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To the Legion

Newly renovated and ready for your approval, San Francisco's California Palace of the Legion of Honor museum has reopened after an extensive post-earthquake renovation.

entrance to the San Francisco Palace of the Legion of Honor, image
Photo caption
The elegant entrance to the Palace of the Legion of Honor leads to a collection of world class art.

An old friend has returned after three years—bigger and better than ever.

Its rejuvenated fountain throws a celebratory column of water into the air and, in its courtyard, the Thinker ponders anew. San Francisco's California Palace of the Legion of Honor museum—one of the city's most beloved jewels—has reopened after being expanded, cleaned up, restored and earthquake-proofed.

The city's collections of European art from the Middle Ages through the 20th century fill the museum's 19 ground-level galleries. The works now are displayed in improved settings—galleries are restored to their original configurations; skylights and lighting are improved. And the works themselves are arranged better to complement one another, with vistas from gallery to gallery calculated for greatest impact.

Many works familiar to Legion-goers have returned. Others, like the 15th-century ceiling from the Palacio de Altamira, have been transferred to the Legion from the city's other fine arts museum, the de Young, and displayed to greater advantage. They are joined by more works new to the Legion. And some creations long in storage have returned - among the highest in public (if not critical) esteem probably being Makowski's wall-filler The Russian Bride.

The biggest changes, however, are in the lower level. Gallery space is increased by a complex of new rooms designed for changing exhibitions and display of the museum's huge Achenbach collection of prints and drawings.

Public amenities, too, are much improved. Among them are a spacious new restaurant, a handsome book store and grander restrooms.

Photography courtesy of sailko/Wikimedia Commons

This article was first published in January 1996. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.