The Mechanics' Institute of San Francisco was founded in 1854 with four books and a mission to start an organization to serve the vocational and social needs of the city’s mechanics, artisans, and industrialists. Within a few years the Institute was offering classes in mechanical drawing, industrial design, electrical science, and applied mathematics; had started a chess club and had acquired a magnificent library that slaked San Francisco’s voracious appetite for technical and pleasurable reading material.
Today the Mechanics’ Institute continues as a membership organization boasting a fantastic general-interest library, active cultural event calendar, and world renowned chess club. It is a favorite of avid readers, writers, downtown employees, students, film lovers, chess players, and the 21st century nomadic worker in search of a place for literary pursuits, thinking, research and study.
If you are a new, long-time, or prospective member the Tour of the Institute will orient you to our building, include an overview of our history and mission, and outline our current services and the benefits of membership. Tours typically take 45 to 60 minutes.
A wine and cheese reception will follow the tour.