Skip to Main Content

Mechanics' Institute 170th Anniversary Open House

Date and Time for this Past Event


visit website


Founded in 1854, Mechanics' Institute is celebrating its 170th anniversary with an all day activation of our historic library, events space, and chess room. Members and non-members are welcome to explore this literary jewel of downtown San Francisco through building tours, scavenger hunts, and library pop-ups throughout the day. Special events include a family story hour, discussions with the leading voices of the Bay Area on the past, present, and future of San Francisco, and a Bastille Day jazz concert with Le Jazz Hot Quartet. The full open house schedule is available below.

Attendees are welcome to register for any and all of the events listed below. Please use individual ticket options to register for the events you would like to attend. While we always welcome same-day and drop-in attendance, only tickets purchased prior to each event will guarantee admission. Mechanics' Institute members receive discounted tickets for all Open House events!

Open House Schedule

12:00 pm: Chess Simul with Grandmaster Sam Shankland

12:00 pm to 3:00 pm: Family Book Fair in the Third Floor Library

1:00 pm: Therese Poletti - The Building (and Re-Building) of San Francisco

2:00 pm: Building Tour

3:00 pm: Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown Jr. and John King on the Past, Present, and Future of San Francisco

4:00 pm: Introductory Chess Lesson

5:00 pm: Happy Hour

6:00 pm: Bastille Day Jazz Concert with Le Jazz Hot Quartet

About Mechanics' Institute

Founded in 1854, the Mechanics’ Institute is one of the oldest institutions on the West Coast of the United States. Its mission is to provide a center for intellectual and cultural advancement. Located in the financial district of San Francisco, it serves individuals and families throughout the Bay Area offering a vibrant library with full-time professional staff, expert instruction and competition in chess, and a full calendar of engaging cultural events, programs, and classes. Anyone can join the Institute for a small annual fee. Many of its activities and services for members are also open to non-members.