The San Francisco Maritime Museum is an art moderne structure just west of Fisherman’s Wharf at the edge of the San Francisco Bay. Built to resemble an ocean liner complete with portholes and decks, the Maritime Museum was originally the main building of the San Francisco Aquatic Park, a W.P.A. project of the 1930s. The structure was planned to include a bath house, emergency hospital, banquet rooms, sun rooms, and a lounge. After housing troops during and after World War II, the Park became a museum, senior center, and event space.
The building was constructed with reinforced concrete. The interior and exterior are embellished with nautical architectural elements and metalwork and a multitude of W.P.A. works, including painted and three-dimensional murals, mosaics, and terrazzo floors. A slate bas relief adorns the main façade and includes a curved projecting canopy protecting the entrance. ARG Conservation Services has performed several projects at the Museum during its multi-year rehabilitation project, including surveying and cleaning the bas relief. Conservators removed general soiling and incised graffiti, replaced mortar, improved the visual integration of discolored areas, and cleaned debris from the internally-lit canopy soffit of blue and green glass panels.
Images © David Wakely