Five Weeks in San Francisco…Still Learning

Hi Friends! I’ve been in San Francisco for five weeks now, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it! My research and work here has introduced me to the Pacific West Region in more ways than I ever thought possible.

Officer's Club, Mesa Room

Officer’s Club, Mesa Room

This week through the Discover SF! program I became familiarized with El Presidio de San Francisco and The Presidio Officer’s Club where our group visited exhibits about the history of The Presidio. One of the main exhibits we saw included the Mesa Room, which displays the different layers of building materials in the walls of the building. Each layer represents a significant era in the Presidio’s history, beginning with the adobe construction in the core of the walls that dates to the 1810s. The following layers include the US Post Headquarters of the 1880s, and the Officers’ Club in the 1930’s and 1970’s. It was special to see the students interact and understand our aging landmarks through their texture and materials, by seeing the adobe and wood up close they got to appreciate the architecture of the building on a different level than they would have otherwise.2015-07-01 11.38.14 Next, we made a stop at the archaeology field station just outside of the Officer’s Club. There we observed two archaeologists working to uncover foundations of the original fort that was built under Spanish rule. Another gallery we visited was the special exhibition hall currently showing Operation Babylift: Perspectives and Legacies, a temporary exhibit that tells the extraordinary story of more than 1,500 children brought to the U.S. from Vietnam to be adopted and cared for nearing the end of the Vietnam War. For these children their first U.S. home was the Presidio, they were cared for by volunteers there before being placed with adoptive families. Our group learned about this multi-faceted part of San Francisco’s recent history and repercussions of it through images, artifacts, recordings and reflections of those who were involved. After our visit to the exhibit, we shared our reflections and wrote about our thoughts and feelings on cards that are hung as part of the visitor feedback section of the exhibit.
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Operation Babylift Exhibit Wall

Visiting the Presidio with the youth and leaders of Discover SF! was a moving  experience for me. I was able to experience history not only through my eyes but from the eyes of the students as well. The Presidio is large and has so much to offer its visitors. The Presidio Officer’s Club and the exhibits we experienced are only a portion of all the programming available. I can’t wait to explore more of it and I recommend that everyone visit!

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