Directors Update – Winter 2017

by | Jan 31, 2017 | Blog, Director's Update

When we started the Randall renovation project two years ago, we were delighted that our project was chosen among those that would be funded by the state grant. I knew that it could provide a profoundly transformative impetus to a 60 year-old institution. It has been even more gratifying for us to receive many hundreds of additional donations both large and small from families and institutions across San Francisco who believed in making the Randall the very best it could be. We all live in a city with a generous spirit and a long tradition of philanthropy. On a Wednesday morning, a few weeks ago, my next-doorneighbor and her three young children put up a hand-lettered banner on the front of their house that read “We still have each other”. I share that sentiment very deeply.

One of the transformations of the Randall that we are looking forward to is the addition of the new Café. After a long search, and many interviews, we think we have found a terrific person to partner with us, and bring the Café to life. Our new café manager is Sahara O’Hanlon, a very experienced food service entrepreneur, who brings her passion for freshly prepared, locally sourced ingredients to the Randall. Sahara is also a native San Franciscan, who brought her own kids to the Randall and shares our ethos for environmental education. I know from the samples she has provided of her menu items, that our joint food venture will be a big hit with our visitors.

Whenever I tell people that the Randall is currently undergoing renovation, I often hear the comment, “I hope you’re keep the model trains”. I am pleased to say, that not only are we keeping the model train layout, but that it will be on display and operating whenever the Randall is open. Two of our model train enthusiasts, Jim Evans, and Raphael Möll, have taken on the task of digitizing the controls for the layout to make it possible for anyone to operate some of the track loops with the push of a button. We also plan to have experienced docents available much of the time to operate the entire layout and explain how it works. Finally, we are just beginning to refurbish all of the scenery on the layout to make it look new again after fifty years of service. I have seen some tests of the new layout, and it is amazing.

Opening day for the Randall is a few months off, but the staff is eager to get in and start installing the new exhibits right after the holidays. Please stay tuned for the final word on our Grand Opening Celebration.

Chris Boettcher

Chris Boettcher

Randall Museum Director

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