If you thought you knew one of San Francisco’s most historic neighborhoods, The Tenderloin, think again. Since The Tenderloin Museum, a project of nonprofit Uptown Tenderloin, opened its doors in 2015, it has taken on the task of showcasing the rich history of this diverse district. Through innovative art installation, neighborhood tours, community gatherings, and hosting events for Peerspace guests, The Tenderloin Museum aims to show people a vibrant heart of San Francisco they never knew existed.
In a city experiencing an influx of high rise condos, office buildings, and an increasingly tech-centric ecosystem, there are still ways to get a taste for old school San Francisco for those who seek it. Often overlooked, the 31 blocks of the Tenderloin District is home to a diverse community of immigrants, musicians, artists and activists. A visit to the museum tells the intricate past of the historic neighborhood that gave birth to some of the biggest art and culture movements San Francisco is known for. Now available for private events, this storied and architectural space can be used as a textured backdrop for any Peerspace user seeking to have an elevated event in a unique space.
The Tenderloin Museum’s ability to provide an inspiring and aesthetic space (complete with an artistic map of the city created by famed Group Delphi on the ceiling) for a myriad of use types fits in with its unique past hosting important political, social and artistic movements. And through Peerspace platform, they’ve been able to broaden their reach to include private parties and business meetings to interact with an even broader reach of organizations in the San Francisco community.
It’s well known that urban neighborhoods are often the birthplace of some of the greatest creative minds and innovative thinkers, and The Tenderloin is no different. The area gained notoriety in the 1890s by various historians such as Herbert Asbury and Lawrence Wonderling who were convinced that The Tenderloin would be one of San Francisco’s most defining neighborhood’s for years to come. The Tenderloin was etched into the San Francisco infrastructure from the city’s earliest conception and it has continued to evolve for over 100 years.
Throughout its history, it has been home to hotels, cutting-edge bars, trendy restaurants, and significant LGBT movement influencers. The neighborhood also boasts legendary venue Blackhawk Jazz Club where award-winning artists Miles Davis and Billie Holiday played, as well as Wally Heider Studios where the Grateful Dead, Santana, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young composed legendary hits. The Cadillac Hotel’s boxing gym served as training ground for Mohammed Ali prior to becoming a heavyweight champion.
These icons have set the stage for the creative evolution the area is seeing towards being the next up-and-coming neighborhood. “The mission of the Tenderloin museum is to be an anchor in the community and celebrate the history of The Tenderloin,” says Katie Conry, who serves as the museum’s program manager. “Many culturally significant things have happened here, and we continue to see incredible things taking place in this neighborhood. Our goal was to reclaim these art, stories and culture and make them accessible to everyone.”
Conry believes the museum will play a significant role in the resurgence of the neighborhood, which has recently acquired attention for its buzzworthy restaurants and bars. In addition to the providing Guests of the space with a first hand look at history and a jumping off point to explore the surrounding blocks, opening their doors for events, offsites and meetings helps contribute to The Tenderloin Museum’s continued success.
“Merging public programming with private events and bringing new people into the neighborhood is a driving part of our mission. Using the Peerspace platform, we’ve hosted a range of unique events at the museum. From a baby shower that turned into a dance party, to a company offsite for a design team, our guests have all said they felt incredibly inspired by the aesthetic of the museum.”
Conry notes that the income they’ve earned on Peerspace goes directly into making sure this important museum and vibrant neighborhood continue to thrive. The additional funds help them cover operational costs to ensure both community events and private programming can continue. These activities play a crucial component in fostering a diverse dialogue, cultural evolution and creativity in San Francisco. Although much of The Tenderloin’s allure and mystique comes from its storied past, regardless of how this neighborhood continues to evolve, it’s clear that its future is bright.
Looking to host a unique offsite, meeting or private event? With an open floor plan, unique art and flexible setup options, this space offers a productive and inspiring environment for any activity.