2017 Year-End News

2017 was a Milestone Year

60 Years On the road2017 has been a banner year for The Beat Generation. Fans around the world celebrated the 60th Anniversaries of both the publication of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s victory in the “Howl” obscenity trial. There is a reason Ferlinghetti later called it “The Battle for Free Expression”—the Howl Trial was a major moment in American history that solidified First Amendment rights in the USA.

1957 was also the year the Russians launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite to orbit the earth. Sputnik created panic in the US because it proved the concept of weaponizing space with nuclear weapons. Sputnik also led to the use of the word “beatnik” and thus forever painted the Beats as communist sympathizers. It’s unlikely Herb Caen had ill intent when he popularized the term in his April 2, 1958 column in the San Francisco Chronicle, yet the image stuck, and was later magnified in 1961 when J. Edgar Hoover declared that America’s three greatest enemies were “communists, beatniks and eggheads.”

The Beat Generation became a counterculture, going against the grain of so-called traditional American values, and their philosophy that included bettering one’s inner self and living authentically became attitudes the next generation enthusiastically embraced. And it is for this reason we witnessed in 2017 another special milestone—the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love.

But another, arguably more significant event, The Human Be-In predated the actual Summer of Love by six months. This massive happening in Golden Gate Park represented the passing of the torch to a new generation of Americans, those born before WWII, to the generation after it. Gary Snyder blew the conch gathering the tribes together. Michael McClure, Lenore Kandel and Lawrence Ferlinghetti read their poetry before the Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother & the Holding Company, and the Grateful Dead hit the same stage.

Rave Reviews for The Beat Museum

No matter what review site you prefer, The Beat Museum gets high ratings.

rave reviewsWhere do you go when you want to learn about great places to explore and visit? Facebook? Yelp? TripAdvisor? Google+? Groupon? It doesn’t matter when people want to learn about The Beat Museum as we’re getting rave reviews on all five of those sites.

Have you visited the Museum lately? Whether you have or have not, we would love to welcome you again or for the first time. We have 2 floors of exhibits along with a theater showing one of the best Beat documentaries.

To top it off our staff (Brandon, Niko and Bob) of friendly subject matter experts will greet you and answer any of your questions.They can tell you stories and share their love of Beat lore that includes little known facts and myths about the Beats.

As you can see from the ratings above, most of our visitors found their experience at The Beat Museum enjoyable, and of real value.

On Yelp, Charles thought the museum was “the most authentic connection to California’s counterculture heritage that’s readily accessible to the public.”

A reviewer on TripAdvisor said, “This museum is a great look at a turbulent and yet very important time in America and how this art form played into its history.”

Many people do not realize how far reaching the Beat Generation was (and is) today. As Shane shared, “The Beat generation’s core group was connected to every alternative movement from the 1950s to the 1990s. From the Beat movement to Hippy Flower Power to the Punk Movement & Grunge.” They represented the counter culture of yesterday yet their ideals stand strong today.”

Stop by for a few minutes or a few hours when you are able. We would love to see you!

Our Commitment to Education

preserving the Beats for future generationsThe Beat Museum hosts at least one or two school groups a week. Most come from the Bay Area but we often see groups from other states, even other countries. Students also visit by themselves, sometimes encouraged by a teacher or having stumbled upon the Beats on their own, with a nod from their favorite musician or movie star.

All seem interested in learning more about this important literary and cultural movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s that changed the world then, and how it remains relevant today.

The many students who come to visit provide us with a very enviable demographic. Most museums have a tough time attracting young people, and a large percentage of their attendees are made up of Baby Boomers or older individuals.The Beat Museum is just the opposite. A very large percentage of our attendees are high school students, college students and young working people.

The Beats were rebels with a cause, and their spirit of tolerance, inclusivity, and the courage to live authentic lives changed the world.

We believe the best way to carry forward the ideas of the Beat Generation is to inspire young people’s curiosity about the world around them, to discover their own passions, pursue their dreams, and live their own truth.

This attitude is conveyed through a series of exhibits showcasing literature, poetry & art and putting it all in historical context. Our goal is to supplement official learning and spur creativity and forward thinking so young people can make a positive difference for themselves, their community and the world.

3 Ways You Can Make a Positive Difference

donate booksdonate fundsdonate records

Donate Books

Donate Funds

Donate Vinyl

What a year! When history looks at 2017 what will stand out? At The Beat Museum we’ll remember the challenges, but we’ll also remember how we responded, and continue to uphold the Beats’ spirit of compassion, acceptance, and equality of opportunity for all. Valuing education and nurturing creative aspirations and passing these ideals on to those who follow is of utmost importance.

You can make a difference in what we do by donating to our 501(c)3 non-profit Friends of The Beat Museum. Cash is great, of course, but books and vinyl records will help, too.

Our good friend Doug, a supporter of The Beat Museum for 14 years, recently dropped off much of his Beat Generation book collection as well as some old Dylan and Grateful Dead records. Not only does he reclaim some closet space—he can also take a $1600 tax deduction this year! You can do the same thing—your donation will enable us to continue growing and enriching our museum and it’s programs, like the robust series of free live events we produced in 2017.

Our mission is to preserve the history, the artistry and the values of the Beat Generation. The Beats’ values are San Francisco values.

You may wonder why the Beats and their predecessors matter in today’s world. In their lives and work they rebuffed consumerism, censorship, and the increasing power and control of government. Well before it was popular they advocated for the natural environment, promoted tolerance, and celebrated diversity. At the same time they embraced life, spirituality, and offered a candid perspective on the human condition. All of what they stood for has always been relevant, but is even more so, today.

Jack Kerouac’s most popular novel, On the Road, encourages us to live our own lives on our own terms and explore what lies over the horizon. Many people have been influenced by the Beats, from Bob Dylan and the Beatles to Steve Jobs, and references appear throughout popular culture. For example, the hugely successful company Warby Parker takes it’s name from characters in one of Jack Kerouac’s journals.

We invite you to join our community where human dignity and courage have a voice in this country through the arts; providing vision and a palette where creativity can be born and unleashed in many forms for beauty and good.

We recently met Matthew, a quiet young man of 16 who was clothed all in black and sporting bright teal hair. He is from Minnesota, and inspired by the Beats, came to visit The Beat Museum with his family. When they arrived he was so excited, having read and studied many of the Beat works of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. His parents told us that he convinced them to travel to San Francisco for vacation specifically so he could visit our museum.

Matthew had tears in his eyes as he was leaving. He told us that he felt like he had come home inside our museum. His dream is to become a writer. His parents said that being on this journey with him had helped them better understand him and brought them closer together as a family.

With your participation The Beat Museum can support young people like Matthew, and create an even more engaging and meaningful experience for visitors young and old.

Your gift will enable us to sustain and improve our museum operations, website, and create new exhibits while enhancing and upgrading current exhibits. This will help us make every museum visit special. We simply can’t do it without you. Thank you for your continued support and friendship.

For books and vinyl records donations, please contact us at: info@kerouac.com or call 415-399-9626 from 11 am to 7 pm daily

We wish all of you a loving and joyful holiday season and may 2018 bring peace and prosperity for all!

Jerry, Estelle, Brandon, Bob & Niko