Friday, July 11, 2014

Adventuring // de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

de Young Museum // Exterior
^ Cloudscloudsclouds... and wind. ^
de Young Museum // Visitors' Area
de Young Museum // African Art Exhibit & Face Mask
^ Find the Tommy! ^de Young Museum // Stairway
de Young Museum // Stern Lady
de Young Museum // Bucking Bronco
de Young Museum // Textured Exterior & Contemporary Art Exhibit
^ Those two blank canvases on the right? Yeah, de Young PAID for them. *oy* {Does shaking my head at that make me uncultured? Too bad.} ^
de Young Museum // Fly Fishing
de Young Museum // Children's Books
^ Museums have the best children's books. I mean. Can I have all of them, please? ^de Young Museum // Cafe Area
de Young Museum // Rainbow Valley 
^ That rainbow arching across the valley? Not from the museum lights. Actually painted on the canvas. So impressed. ^de Young Museum // Modern Art & Special Exhibits 
^ More contemporary art on the left there. Sigh. ^
de Young Museum // Greenery

Taking advantage of monthly Free Admission Day to museums in San Francisco.


Who: Tommy & I
Where: de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
When: Tuesday at 11:30 AM

The Place: Across from the California Academy of Sciences with their "Living Roof" and giant rainforest exhibit, there's a large textured, copper building called the de Young Fine Art Museum. 

Inside, there are three floors worth of truly excellent artwork {wait, two and a half. I'm not the biggest fan of contemporary art or the current special exhibits going on right now *sheepish*}. The architecture of the building itself is quite fun to take in as well-- lots of angles and differing textures and materials, which make for nice photos. 

There's a cafe inside the museum, which seems like a nice option for lunch if you don't want to leave Golden Gate Park for food {although, there are food trucks right behind the concourse if that's more your deal}. Along the right side of the museum, near the entry, there's also a small garden exhibit area with a mini path to follow; each section is named things like "Pool of Enchantment" and "Boardwalk of Contemplation."

The Japanese Tea Garden, Botanical Gardens, and Stow Lake are all just a few steps away, so after you've had enough time exploring inside, there are plenty of places to keep on exploring outside.

What We Did: We wandered the entire place. All of it. No artwork left unseen. {Well, except the Modernism exhibit, which required separate admission. And we didn't feel the need to see it that badly}.

Tommy's sense of direction was exceptional that day, so instead of ending up at the Hudson River School area on one end of the museum like he wanted, we got to start with the African and Oceanic art and make our way back towards the Americas. Which ended up working out because we eventually walked through all the collections in numerical/chronological order, instead of beginning at the most recent pieces and working backwards.

After a quick lunch break here, we went back into de Young to see the views from Hamon Observatory Tower, which is always free and open to the public. Definitely worth a stop if you're nearby, but aren't able to spend a lot of time {or money} inside the Academy of Sciences or de Young itself.

Tips: Just so you know...
+ If you're taking public transportation to get here, the 44 line will put you right in front of the Academy of Sciences. Just don't be like us and take the bus the wrong direction for forty-five minutes and have to backtrack another forty-five minutes to our original starting place and then stay on the bus for another forty five minutes to arrive at our intended destination. So. Yeah. *laughs* Be careful.

+ Bags are checked at the door by security when you enter de Young, so no attempting to sneak in something sketchy. Not cool.

+ This is San Francisco. Bring a jacket.

+ It really does help to follow the numbers on the map when you're exploring the museum. One, the artwork makes the most sense that way, and two, you know you haven't missed anything. {On that note, pick up a map at the info desk when you arrive. No one will think any less of you}.

+ Read the descriptions at each new room and also the ones next to the paintings. Time-consuming, yes. Fascinating, also yes. Honestly, you'll get so much more out of your visit if you spend a minute reading the "caption" of each picture. Even if you don't end up remembering most of it, you'll come away with a sense of awe and a better understanding of the times and context in which the paintings were made. {Except in the contemporary art section. Then you'll just walk away with a sense of "Seriously? No."}

+ Museum stores are the coolest. THE BOOKS. THE KIDS' SECTION. THE MISCELLANEOUS THINGS YOU'LL NEVER NEED BUT ARE SO FUN TO LOOK AT. I'd contemplate having a small human if their bookshelf looked half as awesome as the one here. Museum people know how to pick good books for small humans. *nods*

+ Beware of sitting on the faceted benches inside the museum. One wrong move and you'll slide either off the bench or into the middle where you'll never be able to get out without help. *heh*

+ This is not the ideal place to bring small children {no matter what I said about the bookstore}. Several times while we were there, Tommy and I both looked at each other and mentioned how we should have gone somewhere that allows you to touch the exhibits and build things, like the Exploratorium or another kid-friendly museum {google "children's museum" for good options}. Obviously, we're not completely grown-up yet...

Conclusion: I love playing tourist in San Francisco. Because both my parents grew up there, they have a tendency to avoid all the touristy places like the plague, so I've never been to most of the stereotypical San Francisco sights.

Honestly, I'd rather be out and about in the city, so museums aren't my first choice when spending a day in SF. However, if you've got the time, a friend to keep you company, and it just so happens to be free admission day, de Young's not a bad choice at all. I did enjoy walking through all the exhibits and you leave feeling very calm.


de Young Fine Art Museum
Golden Gate Park
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, California 94118

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