About The Beat Museum

The Beat Museum is dedicated to spreading the spirit of The Beat Generation—tolerance, compassion, and having the courage to live your individual truth.

The Beats, as in beaten down and beatific, were a collective of writers, artists, and thinkers that congregated in 1950s San Francisco.

The Beat Museum is home to an extensive collection of Beat memorabilia, including original manuscripts, rare books, letters, personal effects, and cultural ephemera. Located in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, we occupy the same ground that was once the epicenter for Beat activity during the 1950s.

The Beat Museum has been independently owned and operated since its inception in 2003. We are dedicated to carrying on the Beat’s legacy by exposing their work to new audiences, encouraging journeys—both interior and exterior—and being a resource on how one person’s perspective can have meaning to many.


The Beat Museum was founded by Jerry and Estelle Cimino in 2003, in Monterey, California. After meeting John Allen Cassady (son of Neal and Carolyn Cassady), John and Jerry developed a two-man show and took it on the road in an Airstream RV they dubbed the Beat Museum on Wheels (or the Beatmobile for short), sharing the story of the Beat Generation with young people from coast to coast. They arrived in North Beach in 2006, and a temporary Beat Museum opened in the Live Worms gallery on Grant Avenue. Following a brief move to The Cannery at Fisherman’s Wharf, we moved into our permanent home at 540 Broadway, across the street from City Lights Books.

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