San Francisco’s de Young Museum originated as the Fine Arts Building, which was constructed in Golden Gate Park for the California Midwinter International Exposition in 1894. The Fine Arts Building was designed in a pseudo–Egyptian Revival style and decoratively adorned with images of Hathor, the cow goddess. Following the exposition, the building was designated as a museum for the people of San Francisco.
Over the years, the de Young has grown from an attraction originally designed to temporarily house an eclectic collection of exotic oddities and curiosities to the foremost museum in the western United States concentrating on American art, international textile arts and costumes, and art of the ancient Americas, Oceania and Africa.
In the mid-1960s, following Avery Brundage’s bequest of his magnificent Asian art collection, the Brundage wing was constructed, thereafter altering the museum’s orientation toward the Japanese Tea Garden, another remnant of the 1894 Midwinter Fair.
In 1989 the de Young suffered significant structural damage as a result of the Loma Prieta earthquake. The Fine Arts Museums’ board of trustees completed a project that braced the museum as a temporary measure until a long-term solution could be implemented.
It has been remodeled and structured over the years, the latest revamp was done in the last seven years and it re-opened with a new look and feel in October 2005.
It is the fourth-most-visited art museum in North America, and the 16th-most visited in the world.
During certain seasons, they have Friday events that are open to the public, showing off certain art exhibits and special events. Recently, I attended an ‘art’ event where people were adorned in vibrantly colored costumes and wine was a flowing, while people danced on the main floor. There were also dance performances on stage where people got dressed up as sailors, monkeys, puppets, ladies of the night, magicians, gypsies and more.
It was a fun-filled evening with lots of creative, fun filled energy and color throughout. Have a look.