SFO Museum

Beckoning cats at San Francisco Int’l Airport

A new exhibition from the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport features a wide variety of maneki neko – those beckoning cat figurines we see today in the windows of Japanese and Chinese restaurants, inviting customers to step inside.

From the exhibition, we learn that the tradition of making beckoning cat figures dates back to the late Edo period (1615-1868) and through the years these auspicious objects have been made in ceramic, plaster, copper, bronze, wood, stone and iron.

In many cases, you’ll see the cat holding up its left paw in an effort to bring luck and good fortune to a business. Sometimes the right paw is raised – which is meant to invite good fortune, health and happiness into a home.

The colors of the beckoning cats also have meaning: white represents happiness and satisfaction; black symbolizes safety and is a way to drive away evil; and gold symbolizes money and fortune. The bibs on many maneki neko also hold meaning and are often painted with coins and other traditional symbols of luck and fortune.


Maneki Neko: Japan’s Beckoning Cats is located post-security in Terminal 2, on the Departures Level of San Francisco International Airport through August 26, 2018. All the maneki neko are from the collection of the Mingei International Museum of San Diego. And all the photos here are courtesy of the SFO Museum.

Cool, coin-op machines on view at San Francisco Int’l Airport

“Futura” -1950s; Gypsy Fortune Teller – 1932. Courtesy SFO Museum

The newest exhibition offered by the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport is about coin-operated machines, which smartly combine mechanical novelty and automated convenience. 

Lukat “The Lucky Cat” (1952) dispensed gum and a prize ticket.

“At the drop of a coin, they vended goods, provided entertainment, and offered potential jackpot payouts and free merchandise,” the exhibit notes tell us, while incorporating “decorative graphics and innovative mechanisms that captured the attention of people worldwide.”

‘Whiffs of Fragrance” 1916- dispenses a bit of perfume. Courtesy SFO Museum

Take a look as some of the cool coin-operated machines from the Joe Welch American Antique Museum in San Bruno, California on view for free (no coins necessary) in the pre-security International Terminal Main Hall Departures Lobby at San Francisco International Airport.

“The Automatic Age: Coin Operated Machines is on view from December 16, 2017 through August 5, 2018

Exquisite airplane models on view at SFO Museum

Hughes H-4 Hercules (“Spruce Goose”) model. Courtesy SFO Museum

A new exhibition from the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport features almost  three hundred 1:72 scale (one inch = six feet) models of pioneer, sport and commercial aircraft made with plastic, wood, metal, wire, string, and epoxy and detailed with paint and decals.

Air France Concorde SST (Super Sonic Transport) model aircraft. Courtesy SFO Museum

The models come from the collection of Jim Lund, a Bay Area native who made aircraft models as a kid and returned to the practice as an adult.

“Numerous models were constructed or modified from kits produced by manufacturers worldwide,” exhibit notes tell us,  and “In the many instances when no kit was available, Lund crafted the model parts from scratch based on manufacturers’ plans using the ‘vacuform’ process—a method that creates plastic parts from his hand-carved wood forms.”

Aviation Evolutions: The Jim Lund 1:72 Scale Model Airplane Collection is on view pre-security on Depatures Level 3 through May 13, 2018.

Here are some more examples of what’s on view.

 

American Airways Curtiss Condor T-32 airliner model aircraft. Courtesy SFO Museum

 

SCADTA (Sociedad Colombo Alemana de Transporte Aéreo) Junkers F.13 airliner model aircraft . Courtesy SFO Museum

 

Dornier Do X flying boat airliner model aircraft. Courtesy SFO Museum

SFO Museum explores history of United Airlines

On July 1, San Francisco International Airport will Kick off an exhibition exploring the history of United Airlines through over 300 artifacts and images.

The items date from the 1920s to the present and include model aircraft, cabin and cockpit equipment, meal service wares, promotional items and more, so here’s hoping you have a long layover at SFO.

Here are some pics from the exhibition. All images courtesy SFO Museum.

Mechanic roll-up tool set late 1920s. Courtesy SFO Museum

Ford Tri-motor passenger seat c. 1928. Courtesy SFO Museum

DC-3 Douglas Sleeper Transport sleeper service late 1930s

Flight dispatch clock. C. 1940

Flying the Main Line: A History of United Airlines is located post-security, in the Terminal 3 Boarding Area F Upper Level at San Francisco International Airport from July 1, 2017 to March 4, 2018.

A memo from SFO Airport: See this typewriter exhibit

With all this talk about a ban on laptops and larger-than-smartphone electronic devices being from some airline cabins, consider for a moment the pre-computer age of the typewriter.

Courtesy SFO Museum

A fresh new exhibit at San Francisco International Airport, organized by the SFO Museum, traces the history of typewriters (remember those?) and typewriter technology, from early writing machines to modern portables.

 

courtesy SFO Museum

“A marvel of industrial engineering and ingenuity, it revolutionized communication and was an essential tool for countless writers. To comprehend the typewriter’s impact, consider a world where typing did not exist and handwriting was the main form of non-verbal communication.  The ease and speed of communication on paper increased dramatically when typewriters became available in the late 1800s. Typewriting was efficient, created clear and legible documents, and easily produced multiple copies using carbon paper,” the exhibition notes tell us.

Courtesy SFO Museum

The Typewriter: An Innovation in Writing is post-security in Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport through January 28, 2018.

Courtesy SFO Museum