Legion of Honor to Reopen with Exhibition on Life in Pompeii and New Sculptures in Court of Honor

Apr 8, 2021

Photograph of ancient ruins; painting of figure surrounded by birds

The Ruins of the Temple of Apollo, Pompeii, Roberto Lo Savio / EyeEm / Getty Images.
Wangechi Mutu, Ox Pecked,​ 2018, Courtesy of the artist and Victoria Miro, London and Venice. 

Free General Admission on Saturdays, and every day for Essential Workers*

SAN FRANCISCO—The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (the “Museums”) are pleased to announce the reopening of the Legion of Honor to the public on May 7. 

“We are delighted to welcome our audiences back to the Legion of Honor with two spectacular exhibitions. Last Supper in Pompeii paints a vivid picture of life in Pompeii before its tragic end, especially in regard to the rituals and art associated with food, wine and feasting” states Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. ”A major exhibition by Wangechi Mutu invites us to reflect on our inherited historical narratives and their conceptions of gender and race, while envisioning an alternate future.”

In recognition of members’ continued dedication and support of the Museums, we invite them to visit for Member Preview Days on May 5, and 6 with advance timed reservation. Press are invited to preview the new special exhibitions on Tuesday, May 4. Kindly RSVP for press hours at press@famsf.org.

Two new special exhibitions will premiere at the museum at its reopening. Last Supper in Pompeii: From the Table to the Grave is the first exhibition to focus on the love of food and drink in the ancient city of Pompeii. Bringing to San Francisco a treasure trove of more than 150 objects, including magnificent Roman sculpture, mosaics, frescoes, precious metals, and more, this spectacular exhibition features many pieces presented in the United States for the very first time. These fascinating works of art stand as evidence to the fact that culinary culture was as central to the Romans, as it is here in the SF Bay Area today.

New, powerful sculptures—seemingly risen from the nearby Pacific Ocean—will greet visitors alongside Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker in the Court of Honor. Created by visionary Kenyan American artist Wangechi Mutu, the exhibition Wangechi Mutu: I Am Speaking, Are You Listening? critiques colonial legacies, societal patriarchal and racist power structures, and dominant narratives in art history. Part of the Museums’ contemporary art program, the exhibition, which features sculpture, collage, and film interspersed through the whole first floor of the museum, provides new perspectives on the permanent collection and neoclassical architecture of the Legion of Honor, a museum built for the presentation of European art.

The Museums’ full 2021 exhibitions program with dates can be found here.

A newly installed gallery presenting magnificent tapestries from the Museums’ collections will be on view. Guided by new interpretations of the permanent collections, visitors will also be able to enjoy the museum’s European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts, and Ancient art collections on view throughout the museum once more.

The Museum Store will be open to visitors at the museum and online. The Legion of Honor Cafe will be open for limited indoor and outdoor dining from May 7.

Tickets to the Legion of Honor will go on sale on April 14. To purchase tickets, please visit legionofhonor.org or contact us per phone at 800.777.9996 (24/7 member support) or 888.901.6645 (24/7 general-public support)

Visitor capacity to the Legion of Honor has been reduced to 25 percent, and the Museums encourage visitors to book tickets online in advance. Both general admission and special-exhibition tickets provide an invitation to access the Legion of Honor on a timed-entry basis.* The duration of visits is not limited, and, upon entry, visitors are welcome to explore the Legion of Honor museum at their leisure.

From the reopening through December 31, 2021, the Museums will offer free general admission for essential workers, who will also receive a $15 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, starting at the Legion of Honor from May 8 (advance reservations recommended). The Free Saturdays program was originally launched in spring 2019, to expand access to the Museums’ collections for all residents of San Francisco. In its first year it grew to include residents of the entire Bay Area and in total welcomed almost 80,000 visitors.

Strict Health and Safety Measures
Rigorous measures based on city guidelines** are being taken to ensure a safe environment for visitors and staff.

Per city regulations, masks are mandatory for guests age 2 and above at all times on museum premises. Cleaning routines have been increased, and sanitizing stations are available throughout the Legion of Honor.

The Coat Check will remain closed for the time being. Visits are self-guided, with further access to exhibition information, artwork information, museum maps, and audio guides available for download in advance to each visitor’s personal mobile device. To encourage curiosity, Discovery Guides to the collections are available at the Information Desk.

More information on the rigorous health and safety measures implemented at the Legion of Honor and de Young museums, plus detailed visitor guidelines, can be found here.

On-site public programs have been canceled through July 2021. A range of programs are available online on the Legion of Honor website, Facebook, as well as on Instagram.

* The free general admission and special-exhibition discount for essential workers is redeemable for ticket purchases in person at the Legion of Honor and de Young museums only. Please find more information here.

** The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Health and Safety Plan outlines the steps the Museums have taken for reopening in accordance with the City and County of San Francisco Guidance and Plan Template for Indoor Museums, Zoos, and Aquariums.

Visitor Information
Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, 100 34th Avenue, San Francisco.
Open Tuesday — Sunday 9:30 — 5:15 pm, starting May 7.

Media Inquiries:
press@famsf.org \ 801.920.8829 or 415.465.3531

About the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco oversee the de Young, located in Golden Gate Park, and the Legion of Honor, in Lincoln Park. It is the largest public arts institution in San Francisco and one of the most visited arts institutions in the United States.

The Legion of Honor 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 ancient art from the Mediterranean basin; European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts; and the largest collection of works on paper in the American West.