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Fact Sheet

The Mint will be the first major San Francisco cultural institution to tell the stories of the men and women of the Bay Area and how their contributions impacted our community, our nation and the world. This project focuses on sharing insights from the past to inspire visitors to shape a better future for themselves and their communities. The Mint Project will offer a dynamic and interactive learning environment that will bring history to life in a relevant, contemporary context and will promote conversation and action through engagement and inquiry.

Centrally located in downtown San Francisco, the Mint will serve as an innovative gateway to the many exciting cultural destinations, museums, landmarks and historic sites in this region. Recognizing that there is no single venue that could ever contain all of the experiences, stories or artifacts of the San Francisco Bay Area, the Mint will be a starting point for residents and visitors to explore and experience the city and region.

The 100,000 square foot restoration of the historic Old Mint provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate sustainable design in a public setting and set a precedent for existing buildings and landmark structures to follow. The Mint will foster stewardship and environmental participation through innovation, aspirations of LEED Platinum certification, carbon neutrality, visitor education, and community inspiration.

Mint Building The Old U.S. Mint was designed by Alfred B. Mullett and completed in 1874. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and is nationally recognized for its importance as “the last major example of classical revival architecture” in the United States. The Mint building embodies the resilient spirit of San Francisco, having survived the 1906 earthquake and fire. It played a pivotal role in the financial life of the country by serving as a repository for a third of the nation’s gold reserves until 1937.
Location Fifth Street at Mission Street, San Francisco – Powell Street Station
Total Project Cost $95 million
Total Construction Cost (Core & Shell) $55 million
Capital Campaign $30 million secured to date
Exhibitions & Programs

The Mint Project will offer a new paradigm for the museum experience, paralleling San Francisco’s reputation for innovation. Using the latest technology and an innovative approach to exhibits and education, we will bring history to life, make it relevant, and allow visitors to personalize the experience based on their backgrounds and interests.

  • Permanent Exhibits – Highlight Themes & Stories of Bay Area
  • Changing Exhibits – Focused on communities of Bay Area
  • Story Lab – Participatory learning center to create family histories
  • Innovation Center – Participatory workshops and programs
  • Case Studies – Showcasing contemporary regional issues
  • Granite Lady Stations – Story of the Old Mint
Visitors Information Center The Mint will serve as a gateway to San Francisco and the Bay Area. It will house a new Visitors Information Center that will provide residents and tourists with a comprehensive and personalized orientation to the many exciting cultural destinations, museums, landmarks, neighborhoods, and historic sites throughout the region.

Erik C. Christoffersen, Executive Director
Richard S. E. Johns, President, Board of TrusteesIra Michael Heyman, former Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution

Project Director

Deborah Frieden, Cultural Project Planning Consultant former Project Director for the deYoung Museum and Legion of Honor


Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum, San Francisco, CA Paul Woolford, Vice President and Design Principal

Engineers Arup Engineering, San Francisco, CA
Landscape Architect Walter Hood, Principal, Hood Design, Oakland, CA
Historic Preservation

Page & Turnbull, San Francisco, CA
Architectural Resources Group, San Francisco, CA

Building Size 102,000 square feet, spanning four floors
Exhibit Designer

Christopher Chadbourne and Associates, Boston, MA
Christopher Chadbourne, Principal

Economic Benefits By connecting visitors with local retail, restaurants, and other cultural, and entertainment destinations, the Mint Project will be a dynamic catalyst for economic activity through direct stimulus and job creation. This project will also act as a driver for the revitalization of the Mission Street corridor west of Fifth Street.

Preconstruction Jobs   
Construction Jobs
Economic Impact
(direct & indirect)

$100 million (construction phase)
$46 million (annual operations)

Environmental Pioneer The Mint stands to be the first National Historic Landmark with a goal of LEED Platinum certification. The project’s plans for sustainable innovation make it a model for other historic buildings, as well as an extraordinary educational opportunity to explore ecology and sustainable design for all visitors.
Educational Approach The Mint will take a participatory approach to established frameworks for informal learning environments. It will emulate the educational model pioneered by children’s museums and science centers, with exhibits that focus on content-based problem solving activities and “hands-on” learning experiences that engage all of the senses.
Business Model Comprehensive business model offers a broad selection of demand-driven experiences and minimizes dependence on any single revenue stream. Most conservative scenario indicates earned income will cover at least 85% of operating expenses.
Attendance Estimate 750,000 to 1 million visitors to the Mint per year, including a paid museum attendance of 420,000-580,000.
Visitor Amenities San Francisco Visitors Information Center
Roof Garden and Historic Courtyard    
Museum Café and Cultural Retail
Multiple Event Venues and Community Gathering Spaces