SF Bay Model Exhibit takes visitors on a unique Bay Experience

Kaelin Kragh

The San Francisco Bay Model Exhibit in Sausalito, CA offers an educational and fascinating one and a half acre model landscape that maps the SF Bay, while providing information on how pollution levels are diminishing the current status of the Bay.

Stationed on Broadway Street in Sausalito, the exhibit is located right on the water– a  fitting location for a museum with a focus on Bay life.

The goal of the exhibit is to educate visitors on the current environmental predicament of the SF Bay. Up the staircase upon entering the building is a room with painted walls of Marin’s scenic locations, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Stinson Beach and Point Reyes. Additionally, there are walls of information that help visitors understand more about the SF Bay and its wildlife.

The SF Bay Model at the San Francisco Bay Model Exhibit in Sausalito, CA
The SF Bay Model at the San Francisco Bay Model Exhibit in Sausalito, CA

The bottom floor of the exhibit consists of the model that takes up the whole room. The extensive model of the bay includes part of the Pacific Ocean, the Suisun Bay, the San Pablo Bay, and the Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta. The model is a three-dimensional hydraulic model that is capable of activating tides and currents to accurately simulate water levels in the Bay. It is also informative for those who don’t know much about the geography of the SF Bay. The complex work that was required to make the vast structure is truthfully astonishing.

The exhibit additionally offers scheduled guided tours or self-guided tours. However, with the aid of the friendly and knowledgeable staff, visitors are capable of retaining and receiving more information.Without guidance, there is not much context other than the model and self-guided videos available for viewing.

The only area of the exhibit that was lacking was the information available for visitors to read. Without a guide, the exhibit just looks like a bay model with a few boards of information. If there is any area for potential improvements,  it would be to educate and inform visitors even further on the severe environmental crisis that the Bay faces today.

The tours provide maps to help advise visitors through the Bay Model, various videos that include the history of the Bay Model and informative background from the guides on how the exhibit got started.

The guides inform visitors on the severity of the demand for water resources, in particular focusing on the necessary resources  for our farms and industries. They emphasize that “water is the lifeblood of California.” However, many of the guides were  divided on how to limit water intake amongst the county.

Potential solutions are the CALFED Bay- Delta Program, a cooperative association of the state and federal agencies which are established to solve those types of problems and reduce the conflicts in the Bay-Delta, according to the SF Bay model guides. The CALFED plan hopes to restore the Delta ecosystem, ensure water supply reliability, provide good quality water for all users, and improve the levee system.

With its effective use of powerful visuals and videos, the Museum is able to truly inform visitors about not only the geography of our Bay but some of the challenges that the region faces.