Back to All Events

Tenderloin Historic Ephemera Project Closing Reception

Join us on March 28th 6-9pm to celebrate the magic that is ephemera with our closing of the Tenderloin Historic Ephemera Project! This event is your last chance to see our temporary ephemera exhibit and the matchbook art exhibition, Close Cover Before Striking: Alexander von Wolff. Artist von Wolff and ephemera collector and enthusiast, Glenn Koch, will be on hand to happily discuss their work and research.

As we bid adieu to the ephemera project, we invite neighboring institutions and individuals to showcase their own ephemera collections for this one night only closing event. Bring your own ephemera from San Francisco's past, especially the Tenderloin! We are so excited to explore the neighborhood’s collective memory as told through your mementos.

Email to let us know what you plan to bring (we're welcoming any ephemera from San Francisco, Tenderloin preferred). These small, seemingly ordinary objects beautifully encapsulate the city and the neighborhood's colorful, vibrant past. Join us and travel back in time through the neighborhood's material culture.

This event is part of The Match Book: Tenderloin Historical Ephemera Project a multi-faceted project that encompasses the publication of The Match Book: Vintage Matchbooks from San Francisco’s Tenderloin, an artfully designed history book of the Tenderloin featuring the matchbooks of local businesses and cultural institutions; the Tenderloin Ephemera Exhibition, featuring historical Tenderloin ephemera from the 1920’s-1950’s, including bar signs, glassware, postcards, menus, matchbooks et al.; the first addition to the Tenderloin Museum’s permanent exhibit, The Matchbook Map Exhibit, featuring a searchable, interactive touchscreen map that connects matchbook imagery to historical info on the associated business and address.

Through the everyday act of picking up a matchbook and striking a match, one is transported to another place and time; the past is remembered through a pedestrian interaction with a tangible object. Matchbooks are emblems of local culture: accessible, utilitarian ephemera that functioned as the chosen form of advertising for small businesses in an era before plastic lighters and health concerns about smoking. These ritual objects exist at a fascinating intersection of material culture, local history, and design art; matchbooks (and other local business ephemera) are striking populist artifacts that serve as portals to places and people in a neighborhood’s past. The Match Book: Tenderloin Historical Ephemera Project presents an illuminating new perspective on the Tenderloin’s often overlooked history, enriches the detail and depth of the neighborhood’s narrative, and encourages the Tenderloin community’s historical imagination.

RSVP on Facebook here

Earlier Event: March 21
Tenderloin Cocktail Culture