Randall Museum

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This article is about the museum. For the film, see Exploratorium (film).
Randall Museum
Established 1937 (1937); relocated in 1951
Location 199 Museum Way
San Francisco, California, US
Type Science, art, crafts, and natural history
Director Chris Boettcher
Website http://www.randallmuseum.org

Randall Museum is a museum in San Francisco, California owned and operated by the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department with the support of the Randall Friends. The museum focuses on science, nature and the arts. On exhibit are live native and domestic animals and interactive displays about nature. Other facilities include a theater, a wood shop, and art and ceramics studios.

The museum is currently under renovations.[1][2] It's permanent location is in Corona Heights Park, on a large hill between the Castro and Haight-Ashbury districts of San Francisco. During renovations, the museum has relocated its live animal exhibit and programs to 745 Treat Ave, between 20th and 21st Street, at the Mission Art Center. The plan is to reopen at 199 Museum Way at the end of January 2017.

The museum features views of the city, downtown financial district and the bay.[3]


View of downtown San Francisco from the Randall Museum

Originally named the "Junior Museum", the facility was established in 1937 in an old city jail on what is now the campus of City College of San Francisco.[4] In 1947, a $12 million bond was issued for the creation of recreation and park capital projects, one of which included a new museum.[5] 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.[6] In 2003, the museum dedicated its Outdoor Learning Environment.[7]


The Randall Museum takes its name from Josephine Dows Randall, a Stanford University master's 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 Girls troops. When she returned to California she became the first Superintendent of Recreation for San Francisco's Recreation Department creating the Junior Museum and bringing national recognition to the San Francisco Recreation & 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.[citation needed]

Overview and features[edit]

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.[8]

The Golden Gate Model Rail Road Club (GGMRC)[9] 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Randall Museum Closed For Renovation, Animals Moving To Mission Art Center". Hoodline. June 10, 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  2. ^ Sam Whitting (May 26, 2015). "Randall Museum in S.F. to close for major remodel". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  3. ^ Yollin, Patricia, "Natural high / Face-lift at Randall Museum shows off panoramic location", San Francisco Chronicle, 23 May 2003.
  4. ^ "Randall Museum". San Francisco Parks Alliance. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  5. ^ "Out of sight: Randall Museum", San Francisco Examiner, 29 October 2006
  6. ^ Caen, Herb, Hills of San Francisco, The Chronicle Publishing Co., 1959.
  7. ^ Yollin, Patricia, "Natural high / Face-lift at Randall Museum shows off panoramic location", San Francisco Chronicle, 23 May 2003.
  8. ^ https://www.randallmuseum.org/community/
  9. ^ "Summer Guide: The Best Obscure Tourist Attractions", SF Weekly, 22 June 2011

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°45′52″N 122°26′17″W / 37.764387°N 122.43813°W / 37.764387; -122.43813