The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art houses a permanent collection of over 15,000 works, including 4,700 paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and 9,000 photographs. Originally opened in 1995, the museum has exhibited the works of Henri Matisse, Richard Diebenkorn, Dorothea Lange, Paul Klee, Cindy Sherman, Matthew Barney and many contemporary artists. Designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta, the space itself is a wonder to behold. After a major renovation completed in 2016, the SFMOMA now boasts seven floors of art along with exciting new features including a living wall, sculpture garden and impressive views of Yerba Buena Gardens.
Located in Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Sciences is one of the greenest buildings in the city and has a platinum certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The museum features the newly renovated and expanded Steinhart Aquarium, complete with a hands-on tide pool and the well-known alligator swamp. Other exciting features are the Morrison Planetarium, the four-story rain-forest dome, and the Hall of African Mammals. In addition to these educational gems, the museum features other natural history exhibits as well as exhibits about global warming. The Academy Cafe offers international cuisine, while the elegant Moss Room restaurant is the only dining option available in the park past museum closing time.
Acting as a major cultural destination since 1895, the De Young Museum reopened in October 2005 in a facility designed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron and Fong & Chan Architects in San Francisco. The building is magnificent and from the observation tower you can get a great view of the park. It is open, airy and massive. It also has a perforated and embossed copper facade which goes very well with the greenery around the museum. The museum houses the world-renowned American Painting and Sculpture collection, dating from the 17th to the 20th Centuries. Primitive Art is highly represented with extraordinary pieces of Native American Art (from the ancient Teotihuacan City), African Art (statues and potteries) and Oceanic Art (shields, dance dress and masks). Admission is free the first Tuesday of each month.
Get a little history of the wild wild west Wells Fargo-style, and check out the great collection of Gold Rush memorabilia at the Wells Fargo History Museum. The artifacts illustrate the impact of Wells Fargo in the development of the American West. You can view an original Concord stagecoach, strong boxes, gold nuggets, and mining tools, as well as century old photographs and documents of days gone past. The bookstore offers an excellent selection of books about the history of the area and of Wells Fargo.
The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco is the biggest public arts establishment in the city with nearly 150,000 artifacts and art pieces in the permanent repository of the museum. The museum comprises two individual museums – the Legion of Honor Art Museum housed in a French neoclassical building, which offers in-depth knowledge on historical, political and social art movements of human history that dates back to 4,000 years, and the de Young Museum that features collections and artifacts depicting the legacy of American Art, African Art and Oceanic Art.