Touring the Old Mint

Chris Lutjen takes a tour of the San Francisco Old Mint. Building opened for tours certain dates and times until the end of this month.

An Old Wall Safe
An Old Wall Safe. Photo by Chris Lutjen

Recently, Garavaglia Architecture’s Chris Lutjen participated in a tour of the Old Mint. Organized by the Heritage Young Preservationists, the Associate Curator led a tour of the building on 5th and Mission a couple of days ago.

Built in 1868, and left almost completely intact after the earthquake in 1906,it  benefited from an experimental practice of the time a floating foundation, all metal trim and heat absorbing masonry walls.  The building became not only one of the few institutions with money (because it was in coins) but was an outpost for refugees in the aftermath of the disaster to apply for funds and receive fresh water from the cisterns in the courtyard.  The office renovation from the 1970’s has recently been completely torn out.  The main hall and rooms were renovated at that time and are apparent in the current state.  It is intended to completely renovate the building and open as a history museum.

Interior Details in the Old Mint
Interior Details in the Old Mint. Photo by Chris Lutjen

The building will be open for the event Backstage Pass: A Sweeping History of Rock ’n Roll on these days in July.  There is a $10 admission fee.

The hours are:

Thursday 7/16: 5p.m. to 9p.m.
Friday 7/17-Sunday 7/19: Noon to 5p.m.

Southwest Museum in the News

Los Angeles’ oldest museum, the Southwest Museum, was recently a topic of a public meeting and received much press.

Vision for the Museum by Garavaglia Architecture
Vision for the Museum by Garavaglia Architecture

The  Southwest Museum in Los Angeles has been in the press as a public meeting was held regarding the expansion of the Autry National Center of the American West in Griffith Park early July.  Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the Southwest Museum is the oldest museum in the City. Garavaglia Architecture developed a preservation plan for the Friends of the Southwest Museum in 2007. It has been listed as a preservation issue by the Los Angeles Conservancy for quite some time. City Councilman Huizar is now recommending the Autry to sign a legal binding document to preserve the Southwest Museum building as well as its collection. Read more on the status of this project:

Huizar’s ‘Surprise’ Southwest Museum Proposal Draws Praise,EGP News, by Paul Aranda Jr.

Southwest Museum pulls itself up by its bootstraps,” Los Angeles Times, Art Section, Suzanne Muchnic, July 5, 2009.

Autry, Southwest Museum fued has echoes of a western duel,” Los Angeles Times, California Local Section, by Bob Pool, July 2, 2009

“Saving the Southwest Museum,”