Our Mission

The San Francisco Historical Society exists to uncover, preserve, and present, in engaging ways, the colorful and diverse history of our city from its earliest days to the present.

How We Do This

We engage residents, visitors, and the next generation of history enthusiasts in exploring how San Francisco’s history has shaped its unique identity. We do this through history programs, walking tours, publications, mobile history apps, special events and exhibits, and ongoing collaborations with other local history groups and cultural institutions. Our museum and event space is located at the epicenter of old San Francisco, on the site of the city’s first branch mint at 608 Commercial Street.

Meet Kevin P. O’Brien, SFHS’ Executive Director

Kevin P. O’Brien earned a B.A. in history/philosophy from Georgetown University in 1965 and an MBA in marketing from Xavier University in 1983. In 1965–68 he was an airborne officer with a top-secret clearance from the U.S. Army Security Agency. O’Brien has almost 40 years’ experience in TV station and group management, working in Kansas City (MO), Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Washington DC, and New York. While working at Cox Enterprises 1986–2001, he was executive vice president of the Cox Independent group he was responsible for five Cox television stations, including KTVU in Oakland. As president of Meredith Television from 2001 to 2004, he oversaw fifteen television stations. Since 2004 he has been president and CEO of Global Broadcastings. O’Brien serves on the boards of directors of various charitable institutions and has received various awards, including the John Carroll Award, the most prestigious award given to an alumnus of Georgetown University.

Board of Directors

Read about our board of directors.

Advisory Board

Read about our advisory board.

What We Do

We are devoted to bringing together San Francisco’s past, present and future. SFHS has more than 2,000 members and fulfills its mission of preserving Bay Area history through a broad spectrum of programs and special events, such as monthly presentations, guided history walks, the Barbary Coast Trail and the annual Awards Luncheon.

The Society produces two publications: The Argonaut, a beautiful journal featuring photographs and in-depth reviews of our city’s history; and Panorama, a quarterly newsletter for members that features upcoming programs and events of interest to our members.

SFHS is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization (Tax ID 68-0104888). Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. Donate now!

Our History

The San Francisco Historical Society was founded by renowned San Francisco historian Charles Fracchia in 1988. In 2006 the administration of Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. granted the stewardship of the Old Mint at Fifth and Mission Streets to SFHS. That stewardship lasted for ten years. In 2019 SFHS moved into its permanent home, the site of the first Branch Mint in the West at 608 Commercial Street in the heart of San Francisco’s historic core. The SFHS Museum is the new center for administration, exhibits, presentations, and educational programs, and is also available as a venue for events.