Long Now Museum

Perhaps one of the most unique sites that make up San Francisco’s vibrant museum scene is the Long Now Foundation’s museum and store. The Long Now Foundation is an organization dedicated to strategic planning and innovative thinking regarding solutions for the next 10,000 years. Recognizing that long-term concerns aren’t as prevalent or prominent as they should be, the foundation recognizes the significant of foresight for the greater good.

One of the biggest and most intriguing symbols of the foundation’s mission is its 10,000 year clock project. Instead of just looking towards the next few years with trepidation, a more long-term clock would acknowledge coming centuries and millennia with audible reminders of passing time and times to come. The clock itself is a collaborative demonstration of long-term readiness; it is currently being assembled in California and will eventually come to rest in a Texas mountainside.

Bridging different perspectives is just one of the many outcomes of the foundation’s work. The group’s Rosetta Project, which emphasizes public accessibility, is an effort to create a digital language library that can fit in the palm of one’s hand. Other forward-thinking projects include improving open source software, preserving human languages slated for extinction, reviving and restoring endangered species, and empowering speakers of increasingly rare languages to document their communication. In addition, the foundation is also spearheading an attempt to get every word in every language available in an open-source database.

Another arena in which communication is key is the art and science of predicting the future. The Long Now foundation seeks to make predictions accountable through its Long Bets project. At the project’s website, longbets.org, various predictions on a wide range of topics can be bet against or in favor of, with winnings going to charitable causes.

In keeping with its innovative mission, the foundation will open a salon that will in turn further open the minds of those who enter. The salon is not easily definable, but will serve as a meeting space, café, library, and bar for both members of the general public as well as members of the foundation.

The Long Now Foundation’s museum and store are currently closed for renovations until Spring of 2014, as preparations are made for the new salon. The museum and store are located in the Fort Mason Center Building A at 2 Marina Boulevard in San Francisco. They can be reached at (415) 561-6582, or via the web at longnow.org.

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