their shoulders and claim little knowledge of the subject. Gaudy and garish, the Zone was the polar opposite of the high-minded ideals espoused by the fair’s organizers. Along its length could be found educated horses, hula dancers, risqué artwork, and wild amusement rides, in addition to fanciful restaurants and souvenir concessions. It was a garden of visual delights created to stimulate the senses. This presentation, which takes the audience on a visual walk from one end of The Zone to the other, brings together the largest grouping of images of The Zone ever presented in one place. It allows the viewer to see why it was such a fantastic place and why it deserves to be remembered today.

Glenn Koch is an aficionado of San Francisco history and is also creating a tour of Union Square and the surrounding area for Guidekick to be available later this year. Glenn is the author of San Francisco Golden Age Postcards (2001) and Picturing Long Beach Island, New Jersey (2007).

June 2015 Program

Learning Golden Gate Park History through New Technology
Christopher Pollock

Tuesday, June 9 - 7:30 PM
Milton Marks Auditorium
455 Golden Gate Avenue

Golden Gate Park is one of the verdant crown jewels of San Francisco; it shouldn’t be so, as it was built on top of arid sand dunes. During its 145-year existence, the park has provided the backdrop for a great deal of history related to more than 100 buildings, memorials of various kinds, lakes, and athletic fields. Some have been rebuilt more than once, while others have been moved.

Guidekick, a new startup in the tech sector, has partnered with historian Christopher Pollock to create an app for mobile devices, such as iPhones and iPads, bringing the park’s history to life as no other medium can. The app is a virtual tour of all the park’s many sites and allows the user to read the history of a site (or listen to the narrated version), see current and historic photos, watch historic film clips, or listen to audio interviews of park memories. Navigation takes place on a 3-D map, which orients the user using GPS technology.

Join historian Christopher Pollock, author of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park: A Thousand and Seventeen Acres of Stories (2001) and Reel San Francisco Stories: An Annotated Filmography of the Bay Area (2013), on a journey into the new wave of the future showing how history can be uniquely communicated through an emerging technology.