SFO Museum

Vintage radios on display at SFO Airport

The “Mystic” Radio Bug and headset c. 1927 – courtesy SFO Museum

Radio – the invention – was a transformational technological triumph of the 20th century and today some of the earliest radios – the objects – are sought after collectible objects.

A new exhibition – On the Radio – from the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport brings together classic radio sets spanning sixty years of design, from crystal sets and luxury consoles, to stylish tabletop models and pocket-sized transistors.

Here are some highlights from the exhibition on view post-security on the Departures Level of SFO Terminal 3 through September 30, 2018. All photos courtesy SFO Museum.

Put on a podcast -or better yet, download an old-time radio classic – and take a tour.

Model 400–3 “Patriot” 1940

 

Model 21 “Minuette” 1932

X–11 Aladino 1949 

 

Regency TR–1 1954

 

Got popcorn? Here are the films you can see at SFO Airport

Here’s hoping you favorite actor or film won an Oscar at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony.

And here’s to being able to see films not just on airplanes, but in airports.

Portland International and Minneapolis-St. Paul International have post-security spaces where passengers can watch short films and at San Francisco International Airport there’s a pre-security Video Arts screening room in the International Terminal departures lobby.

Presented by the SFO Museum, SFO’s screening room features a rotating exhibition of several short films, with a new film introduced weekly.

In case you aren’t passing through SFO soon, here are the short films being shown now.

In a Heartbeat (excerpt below) just rotated out of the line-up.

 

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