Public Knowledge

Take Part
January 25–April 28, 2019
SFMOMA and San Francisco Public Library branches

Led by the artist duo Bik Van der Pol, the Public Knowledge project Take Part anchors expansive conversations about San Francisco’s past, present, and future to a physical object: a thousand-square-foot scale model of the city in 1938 built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Beginning January 25, the model will be exhibited publicly for the first time since 1942, displayed piece-by-piece throughout the San Francisco Public Library’s twenty-nine branches (including SFMOMA’s own Public Knowledge Library). Each branch will display its respective neighborhood.

With more than a hundred free programs and events offered in libraries across the city, Take Part invites you to gather around the model and bring your perspective to discussions about San Francisco in all of its complexities. Activities for a range of ages include: site-specific storytelling, town hall discussions, history nights, virtual tours, neighborhood walks, bike rides, map-making, and more.

For more information about the project and a complete list of events, visit takepartSF.net.

Exhibition Preview

The 1938 scale model of San Francisco on display at City Hall, April 1940; courtesy the San Francisco Department of City Planning Records (SFH 465), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.
An SFMOMA staff member cleans a section of the scale model in preparation for Take Part, 2018; photo: Beth LaBerge.


Take Part is a project by Bik Van der Pol, commissioned by Public Knowledge at SFMOMA, in partnership with the San Francisco Public Library. Public Knowledge has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

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Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in Public Knowledge do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Header image: The J1 section of the 1938 WPA scale model of San Francisco, 2018; photo: Beth LaBerge.