Randall Museum

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Randall Museum
Established 1937 (1937); relocated in 1951
Location San Francisco, California, US
Type Science, art, crafts, and natural history
Director Chris Boettcher
Website http://www.randallmuseum.org/
Randall Museum
View of downtown San Francisco from the Randall Museum

The Randall Museum is a museum in San Francisco, California (at 199 Museum Way) and is owned and operated by the City's Recreation and Parks Department. It focuses on the arts, crafts, sciences, and natural history. On view are a number of live native and domestic animals and interactive displays. The Museum is located in Corona Heights Park on a large hill between the Castro and Haight districts of San Francisco, with views of the city, downtown financial district and the bay.[1]

The museum charges no admission and offers events, movies, plays, lectures, exhibits, and classes for ages 3–adult, but is geared mostly toward children and educational field trips. Child and adult classes are available in the wood shop and pottery studio. The museum has special topic days, such as Bug Day, Mushroom Day, and Water & Sun Day, during which interested clubs and sponsors participate.

The museum's theater is home to the performances of the Young People's Teen Musical Theatre Company, a Recreation and Parks Department program closely tied to the museum.[2]

The Golden Gate Model Rail Road Club (GGMRC)[3] has been a tenant in the west basement wing since 1961. Children run HO-scale trains around the layout on "Junior Engineer Days," on the third Saturday of every odd month.


Originally named the "Junior Museum", the facility was established in 1937 in an old city jail. In 1947, a $12 million bond was issued for the creation of recreation and park capital projects, one of which included a new museum.[4] In 1951, what is now the Randall Museum opened at its current location with exhibits, a theater, classrooms, arts and crafts shops and studios, a live animal room and gardens overlooking the San Francisco Bay. The museum was formally dedicated by Mayor Elmer Robinson on September 23 of that year.[5] In 2003, the museum dedicated its Outdoor Learning Environment.[6]

The Randall Museum takes its name from Josephine Dows Randall, a Stanford University Master Degree graduate in zoology in 1913. After graduating she traveled to the Midwest and organized one of the first Girl Scout troops in the United States as well as one of the first Camp Fire Girl troops. When she returned to California she become the first Superintendent of Recreation for San Francisco's Recreation Department creating the Junior Museum and bringing national recognition to the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department for its outstanding services between the years 1926 and 1952. During her tenure as the San Francisco Recreation Department Superintendent she secured hundreds of acres of open space for playgrounds and consequently, sports and artistic programming for the children and families of San Francisco.


  1. Yollin, Patricia, "Natural high / Face-lift at Randall Museum shows off panoramic location", San Francisco Chronicle, 23 May 2003.
  2. https://www.randallmuseum.org/community/
  3. "Summer Guide: The Best Obscure Tourist Attractions", SF Weekly, 22 June 2011
  4. "Out of sight: Randall Museum", San Francisco Examiner, 29 October 2006
  5. Caen, Herb, Hills of San Francisco, The Chronicle Publishing Co., 1959.
  6. Yollin, Patricia, "Natural high / Face-lift at Randall Museum shows off panoramic location", San Francisco Chronicle, 23 May 2003.

External links

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