Welcoming the visitors in front of the Mint was a vintage 1929 Mack hook and ladder fire truck manned by the San Francisco Fire Department Museum. Inside the building, history came alive with “mini-museums” presented by each association through artifacts, photographs, books, videos, mementos, live performances and people sharing their individual stories. “I was transported back in time,” said one born-in-San Francisco enthusiast as he immersed himself in the lore of North Beach, Telegraph Hill, Bernal Heights, the Huntington Mansion, the Cliff House and, of course, the Great 1906 Earthquake.
The hallways were lined with paintings depicting historic moments frozen in time. In one room, historical films were streaming; in another, people could scan their old photographs and record personal stories: riding the cable cars for a nickel--all day! roller-skating backwards down steep hills, making raviolis and focaccia in family kitchens, dancing to big band music, and boarding houses filled with young men and women seeking independent careers.
“The main goal of the History Expo was to bring together the many diverse, historical associations in San Francisco for an event at the Mint where they could showcase their offerings to a much broader public,” says Kurt Nystrom, SFMHS COO. “We more than succeeded with this goal. We also managed to connect these organizations in a much stronger way while building more awareness of the Mint building itself.”