de Young Museum
fine arts museum located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park



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Arty Fact

de Young Museum
fine arts museum located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park
Average: 5 (1 vote)

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, California
United States

More about de Young Museum

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The de Young Museum is nestled in picturesque Golden Gate Park and has an extensive permanent collection across global art traditions, including an entire gallery totally devoted to traditional art and craft from New Guinea.

The museum's distinctive architecture will make sure you don't pass it by. The exterior of the building is covered in perforated copper that creates stippled light patterns similar to natural light passing through a tree canopy. Its architects also chose copper for its changing nature--over time, the museum's facade will continue to oxidize, morphing in color and texture. 

The de Young shares central offices and a board with the Legion of Honor, another major SF art museum. Fun fact: tickets at either museum are valid at the other. If you're a champ, you can check out one, break for lunch, and then head over to the next. 

Or, if you care to pay nothing at all, the de Young's sculpture garden is free and features outdoor work by many of the art world's superstars as is The Tower where you can take in a bird's-eye view of Golden Gate Park. 

mbaa's picture


The de Young Museum has feebly survivted two catastrophic earthquakes and it's hopefully ready for the next big one.

In 1894, San Francisco hosted the California Midwinter Exposition and Mr. Michael Henry de Young was in charge. A Fine Arts building was built to exhibit artifacts from around the world in Golden Gate Park to the lament of park superintendent John McLaren. Mr. de Young had little concern for the to-be bulldozed trees required to construct his vision saying, "What is a tree? What are a thousand trees compared to the benefits of the exposition?" This was supposed to be a temporary situation. The next year the museum opened to the public. The Pool of Enchantment was created outside the building, right next to a likeness of the sphinx. It must’ve been an exciting time in San Francisco.

11 years later, in 1906, the devastating earthquake in San Francisco caused severe damage to the building. Just to put that in perspective, about 700 people died according to official reports, but the numbers run into the 3000s. The Museum recovered in a year and a half, though the original building was ultimately demolished in 1929.

1989, another crazy earthquake hits the city. The Museum barely made it out in one piece. Nine years later, the citizens of San Francisco decided that they would not pay for the renovation of the Museum, forcing the museum to fend for itself. Diane 'Dede' Wilsey was the President of the Museum’s board when the people of San Francisco pulled their funding. She didn’t take the loss lying down and managed to privately raise over 200 million dollars.

The new de Young Museum is built by a Swiss Architectural firm, Herzog and de Meuron. Their design created a building that would negotiate with its surroundings and the history of the museum itself. The firm decided to use copper to line the facade. The cool thing about that is that over time the copper will oxidize and turn green causing the de Young Museum to naturally meld into its surroundings. The new Museum opened its doors to the public in 2005.



  1. Lamoureux, Aimee. “The Widest Tree On Earth Is So Immense That Tourists Walk Around Inside It [VIDEO].” All That's Interesting. All That's Interesting, July 19, 2018.
  2. Perez, Adelyn. “M.H. de Young Museum / Herzog & De Meuron.” ArchDaily. ArchDaily, June 30, 2010.
  3. “History of the de Young Museum.” de Young, September 25, 2018.
  4. “Casualties and Damage after the 1906 Earthquake.” U.S. Geological Survey, n.d.
  5. Whiting, Sam. “The de Young at 10: How a Crumbling Museum Became a Masterpiece.” SFGate. San Francisco Chronicle, October 9, 2015.
  6. “de Young Memorial Museum, USA.” Copperconcept, June 13, 2017.
  7. Brechin, Gray (2006). Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin. University of California Press.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about De Young Museum

The M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, commonly referred to as the de Young, is a fine arts museum located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, and one of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco along with the Legion of Honor. The de Young is named for early San Francisco newspaperman M. H. de Young. Since Nov 1, 2018, Thomas P. Campbell serves as the Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, overseeing the de Young and Legion of Honor museums.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about De Young Museum.