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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the opera house in Mexico City, see Palacio de Bellas Artes, and for the Palace of Fine Arts that was part of Chicago's White City fairgrounds for the World's Columbian Exposition (1893), see Museum of Science and Industry.
The Palace of Fine Arts: 2004
The Palace of Fine Arts: 1919

The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Francisco, California is a building originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition.



Painting of the Palace of Fine Arts by Colin Campbell Cooper c. 1915

It was designed by Bernard Maybeck, who took his inspiration from Roman and Greek architecture.[1] The sculptured frieze and allegorical figures representing Contemplation, Wonderment and Meditation were created by Ulric Ellerhusen.[2] It was one of only three buildings from the exposition not to be demolished (the others being the Japanese Tea House,[3] not to be confused with the Japanese Tea House that remains in Golden Gate Park, which dates from an 1894 fair, the other is what is now known as the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium ). In the 1960s it was entirely refurbished to ensure its longevity.[4] The exhibition hall, which originally housed Impressionist paintings during the exposition, is now home to the Exploratorium, a state of the art interactive science museum. There is also a replica of the Palace of Fine Arts in Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim, as part of the exterior of the former Golden Dreams attraction and will be incorporated in the replacement attraction, The Little Mermaid, Ariel's Undersea Adventure.[5]

The Palace of Fine Arts has been a favorite wedding location for couples throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. A renovation restoring the interior of the dome, the walkways around the Palace and a seismic retrofit was completed in early 2009. The lagoon was intended to echo those found in classical settings in Europe, where the expanse of water provides a mirror surface to reflect the grand buildings and an undisturbed vista to appreciate them from a distance. Australian eucalyptus trees fringe the eastern shores. Many forms of wildlife have made their home there including swans, ducks (particularly migrating fowl), geese, turtles, frogs, and raccoons.


The Palace of Fine Arts: 1915 The Palace of Fine Arts: 2006 Colonnades A view from inside
Palace of Fine Arts Walkways.jpg

In Fiction and Film

The dome of the Palace of Fine Arts just outside the Exploratorium and the adjacent lagoon have often been used as backdrops.



  • The Streets of San Francisco - In the episode, The Set-Up, a hit-man leads a blind bar owner through the grounds at night as Stone and Keller trail behind.
  • Monk - In the episode Mr. Monk Goes to the Ballgame, Adrian Monk and his trusty assistant Sharona take a casual walk through the Palace of Fine Arts.
  • Nash Bridges - The landscape and its surrounding neighborhood was occasionally featured in episodes of the Don Johnson cop series.
  • Journeyman (TV series) -- In the episode Game Three, Dan Vasser winds up at the Palace of Fine Arts many times when he travels back in time to the day of the Loma Prieta earthquake

Video Games


  • In S.M. Stirling's alternate history book, Conquistador, the Gate Control Commission headquarters contains an exact replica of the rotunda of the Palace of Fine Arts--but constructed in stone, or at least faced in stone.

See also


  1. ^ McCoy, Esther (1960). Five California Architects. New York: Reinhold Publishing Corporation. pp. 6. ASIN B000I3Z52W.  
  2. ^ Exhibition of American Sculpture Catalogue, 156th Street of Broadway New York, The National Sculpture Society 1923 p.55
  3. ^ The Van's History
  4. ^ The renovation and restoration of the Palace of Fine Arts
  5. ^ "Golden Dreams". Disney's California Adventure. Walt Disney Company. Retrieved 2007-05-11.  

External links

Coordinates: 37°48′11″N 122°26′53″W / 37.803°N 122.448°W / 37.803; -122.448



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