The idea of creating a Haight-Ashbury museum dedicated to the 1960s has some hoping the idea finally moves forward, while others would like to see more than counter-culture history included.
The Haight-Ashbury Museum organization, a resident-driven initiative, has revived the effort to create a space dedicated to the 1960s and the Summer of Love, which is one of the main draws of the milelong stretch of Haight Street, organizers said.
The museum would feature psychedelic art and history that was created in and is largely associated with the area. The goal is to educate visitors about the area and its history.
“The idea is to focus on art; that’s what attracts people,” said Jeff S., a member of the organization who only gave his first name. “We also want photos and other background information on the area, but really concentrate on the art.”
Jeff S. said his biggest obstacle is finding the right space.
“There are not many large spaces on Haight Street,” he said, adding that private donors have come forward with art and other 1960s artifacts he would like to display.
However, Ted Loewenberg, president of the Haight Ashbury Improvement Association, said the hippie culture is not the area’s only historical attraction.
After the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire, wealthy San Franciscans found refuge in the Haight, which is how the 20-block area off Golden Gate Park became populated, Loewenberg said. That history also should be included, he said.
“If there’s going to be a museum about Haight-Ashbury, it needs to go back to its roots,” Loewenberg said. “The end of the 19th century, there’s much more than the ’60s. Personally, I don’t see that the psychedelic art made any contributions to Western Civilization.”
Jeff S. said everyone is entitled to their opinion, but he hears a lot of support for the counterculture museum.
“Everyone wants to see it happen,” he said. “Thousands of people still come every year because of the essence of living a free life.”