Media Applauds Tenderloin Museum

by on September 29, 2015

Since the Tenderloin Museum opened on July 16, the media response has been overwhelmingly positive. Peter Kane from SF Weekly wrote, “the Tenderloin Museum is already making an indelible mark on the neighborhood’s cultural map.” USA Today described the Tenderloin Museum as “a fantastic examination and celebration of all things Tenderloin.” The LA Times wrote that our museum strives “to root residents in a stronger sense of place, show off the history and introduce visitors to people who live and work here now.” We have also been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Sacramento Bee, The New York Times, The Globe & Mail (Canada), and The Economist.

The title of the August 31, 2015 Globe & Mail article, “There’s something remarkable happening in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district,” may surprise Bay Area residents accustomed to hearing negatives about the neighborhood. Adam Scott’s article weaves the Museum into surrounding institutions like Glide Church, Aunt Charlie’s Lounge and the Phoenix Hotel, without ignoring the community’s visible problems.

The Sacramento Bee’s August 29 story, “S.F.’s Tenderloin Museum presents neighborhood in perspective,” reflects a consistent theme of the coverage: rather than try to hide the neighborhood’s problems, the Museum places them in a larger context. Describing the panoramic street scene regularly on display in the Tenderloin, Bee reporter Sam McManis writes, “What’s needed to fully comprehend this teeming street scene, this mingling of the ordinary and the sketchy, is context – historical and sociological perspective explaining such a rich urban milieu. Context, conveniently, can be found at the corner of Eddy and Leavenworth, where the newly opened Tenderloin Museum has got it all covered.”

The Economist’s July 31 article (“Celebrating the Tenderloin”) also offers a very perceptive understanding of an often misunderstood neighborhood: “The Tenderloin—or simply “the TL”, as locals know it—does have its problems with crime and public drug use. But it is one of America’s most ethnically diverse communities, and its mural-adorned residential hotels and increasingly cleaned-up playgrounds are evidence of a community of long-term residents trying to improve their surroundings. “

At a time when people fear San Francisco becoming homogenized, appreciation for the still unique Tenderloin neighborhood should grow.

Visit and Become a Member!

If you have not yet visited the Museum, please do so! And if you enjoy your experience you can spread the word by posting about it on Facebook, Twitter or other social media.

No member of the Board of Supervisors has paid a visit, and School Board member Matt Haney is the only elected official to do so (other than Mayor Lee). Many elected officials have a large group of social media followers and a picture posted of the elected official having a good time at the Museum is a great way to show support (and to bring in business).

Another easy way to show support is to become a Member. Basic membership is only $50 ($35 for low income). Members get year round admission, a free tour, and two event passes. And donations to the Museum are fully tax-deductible.


The Tenderloin Museum has put on many great events, and tonight is a particularly special one. Join three local women artists for an exploration of some of the greatest murals of the Tenderloin neighborhood, with a special focus on the unusually detailed and story-packed mural “Windows into the Tenderloin by Mona Caron, at Jones and Golden Gate.

The evening will comprise of a walking tour, a short film screening, a brief slideshow, and Q&A. Tenderloin artist Lucca Raventinkie will start the evening leading a neighborhood mural tour, which will begin at 6:15 sharp at the Tenderloin Museum, and end at the same place at 7pm.

At 7:15, documentary filmmaker Paige Bierma will present her Emmy award winning short film “A Bush with the Tenderloin” (20 min), aired on KQED’s Truly California, which chronicles the creation of Mona Caron’s “Windows into the Tenderloin.” Caron will present a brief slideshow detailing the artistic and community process that generated the storytelling content of the mural, and tell stories.

All three artists will take questions at an informal conversation afterwards.

$10 (Includes tour and programming, no discount given for late arrival)

RSVP here, Buy tickets here

The Tenderloin Museum is also available to rent for private events.

Finally, while at the museum you can pick up a signed copy of my book, The Tenderloin: Sex, Crime and Resistance in the Heart of San Francisco. Mugs, T-shirts, tote bags and posters about the Tenderloin are also available.

Randy Shaw is Editor of Beyond Chron and a Board Member of Uptown Tenderloin, which operates the Tenderloin Museum


Randy Shaw

Randy Shaw is the Editor of Beyond Chron and the Director of San Francisco’s Tenderloin Housing Clinic, which publishes Beyond Chron. Shaw's latest book is Generation Priced Out: Who Gets to Live in the New Urban America. He is the author of four prior books on activism, including The Activist's Handbook: Winning Social Change in the 21st Century, and Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century. He is also the author of The Tenderloin: Sex, Crime and Resistance in the Heart of San Francisco

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