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Recent Acquisitions

Friday, April 19, 2013

Recent Acquisitions: Galton Pinball Machine Just Another Victory for the Game

Posted By on Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 9:00 AM

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Cultural institutions in San Francisco continually search for new acquisitions. Alexis Coe brings you the most important, often wondrous, sometimes bizarre, and occasionally downright vexing finds every other Friday.

If you haven't been to the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda, here's another reason: founder Michael Schiess has built a pinball machine based on the "bean machine."

Inventor Sir Francis Galton used it to demonstrates the central limit theorem. The machine has a vertical board with interleaved rows of pins, and balls are dropped from the top. They bounce left and right, and eventually, they are collected into the bins at the bottom, which demonstrates that the normal distribution is approximate to the binomial distribution.

If that last sentence was hard to fully comprehend on paper, you're not alone. Schiess uses the machine make math easier to understand, not to mention more exciting. for local school children.

You recently built a Galton Board Pinball Machine. You took inspiration from Galton, but designed it yourself. Did you have any help?

It was built by brother Christian Schiess and myself in our shop.

See also: Commuter's Crying Towel for Marin Residents

New Photograms Speak to History of Bayview-Hunter's Point

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Read Local: Stilwell's Dog Training Book Fails to Distinguish Itself

Posted By on Thu, Apr 4, 2013 at 9:01 AM

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My tale is not an unfamiliar one: For my entire life, I longed for a dog to call my own. In 2009, after 27 years of dog fever, I finally brought home my very own 4-month-old puppy. Within the first hour, a six-pound ball of fluff stole my heart -- and shat on my floor.

See also:

UC Press Highlights North Africa's Cultural Achievements

The San Francisco Center for the Book

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Recent Acquisitions: Commuter's Crying Towel for Marin Residents

Posted By on Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 10:28 AM

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Cultural institutions in San Francisco continually search for new acquisitions. Alexis Coe brings you the most important, often wondrous, sometimes bizarre, and occasionally downright vexing finds every other Friday.

"I love Marin, but there's no public transportation," said almost everyone in San Francisco at some point. Cry me a river, right? Or, more specifically, accept this "Commuter's Crying Towel." This figurative towel was issued to passengers on the last very last run of the electric train service in Marin. On February 28, 1941, the automobile, expansion of Highway 101, and the Golden Gate Bridge rendered the inter-urban trains in Marin obsolete.

"Issued as an ephemeral souvenir, it now represents the end of an era where journey by train for work or pleasure was commonplace," explained Carol Acquaviva, a librarian in the Anne T. Kent California Room of the Marin County Free Library. "Gone are not only the trains, but the lifestyle of train travel that was once commonplace in Marin."

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Recent Acquisitions: New Photograms Speak to the History of Bayview-Hunter's Point

Posted By on Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 10:57 AM

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Cultural institutions in San Francisco continually search for new acquisitions. Alexis Coe brings you the most important, often wondrous, sometimes bizarre, and occasionally downright vexing finds every other Friday.

Ron Moultrie Saunders moved to Bayview-Hunter's Point 28 years ago, but he had never been to the local library until the community began holding meetings about upcoming renovations. Just a few years later, he not only frequents the Bayview Branch Library, but his art hangs in two locations.

In 2009, the San Francisco Arts Commission asked artists to contribute submissions for consideration. Of the three who made it to the final round, Saunders was the only resident of San Francisco. When the SFAC formally commissioned his work for the library, he promised to deliver a series of photograms that spoke to the physical location of Bayview-Hunter's point.

See also: Gay Icon, Performer, and "Empress" José Sarria

Exploratorium Film Seeks to Capture the Rhythm and Drama of the Embarcadero

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Recent Acquisitions: Gay Icon, Performer, and "Empress" José Sarria

Posted By on Fri, Mar 1, 2013 at 7:30 AM

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Cultural institutions in San Francisco continually search for new acquisitions. Alexis Coe brings you the most important, often wondrous, sometimes bizarre, and occasionally downright vexing finds every other Friday.

San Francisco native José Sarria is a celebrated performer, advocate, and was the first known openly gay person to campaign for elected office in 1961. When the 90-year-old Sarria began to seriously consider the fate of his personal archives, it was no easy task. The Smithsonian expressed interest, but only wanted his correspondence, and Sarria knew that the public and researchers would best benefit from a complete collection at one institution.

See Also: John Steinbeck's Cold War Armenian Legacy
Exploratorium Film Seeks to Capture the Rhythm and Drama of the Embarcadero

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Recent Acquisitions: Exploratorium Film Seeks to Capture the Rhythm and Drama of the Embarcadero

Posted By on Fri, Feb 15, 2013 at 9:30 AM

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Cultural institutions in San Francisco continually search for new acquisitions. Alexis Coe brings you the most important, often wondrous, sometimes bizarre, and occasionally downright vexing finds every other Friday.

When Liz Keim started the Cinema Arts program at the Exploratorium in 1982, she was one of the earliest adopters of interactive public programming in the Bay Area. Keim knew that films by scientists and artists exploring observation, poetry, and surrealism would enrich visitors' experiences. Today, she heads up a small team which ensures the Film Collection, a composite of 16mm film and digital work, is not only shown in the museum, but in major metropolitan cities across the globe, including Singapore.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Recent Acquisitions: Antique Vibrators Cure Tuberculosis and Make Your Boobs Bigger

Posted By on Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 7:30 AM

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Cultural institutions in San Francisco continually search for new acquisitions. Alexis Coe brings you the most important, often wondrous, sometimes bizarre, and occasionally downright vexing finds every other Friday.

Good Vibrations is a chain store best-known for being a purveyor of sex toys, but few realize that the Polk Street location is home to their Antique Vibrator Museum. Curator Carol Queen is always adding to the collection, including the most recent addition: A 1914 booklet from the Arnold Massage Vibrator Company. I e-mailed with Queen about about the 64-page booklet.

See Also: John Steinbeck's Cold War Armenian Legacy
Batman Illustrator Donates Rare Comics to the Cartoon Art Museum

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Recent Acquisitions: John Steinbeck's Cold War Armenian Legacy

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 12:30 PM

John Steinbeck
  • John Steinbeck

Cultural institutions in San Francisco continually search for new acquisitions. Alexis Coe brings you the most important, often wondrous, sometimes bizarre, and occasionally downright vexing finds every Friday.

The Saryan Museum in Yerevan, Armenia, is a rather unusual place to find a portrait of the American writer John Steinbeck. The Pulitzer Prize winner's reluctance to sit for such paintings was well-known, and yet there it is, an unmistakable likeness found in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia, painted by Martiros Saryan, the nation's most famous and revered artist.

See also:

Batman Illustrator Donates Rare Comic Books to the Cartoon Art Museum

New Exhibition Forever Alters Chinese Culture Foundation

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Recent Acquisitions: Batman Illustrator Donates Rare Comics to the Cartoon Art Museum

Posted By on Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 7:30 AM

Pogo by Walt Kelly
  • Pogo by Walt Kelly

Cultural institutions in San Francisco continually search for new acquisitions. Alexis Coe brings you the most important, often wondrous, sometimes bizarre, and occasionally downright vexing finds every Friday.

Four months before Jerry Robinson died in 2011, curator Andrew Farago presented the comic book artist, who created Batman characters the Joker and Robin, with the Cartoon Art Museum's lifetime achievement award at the San Diego Comic-Con International.

See also:

Recent Acquisitions: New Exhibition Forever Alters the Chinese Culture Foundation

Recent Acquisitions: Museum Pays Homage to Women Bookbinders

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Recent Acquisitions: New Exhibition Forever Alters the Chinese Culture Foundation

Posted By on Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 9:30 AM

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Cultural institutions in San Francisco continually search for new acquisitions. Alexis Coe brings you the most important, often wondrous, sometimes bizarre, and occasionally downright vexing finds every Friday.

Are you a fan of Recent Acquisitions? Celebrate the series' one year anniversary with a panel discussion at the Commonwealth Club of California on Jan. 24.

Beili Liu's Found will forever alter the Chinese Culture Foundation: The acquisition of 6 frames by the Austin-based artist is the first piece in the permanent collection.

Curator Abby Chen had been interested in acquiring a piece by Liu since 2008, when Lure, an installation, made its stateside debut at the gallery. Found relates to Lure, which the Chinese Cultural Foundation would also like to see in the archives, but the process of procuring donations and purchasing works is a necessarily slow and discerning process.

See also:

Crepe Paper Dresses and Prohibition Raids in Richmond

Top 10 Fascinating Museum Acquisitions of 2012

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