SFO Showcase Extended

Fascinating exhibition at airport museum celebrates design, style of 1950s products
Fridays on the Homefront
Stop by San Francisco International Airport, like the folks above are doing, and enjoy 'The Modern Consumer – 1950s Products and Style,' a gloriously kitschy exhibition in Terminal 3. The showcase has recently been extended through December 15. All photos: courtesy of SFO Museum
Fridays on the Homefront
SFO Museum's 'The Atomic Age' display
Fridays on the Homefront
On exhibit: toy robots from mid-1950s
Fridays on the Homefront
On exhibit: modern drinking pitchers from the 1950s

The modern marvel of jet service into San Francisco has been garnished this summer with a delightful, atomic-age ambiance that will happily extend into fall of this year.

"People seem to really like it," said Daniel Calderon, curator of 'The Modern Consumer – 1950s Products and Style,' a gloriously kitschy exhibition in Terminal 3 of San Francisco International Airport that has recently been extended through December 15.

Calderon, one of four curators of the SFO Museum, says the exhibition was his idea in part because the museum hadn't had anything celebrating the era in recent years. He cited an increase in positive reviews and feedback in the museum's online visitor survey as evidence of its popularity.

"It had been some time since we'd done anything on the '50s," he explained of the exhibition, which began December 2018 and had been scheduled to close next month. It includes 350 items that could be prized objets d'art in any MCM home and are currently showcased in 27 display cases in the post-security area on Level 2 of the terminal.

People can request a tour of the exhibition by emailing [email protected], said the curator, "so you don't have to be flying to New Jersey or anything to see the exhibition."

Two of the airport museum curators work on aviation-themed exhibitions, drawn from its permanent collection of 140,000 items. Calderon has been one of two other curators at the museum since 2015, he said, explaining, "The non-aviation component is reliant on loans from museums and collectors for our exhibits."

The curator said he initially envisioned an exhibition focused entirely on 'atomic' design, but had to expand the concept to "a storyline that made sense" for the considerable size of the exhibit area.

Asked if 'The Modern Consumer' attempts any social commentary on the budding consumerism of the decade, he initially replied, "It's really more about storytelling…We really try to be as objective as possible with these exhibitions."

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