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  • Palace of Fine ArtsPalace of Fine Arts San Francisco, California
    The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California, is found in the Marina District and was originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, and designed by Bernard Maybeck; who was inspired by the architecture of Greece and Rome. Ulric Ellerhusen made the allegorical figures and the sculptured frieze that represents Meditation, Contemplation and Wonderment. It is one of three buildings from the exposition that wasn't demolished, and includes the Japanese Tea House and Billy Graham Civic Auditorium. It was thoroughly restored in the 1960s to preserve its wonderful architecture and now houses the Exploratorium, which is a state-of-the-art interactive science museum. The area is considered to be an excellent place for weddings to be held, and was given another renovation in 2009, with a seismic retrofit, and lagoon likened to those found in Europe that would give a mirror image of the buildings surrounding it. There are Australian eucalyptus trees lining the east shores and numerous wildlife have made it their homes; including frogs, turtles, swans, geese, raccoons and ducks. The dome of the palace and lagoon next door have been used in many films that include; Vertigo, the Room, Time after Time, Twisted, Jagged, Edge, the Rock, the Bachelor, Kuffs and So I Married an Axe Murderer. In the television shows; Monk, Journeyman, the Streets of San Francisco and Nash Bridges. It has even been shown in video games like Sim City 2000, Sim City 4 and Sim City 3000 Unlimited.  The Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915 was to become a special event that would be devoted to progress, which included the Panama Canal's finish and the restoration of the city after its terrible disaster of 1906, the huge earthquake. The palace building would be the final one built, composed of wood and "staff", a mixture of plaster and a type of burlap fiber; and would be the biggest building that ever made of the materials, since the entire complex would only last a year and then be easily collapsed. However, a movement started in October of 1915, which was called Fine Arts Preservation Day and thousands of people and hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised to preserve the magnificently designed structure. After the exposition area was burned, only the palace was left standing, which would then be cared for by the San Francisco Art Association, and it became part of the city park's system after WWI. Federal monies were used to restore some of the damaged areas and decorations, then, in 1934, the Parks and Recreation Department put in 18 lighted tennis courts that would be there until 1942, and then the palace would be used by the army for their motor pool; which would be returned to the parks department in 1947. After that period, the building would slowly crumble from the hardships of weather and ill-use; and then fenced off because it had become a hazardous area to the public. In the late 1950s, a organization of devoted citizens, headed by philanthropist Walter S. Johnson, that began a drive to save the palace from a planned demolition and restorate it to its former glory. Work started in 1964, and finished in 1967, with the colonnades being added in 1975. It houses the Exploratium and Palace of Fine Arts.

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  • Walt Disney Family MuseumWalt Disney Family Museum San Francisco, California
    The Walt Disney Family Museum showcases the life and legacy of Walt Disney and can be found in the Presidio of San Francisco, California; which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in the city. It has been retrofitted and enlarged three times by adding three buildings in the presidio's main post area. The main building faces the parade ground and opened in 2009. The museum is owned and operated by the Walt Disney Foundation that was started by the Disney heirs, that includes Diane Marie Disney, co-founder of the museum, and is not part of the Walt Disney Company. There are ten galleries that make up the museum, with the first one talking about the beginnings of the Disney era. It tells of Walt's young life with his family and their moving about, although Walt did develop his love of drawing and dream of becoming a cartoonist. He started an early animated cartoon film company, which failed, and then he headed to California to try his luck in Hollywood. The second gallery is about Walt's experiences when he arrived in Hollywood and began looking for work. It was during this period that his best friend would materialize, Mickey Mouse. Then, the third gallery, enters into the lucrative 1930s, and the gallery is named the new horizons in the 1930s. In the fourth gallery, named the move to features: snow white and the seven dwarfs, says it all. The next gallery was named we were in a new business, and was about the marvelous success of snow white and the seven dwarfs, which was a new venue, which featured full length movie about cartoons. The next gallery is entitled the toughest period in my whole life, since it involved the second World War and all the impossibilities that were faced and finally overcome. The seventh gallery is called postwar production and from this period came the next hit, Cinderella. Next is Walt and the natural world, then the 1950s and 1960s: the big screen and beyond with an entrance into television and the opening of Disneyland. The finally gallery is simply called, December 15, 1966; which is the day that Walt Disney passed on. You will see and learn everything you ever wanted to know about Walt, his family and early days of hardship that he overcame and lived to lead a magical wonderful life.

January 11, 2011