Since 2014, the Presidio Heritage Exhibition has hosted three temporary special exhibitions.
The Presidio History Exhibition in the Presidio Officers’ Club has offered several temporary special exhibitions since 2014, described below. They explore the Presidio’s social, cultural, and natural history.
The current special exhibition is EXCLUSION: The Presidio’s Role in World War II Japanese American Incarceration – now on view for free.
April 21, 2016 to March 12, 2017: This family-friendly exhibition examined how our exploration of the natural world helps us understand our place in it. Visitors shared their thoughts and experiences in this exhibition focused on the Presidio’s ever-changing landscape.
April 16, 2015 to April 3, 2016: This exhibition explored the diverse experiences and lasting impacts of a dramatic airlift that removed more than 2,000 Vietnamese children from their war-torn country to be adopted by American families as Saigon fell in 1975.
The extraordinary story continued at the Presidio, where more than 1,500 of these children were transferred before being placed with adoptive families. As more than 5,400 volunteers in the San Francisco Bay Area cared for the children, Operation Babylift itself was being debated across the country.
It was co-curated by the Presidio Trust and the Adoption Museum Project and shaped by input from community contributors. It marked the 40th anniversary of Operation Babylift and the end of the Vietnam War.
September 2014 to March 2015: The biography of a single individual, positioned at the right place and time, can illustrate larger trends and events in history. Clarence Tucker Beckett, born in Mississippi in 1878, was a man of many interests. When he was 20 years old, he fought in the Spanish-American War. After his return, he became a lawyer, but reenlisted in the Army in 1907.
His years of Army service took him to the Philippines, Alaska, Mexico, and California. He was stationed twice at the Presidio between 1912 and 1914. Throughout his travels, he took thousands of photographs, recording soldiers at work and leisure. His images are a stunning record of a changing Army.
This exhibition showcased Beckett’s photos taken at the Presidio of San Francisco and in northern Mexico. His images capture the jovial community of soldiers living at the Presidio in the early 20th century and stand as testament to their service while deployed abroad.