A Free Lecture Series on the

Past, Present and Future of Treasure Island

Presented by the Treasure Island Museum


LITTLE ISLAND, BIG IDEAS is on summer vacation.

Is there a lecturer you'd like to hear when the series resumes?  Suggestions welcome; email us.

The lecture series is presented on Treasure Island, in historic Building One (except as noted), on a Saturday at 10:30 am.

Register for the series to be notified as lectures are scheduled.

Treasure Island is easily accessible by bus or car.  Free parking in front of Building One, the large semicircular building on the right just inside the main gate.

While you're here that day, visit Treasure Island Flea!

"Little Island - Big Ideas" is presented by the Treasure Island Museum Association with support from the Treasure Island Development Authority and The Winery - SF on Treasure Island.

Some of our previous lectures:

April 30:  Magic City 2.0: An Update

As the long-awaited redevelopment of Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands gets underway, the master developer will present new details of the plan and discuss how the vision will start to be realized.

Parks and open spaces will make up more than half of Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands under the redevelopment plan.  These public spaces will serve an important role in fulfilling many of the Project's principles, including building community, connecting the public with nature, and telling the Islands' stories. Julian Pancoast, Development Manager for Treasure Island Community Development, will present a project update and explain how the first phase of development will set the tone for a wonderful new neighborhood in the middle of the Bay.

Speaker: Julian Pancoast manages planning, design and entitlements for the TI Project, with a particular focus on public spaces and transportation.

March 19:*   Guns, Gangsters and the Gayway! Treasure Island Noir

Enjoy a unique visit to Treasure Island’s 1939-1940 Golden Gate International Exposition with award-winning crime fiction author Kelli Stanley, along with her heroine, the ex-escort, former Spanish Civil War nurse and iconoclastic private eye Miranda Corbie.

Kelli's best-selling and award-winning series of literary noir novels plunge the reader into a fully-realized past, from the scent of Shalimar in smoky night clubs to the murky world of "flesh shows" on Treasure Island's Gayway. The GGIE and Treasure Island play major roles in both plot and character, and Kelli’s noirish take on the celebrated “Pageant of the Pacific” is not to be missed.

Join her in a discussion of the in-depth research and inspiration behind her stories and preview what's in store for Miranda and the GGIE in the series’ fourth novel, City of Sharks.

Kelli Stanley has received the Macavity and Golden Nugget awards for her Miranda Corbie books, was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, and was named a literary heir of Dashiell Hammett by his granddaughter in Publisher’s Weekly. She holds a Master’s degree in Classics, lives in San Francisco, and prefers her bourbon neat.

(* - This lecture was originally scheduled for September 2015.)

Feb. 27  The Fair That Never Was: Richard Neutra, Joseph Strauss, Henry Murphy and the 1939 World's Fair

Gain a unique perspective on the architectural history and San Francisco politics of the mid-1930s through the lens of three little-known alternative plans for the 1939 San Francisco World's Fair, presented by Berkely Professor of Architecture Andrew Shanken.

Richard Neutra offered a dazzling design for a fair in South Basin. Part of a local effort at boosterism, Neutra studied the site, proposed an entire theme, drew up the scheme, and produced a broadside to publicize it--all intended to undercut the idea to house the fair on an artificial island on the shoals of Yerba Buena Island. Likewise, Joseph Strauss, recovering from a nervous breakdown after his work on the Golden Gate Bridge, created a competing plan that would have tied into his bridge and site of the 1915 fair. A third architect, Henry Murphy, designed an alternate scheme for Treasure Island as a simulacrum of the Pacific housed in a colossal pagoda. 

These three, along with a plan by Bernard Maybeck, show a range of possibilities that illuminate the period's architectural thinking and San Francisco's planning process for the Golden Gate International Exposition.

Speaker: Andrew Shanken, Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, whose book, Into the Void Pacific: Building the 1939 San Francisco World’s Fair, was published last year. 

Jan. 30:   I Flew the Pan Am Clippers

In 1942, Tom Kewin applied to Pan American Airways for a job on the iconic Pan Am Clipper flying boats, then providing wartime service to the Navy out of Treasure Island.  That was the start of a Flight Engineer career spanning an aviation era from the first transpacific passenger service to the Boeing 747.  Hear Mr. Kewin's personal recollections of his life and times on Treasure Island and around the world.

Tom Kewin is a Pan American Airways veteran and author of the book The Pan Am Journey.  He lives in Mill Valley.

Nov. 21, 2015:    Compass and a Camera: A Year in Vietnam

During the Vietnam War, hundreds of South Vietnamese Naval Officers and sailors trained on Treasure Island, as did thousands of U.S. personnel. Many sailors returned from combat in Vietnam to serve on Treasure Island, as did the training ship U.S.S. Hamner. Steve Burchik will present the experiences of some of these individuals, and share an intimate portrait of his own combat year in Vietnam with a compass to direct him in his job as a forward observer and a personal camera to share with you the scenes he saw and what he learned about fighting the guerilla war that in so many ways influenced Treasure Island and all of America. 

Steven Burchik spent a year in the rice paddies northeast of Saigon in the role of a forward observer as a sergeant with the First Infantry Division.  He is a photographer, a sailor on San Francisco Bay, and the prizewinning author of the memoir Compass and a Camera.

Please register for the lecture series.  It's optional, but will help us plan for enough seating and let you know about additional lectures and last minute changes.

First Name:*

Last Name:*




, State:   Zip


 Keep me informed about this lecture series and your other events.

*: Required


Page last changed June 01, 2016