San Francisco Approves New Home for Mexican Museum

Rendering of San Francisco's new Mexican Museum. Photo: Handel Architects.

San Francisco’s Mexican Museum will have a new 54,000-square-foot home in Yerba Buena, thanks to the unanimous approval of the city’s board of supervisors, granted this week. As reported by the local CBS affiliate, construction will begin in July, with a projected 2018 completion date.

Currently housed in a much smaller facility at the Fort Mason Center, the new Mexican Museum will be home to 18,000 Latino artworks and artifacts from across the Americas, as well as a restaurant, museum store, and education center. The museum website includes two projected milestones for the institution: the inaugural exhibition in 2018, titled “Mexicanidad,” and record-breaking attendance and public engagement for the year following the opening (artnet News is not entirely convinced that a hope can be considered a “projected milestone”).

The city has granted the institution a 66-year lease, with an optional 33-year extension. The project, from Handel Architects, is expected to cost $18–22 million, and will be entirely funded by developer Millennium Partners.

In its new home, the Mexican Museum will count such institutions as the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the Museum of African Diaspora, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), currently undergoing a major expansion of its own (see Final Beams in Place at SFMOMA’s New Building and SFMOMA Nearing $610 Million Fundraising Goalk), as neighbors. The area, more specifically SoMa, short for “South of Market” has become a major cultural hub since SFMOMA opened its doors there in 1995.

The Mexican Museum was founded in 1975, and has been an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute since 2011. The museum recently appointed Cayetana S. Gomez, the fundraising and public relations head of the Museo de Memoria y Tolerancia in Mexico City, as its president (see Weekly Shuffle: Pulitzer, MOCA, and Harvard Art Museums).

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