Bay Area History

Learn about the role the bay has played in 20th century American history at these fascinating historical museums.

Peter Beeler

San Francisco Maritime Historical Museum

Located in the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park offers the sights, sounds and stories of Pacific Coast maritime history. At Hyde Street Pier, you can visit the park’s historic ships, as well as boats from the park’s small craft collection.

  • See Map 1 — San Francisco Northern Waterfront

U.S.S. Hornet Museum (Alameda)

Climb aboard the U.S.S. Hornet aircraft carrier, which successfully retrieved returning Apollo astronauts after the first moon landing. The U.S.S. Hornet Museum honors and explores the ship’s legacy and its role in naval aviation, the NASA Apollo moon missions, and several retired aircraft from World War II.

Rosie the Riveter Visitor Center (Richmond)

Located along the Bay Trail, this National Park explores and honors the efforts and sacrifices of American civilians on the World War II home front. The museum details how they lived and worked – particularly highlighting the role of women and African-Americans in making Richmond one of the most productive industrial sites during the war.

Shipyard III-Red Oak Victory (Richmond)

The SS Red Oak Victory is the last surviving ship built in the Kaiser Richmond Shipyards during World War II. Visit the ship that Rosie the Riveter built!

Hamilton Field History Museum (Novato)

Learn about the rich aviation history of Hamilton Field explored through photographs and artifact displays, as well as a multimedia projection mural.