SFO Showcase Extended - Page 2

Fascinating exhibition at airport museum celebrates design, style of 1950s products
Fridays on the Homefront
SFO Museum's '45-RPM and Rock 'n' Roll' display
Fridays on the Homefront
On exhibit: Roy Rogers and Howdy Doody lunch boxes from
1954
Fridays on the Homefront
On exhibit: vintage 1950s Land cameras from Polaroid
Fridays on the Homefront
SFO Museum's 'Mid-Century Modern Design' display

He conceded, however, that some displays illustrate a new culture that survives today: to "give people more choices than they need."

"That was really an immediate postwar conception," he observes, admitting that many of the 350 items appear as "ridiculous '50s things." He cautioned, though, that perceived hilarity may be in the eye and age of the beholder.

Citing one display of those "really hilarious little lamps that everyone had," he observed, "People that don't know what a television lamp is don't believe it!"

"It's very nostalgic for some of our travelers," said the curator of the exhibition, hurried past by many a visitor on space-age people movers. "Younger travelers, of course, won't have any idea what some of these things are."

Calderon inspected many collections to assemble this mid-century montage, with the lenders of objects including Tom Albrecht, Steve Cabella, California Radio Historical Society, Rudy Contratti, Costa's Just Things, Barry Dagestino, Heather David. John Eckland, Abe Garfield, Pam Groot, Matt Householder and Candi Strecker, Jeff and Stacy Keller, Steve Kushman, Mickey McGowan and Unknown Museum in San Rafael, The Museum for American Heritage, Pacific Pinball Museum, and Urban Burp Vintage Fabrics.

The curator said his employer's status as the only airport museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums helps build collectors' trust to loan precious objects.

"So, we're really more of a museum in a nontraditional space than we are an airport with a museum," he said with obvious pride.

While this reporter was mesmerized by the collection of 'Music for Gracious Living' album covers, the curator said his favorite exhibits include the Atomic Starburst and Poppytrail dinnerware pitchers and the RCA portable television from 1956.

"This is an excellent example of innovative postwar technology combined with futuristic and colorful design," he marveled of the latter video tablet ancestor.

For more information about 'The Modern Consumer – 1950s Products and Style,' click here.