A Free Lecture Series on the

Past, Present and Future of Treasure Island

Presented by the Treasure Island Museum


Next lecture:  
Building the Panama Pacific International Exposition

Saturday, April 25, 2015, 10:30 am, Bullding One, Treasure Island

Join historian Laura Ackley for the dramatic story of how the gorgeous palaces of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition were designed and constructed in just a few short months between 1912 and 1915.more ...


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Spring series - The World Comes to San Francisco: The International Expositions of 1894, 1915, and 1939

"Little Island - Big Ideas" continues:

The lecture series is presented on Treasure Island, in historic Building One (except as noted), on a Saturday at 10:30 am.

Register for the series to be notified as lectures are scheduled.

Treasure Island is easily accessible by bus or car.  Free parking in front of Building One, the large semicircular building on the right just inside the main gate.

"Little Island - Big Ideas" is presented by the Treasure Island Museum Association with support from the Treasure Island Development Authority and The Winery - SF on Treasure Island.

Spring series - The World Comes to San Francisco: The International Expositions of 1894, 1915, and 1939

March 21 California’s Midwinter Fair and Its Legacies to San Francisco and to History

The first, smallest, and least remembered of San Francisco’s three world’s fairs, the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894 was conceived, designed, constructed, and filled with the greatest artistic and industrial treasures of its time in five months. 

Historian Ed Herny is an archivist and author.. 

April 25 Building the Panama Pacific International Exposition

Join historian Laura Ackley for the dramatic story of how the gorgeous palaces of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition were designed and constructed in just a few short months between 1912 and 1915. Ackley will also describe how exhibits were selected, how the fair was promoted and the ways in which the outbreak of World War I affected the exposition. Progress photographs of construction will culminate in the grand opening day parade and festivities. The lecture will be illustrated with dramatic and often rare images of the exposition’s creation, including panoramas, souvenirs, lantern slides and postcards. To be held in the Casa de la Vista. 

Laura Ackley holds graduate degrees in architecture from Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley. Her book, San Francisco’s Jewel City: The Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915, was published last year. 

May 23 Pacific Peace, Pacific War: Treasure Island and the Golden Gate International Exposition

The Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939-1940 was San Francisco’s last great public celebration prior to America’s entry into World War II. The theme of this “Pageant of the Pacific” was “Pacific Unity.” How did the deepening international crisis affect the fair, particularly America’s ongoing race with Japan to conquer the Pacific? Did Treasure Island itself play a part in this race? This presentation will focus on Treasure Island in its historical context, but also explore the fun and beauty of the fair, particularly its “Pacific” theme. 

Anne Schnoebelen is a writer, speaker, and noted preservationist. She is on the board of directors of the Treasure Island Museum and its program chair. She has a master’s degree in English from Brown University. 

June 27 Alcatraz Island: Sustainability Pioneer

As Treasure Island’s sustainable redevelopment nears, find out what it takes to bring green technology to a prison power plant constructed back when TI was still a shoal beneath the Bay. Hybrid cars are common, but have you seen a hybrid ferry? Find out how these and other renewable energy projects throughout the Golden Gate National Recreation Area were planned and installed, and how they’re performing. 

Laura Castellini is the Sustainability Coordinator at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, where she has worked on renewable energy, recycling, and energy and water conservation projects since 2005. Laura is a Bay Area native with a master’s degree in Marine Biology from San Francisco State University. 

July 25 With Two Feet on the Ground: Labor and the Building of Treasure Island 

How to build an island in San Francisco Bay in the 1930s? Explore the matrix of laborers and unions, tasks, equipment, technologies, sponsoring agencies and corporate enterprises, and come to understand the challenges and achievements of labor in realizing this visionary project.

David Duckworth is a San Francisco-based cultural historian who has been documenting 20th century American culture through the art, artifacts and expressions of its age. Mr. Duckworth presented at the Treasure Island Museum on June 21, 2014 with the topic, Gay America: Transformed by World War II. This lecture coincides with LaborFest’s twenty-first year of presenting programs on labor and culture. For further information, visit and

Sept. 26    Treasure Island: Creating a Livable Future

Learn how Treasure Island’s acclaimed redevelopment plan, built on a historic foundation of innovation and forward-thinking vision, will be a global model for sustainability in a new century.  As construction is about to begin on the latest reinvention of Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands, examine what it means to live in a climate changed world and how this project can help light a path toward a thriving and sustainable future.

Tom Schueneman is the founder of and a freelance environmental writer and journalist.  He participated in an Earthwatch expedition researching permafrost in the Canadian Arctic and covered European climate issues including the 2008 COP15 Climate Conference in Copenhagen.

Dates and times are subject to change. To keep informed, please register

Please register for the lecture series.  It's optional, but will help us plan for enough seating and let you know about additional lectures and last minute changes.

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Page last changed April 21, 2015