Legion of Honor Museum Reopens to the Public Just in Time for Halloween

Photo by Gary Sexton.

With free admission for essential workers and Free Saturday admission to the public.

SAN FRANCISCO — Following the reopening of the de Young Museum on September 25, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (the “Museums”) today announced the reopening of the Legion of Honor. The museum has been closed since March due to San Francisco’s shelter-in-place order. 

“As the city’s museums, we have been eager to share the multifaceted art collections and exhibitions, with airy galleries, and green park settings of the de Young and Legion of Honor with our Bay Area audiences again,” states Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “After many months of quarantine, we are thrilled to open our doors, and look forward to seeing members of our community engaging with art in our galleries.”

The Legion of Honor is scheduled to open to the public on Friday, October 30. Prior to the museum’s general opening, members will be invited to visit for Member Preview Days on October 28 and 29, in recognition of their continued dedication and support of the Museums.

The suspenseful film and installation Alexandre Singh: A Gothic Tale, which draws inspiration from the nineteenth-century Gothic revival, the Legion of Honor and its collections, and San Francisco’s place in film noir history, has been extended and will be on view over the Halloween weekend through December 6, 2020. Guided by new interpretations of the permanent collections, visitors will be able to journey through the museum’s European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts collections, as well as explore its newly installed gallery of ancient art. 

The Rosekrans exhibition galleries remain closed in preparation for the upcoming special exhibition Last Supper in Pompeii: From the Table to the Grave, set to open at the museum in late 2020. 

The Museums recently announced the upcoming exhibition, WANGECHI MUTU: I Am Speaking, Are You Listening?, a sprawling, site-specific exhibition of new and recently created sculpture, collage, and film by visionary Kenyan American artist Wangechi Mutu. Opening February 6, 2021, the artist will invite visitors into an alternate universe of powerful female characters, hybrid beings, and fantastical landscapes, challenging traditional art histories, mythologies, and conventional techniques of archiving and remembering–starting from the Court of Honor and extending through the entire first floor of the museum. Part of the Museums’ contemporary art program and three years in the making, I Am Speaking, Are You Listening? responds to the permanent collection and neoclassical architecture of the Legion of Honor, a museum built for the presentation of European art history, with its entrance presided over by Auguste Rodin's The Thinker

From the reopening through December 2021, the Museums will offer free general admission for essential workers, who will also receive a substantial discount on tickets to special exhibitions.*

Continuing the popular Free Saturdays program, general admission to the Legion of Honor and de Young museums will be free every Saturday for all residents of the Bay Area. Since the founding of the program, admission costs are underwritten by a generous, dedicated gift from Diane B. Wilsey, Chair Emerita of the Corporation of the Fine Arts Museums (COFAM) board of trustees. The Free Saturdays program was originally launched in Spring 2019, to extend access to the Museums’ collections for all residents of San Francisco. In its first year it expanded to include residents of the entire Bay Area and in total welcomed almost 80,000 visitors. The first day of Free Saturdays at the Legion of Honor will be October 31. 

New Health and Safety Measures
Rigorous measures based on city guidelines will be taken to ensure a safe and healthy environment for visitors and staff. Visitor capacity has been reduced to well below 25 percent, and both general admission and special exhibition tickets will provide access on a timed-entry basis. While the Museums encourage booking tickets online in advance, limited tickets will be available on site for spontaneous visits.* The duration of visits will not be limited and, upon entry, visitors are welcome to explore the Legion of Honor at their leisure.

Physical distancing will be further facilitated through new procedures at admissions and store cashier desks, including plexiglass screens, and the opportunity to use no-touch payments. Face coverings will be required for staff and adult visitors at all times in the buildings, and visitors will be encouraged to follow directional signage. The museum’s coat check and other areas where proper distancing cannot be guaranteed, will remain closed for the time being. The museum’s café will also remain closed at this time. Cleaning routines have been increased, and sanitizing stations are available throughout the museum.

Visits will be self-guided, with further access to exhibition information, artwork information, museum maps, and audio guides via each visitor’s personal device. To encourage curiosity, Discovery Guides to the collections will be made available at the Information Desk.  

More information on health and safety measures implemented, and detailed visitor guidelines can be found at legionofhonor.famsf.org/welcome-back.

On-site public programs have been cancelled until the end of 2020, and a range of programs will instead be available online through the Legion of Honor’s website and social media channels. 

*The free admission and special exhibition discount for essential workers will be redeemable for ticket purchases in person only at the Legion of Honor and de Young. Please find more information at legionofhonor.famsf.org/free-reduced-admission.

Visitor Information
Legion of Honor: Lincoln Park, 100 34th Avenue, San Francisco. More information regarding tickets can be found at legionofhonor.org/visit-us.  

About the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, comprising the de Young museum in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor museum in Lincoln Park, are the largest public arts institution in San Francisco.

The Legion of Honor was inspired by the French pavilion at San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915 and, like that structure, was modeled after the neoclassical Palais de la Légion d’Honneur, in Paris. The museum, designed by George Applegarth, opened in 1924 on a bluff in Lincoln Park overlooking the Golden Gate. It offers unique insight into the art historical, political, and social movements of the previous 4,000 years of human history, with holdings including European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts; ancient art from the Mediterranean basin; and the largest collection of works on paper in the American West.

The de Young originated from the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition in Golden Gate Park and was established as the Memorial Museum in 1895. It was later renamed in honor of Michael H. de Young, who spearheaded its creation. The present copper-clad landmark building, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, opened in 2005. Reflecting an active conversation among cultures, perspectives, and time periods, the collections on view include American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 17th to the 21st centuries; arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; costume and textile arts; and international modern and contemporary art.

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