A Day at the Museum: San Francisco’s Legion of Honor

Meg has a J.D. in Urban, Land Use and Environmental Law. She focuses on maintaining the balance of community and environmental health, healthy lifestyles, and encouraging sustainable living.

San Francisco is full of art and culture. Most of our recent visits into the city have been to see the touristy-type attractions. Pier 39. Ghirardelli. Coit Tower. For our visit this past Saturday with Aunt Carol and Uncle John, we opted for the arts. As our Christmas present from them, the four of us planned a day in the city to visit several museums and have a delicious dinner. Our first stop? The Legion of Honor.

The Legion of Honor is one of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. It is located in SF’s Lincoln Park overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was built as a gift from Alma de Bretteville Spreckels in the 1920s to commemorate the Californian soldiers who lost their lives fighting in France in World War I. The collection of fine art inside the museum is beautiful, and the architecture of the structure itself is equally magnificent.

As we walked around the inside of the museum, I couldn’t help but think how much it reminded me of the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City. The architecture is very similar, and both have Rodin’s Thinker! The collections ranged from impressionist paintings to Annie Leibovitz’s photography to ancient Roman sculptures. These were a few of my favorites.

My favorite piece of art in the whole museum is a ceiling in one of the exhibit rooms. The detail is incredible. The ceiling was carved from wood in Spain in the late 1400s-early 1500s during the Moorish occupation. It is one of four removed from the original setting in the Palacio de Altimira in Toledo, in the Torrijos region in Spain.

It was a beautiful day at the museum. With our busy lives, it is nice to be reminded of all the beautiful things to see around us. I believe the arts to be an important factor in maintaining the balance in society. It is hard to argue with the importance of the arts, especially when we see such beauty through the eyes of the artists, enlightening us about their fascinating perspectives on the world. In a lot of ways, it helps us look at the world through new eyes, learn how to see something from someone else’s perspective, and have a little more appreciation for our own world.

Once we left the Legion of Honor, heavy in thought, we made our way over to Golden Gate Park to see the de Young museum. But I will save that exciting experience for next time.

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