This is a description of our visit to the Science Fiction Museum, a part of our larger trip to the Pacific Northwest. The full trip log may be found at http://leepers.us/evelyn/trips/seattle.htm.
We drove around a bit to try to find reasonably priced parking. It turns out there is a garage at the corner of Thomas and 1st Avenue that charges $6/day, which is considerably cheaper than the standard downtown garages.
The admission price used to be $12.95, or $26.95 in combination with the EMP (Experience Music Project). (EMP alone was $19.95.) After everyone said that was way over-priced, they lowered the price as of April 1, 2007. The new price is $15 for both museums, with no separate individual museum pricing. In addition, AAA membership gets you a $4 discount, bringing the price down to $11/person. This is actually on a par with movie ticket prices, and since both museums are considered must-sees by the tour books, it solves a dilemma. You see, the building is open 10AM to 5PM, or seven hours. AAA says to allow three hours minimum at the Science Fiction Museum and four hours minimum at EMP. A visitor who is interested primarily in one museum may say to himself, "well, if I spend more time than the minimum in one, I won't have very much time for the other, so the combination is not a good deal. But if I want to see both, the combination is a good deal."
I will say now that this is a must-see for science fiction fans, but I will have more to say at the end.
One downer is that the Museum does not allow cameras.
In the lobby, we were met by a full-size model of Gort. The Museum has the same restroom labels as at L.A.con IV (see http://leepers.us/evelyn/restrooms.jpg), done (I think) by Therese Littleton. (One assumes that the Museum had them first.) There were movie posters for Alien, At the Earth's Core, Final Fantasy, Riddick, and Battlestar Galactica, and the Robert McQuarrie concept art for Star Wars. (I think the latter were the originals, but it was hard to tell.)
The first section was "Homeworld". This described "What if?" as the basic theme of science fiction. Ironically, there was very little about alternate history in any of the exhibits, and that is the classic "what if?" genre. They did have Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson ("what if the Black Death wiped out all of western civilization?"), The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick ("what if the Allies had lost World War II?"), Redshift Rendezvous by John Stith ("what if the speed of light were only 22 miles per hour?"), and "The Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury.
Throughout, one found quotes, such as, "Everything considered, the world of science fiction is not a bad place to live." (Frederik Pohl)
There was a painting, "Ray Harryhausenland" by Michael Pucciarelli, which was a mural that included images from most of Harryhausen's films.
The first, and sort of underlying, exhibit was a science fiction timeline, divided into sections displaying book covers, magazines covers, movie posters, etc.:
[On the chart, some of these seemed to be in the wrong sections, but I think that was because the boundaries were not strictly vertical lines.]
The next section was the Hall of Fame, begun at the Gunn Center at the University of Kansas in 1996, but since transferred to the Science Fiction Museum (whose full name is actually the "Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame"). Current members include Brian W. Aldiss; Poul Anderson; Isaac Asimov; Alfred Bester; James Blish; Chesley Bonestell; Ray Bradbury; Edgar Rice Burroughs; John W. Campbell, Jr.; Arthur C. Clarke; Hal Clement; Samuel R. Delany; Philip K. Dick; Gordon R. Dickson; Frank Kelly Freas; Hugo Gernsback; Harry Harrison; Ray Harryhausen; Robert A. Heinlein; Frank Herbert; Damon Knight; Ursula K. LeGuin; Fritz Leiber; Grorge Lucas; Anne McCaffrey; A. E. Merritt; Michael Moorcock; C. L. Moore; Andre Norton; Frederik Pohl; Eric Frank Russell; Mary Shelley; Robert Silverberg; E. E. Smith; Steven Spielberg; Theodore Sturgeon; Wilson Tucker; Jack Vance; Jules Verne; A. E. Van Vogt; H. H. Wells; Kate Wilhelm; Jack Williamson; and Donald A. Wollheim.
There were short films about the 2006 inductees (Freas, Herbert, Lucas, and McCaffrey). We watched the one about Freas. In it, David Gerrold said, "Just as Heinlein was the defining voice for writers, Freas was the defining voice for artists." Though the aspect ration on the artworks was fine, when they showed people talking, they all looked tall and thin, which meant the aspect ratio was off. There was also information on the Hall of Fame members, all taken from John Clute and Peter Nicholls's Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, but it is not kept up to date. For example, both Jack Williamson and Wilson Tucker still listed as living.
One of the artifacts they had was the clapboard from David Lynch's version of Frank Herbert's Dune.
The rest of the displays in the "Homeworld" room were divided into the categories "Science Fiction Community", "Science Fiction and Society", "Not So Weird Science", and "What If?"
"Science Fiction Community" included costumes, a section on fandom today (including screen shots of "The Internet Review of Science Fiction" and "Entertainment Geekly"), and representative awards (a Hugo rocket, a Nebula, and so on). There were pictures and letters from Forrest J. Ackerman, Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury in a section labeled "From Fan to Pro". There was a 1920 mimeo machine, and quite a few fanzines, convention publications and materials, and letters.
There were then several thematic sections, with first editions of representative books, and movie posters (or pictures of posters).
A section on the Cold War had The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein, Dr. Strangelove, "Deadline" by Cleve Cartmill, and a pod from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
A section on Vietnam featured The Healer's War by Elizabeth Moon, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman and The Word for World Is Forest by Ursula K. LeGuin.
Gender was represented by James Tiptree, Jr.; Samuel R. Delany; Ursula K. LeGuin, and Theodore Sturgeon.
The environment included The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner, Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson, The Death of Grass by John Christopher, and Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison and the film made from it, Soylent Green.
"BEMs and Babes" had covers of several pulp magazines.
Mutation included Godzilla, The Swamp Thing, Mutant by Henry Kuttner, The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, Food of the Gods by H. G. Wells, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Cyborgs had Man Plus by Frederik Pohl, The Human Touch by Theodore Sturgeon, Nova by Samuel R. Delany, Cybernetic Samurai by Victor Milán, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick, and many others.
Nanotech included Slant by Greg Bear, The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, Inherit the Earth by Brian Stableford, Fantastic Voyage by Isaac Asimov, and others. (I thought calling Fantastic Voyage nanotech is a bit of a reach, but Mark said that it was really a separate category called "Changes of Scale".)
Genetics and cloning had The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells, Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm, and Bladerunner; artificial reproduction had Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. There was also a biotech section.
"What If Scenarios" (some of which I mentioned before) included The City of Truth by James Morrow, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson, The Language of Pao by Jack Vance, Kiln People by David Brin, the "Helliconia" series by Brian W. Aldiss, and "Nightfall" by Isaac Asimov. Also on display were Neal Stephenson's hand-written manuscript for his "Baroque Cycle", as well as the ink cartridges and bottles he used to write it.
Uncategorized displays included the Jupiter 2 (from Lost in Space), props for Star Trek, and the T-rex motion direct input device from Jurassic Park. The Lost in Space display also seemed to be running an entire episode (with headsets)--the meteor storm was really fake-looking.
There was a spherical-surface screen with anamorphic images of movie scenes (and a few book covers) projected on it in the categories of "Fantastic Voyages", "Amazing Places", "Brave New Worlds", and "Them! Them! Them! ..." (Swastika Night showed up on this at well--is it really that important?) There was about a fifteen-minute cycle.
One of the paintings hanging in this room was the famous Emshwiller painting of Theodore Sturgeon used as the cover for the special "Theodore Sturgeon" issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
The exitway from this room was "The Changing Face of Mars", covering early scientists, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. G. Wells, the pulps, Ray Bradbury, Kim Stanley Robinson, and so on. Shifts in perception came about because of the Mars Mariners (1965), Vikings (1976-1982), and Rovers (2003). This topic was covered in great detail by the panel "Mars in Fiction" at L.A.con IV, see http://fanac.org/worldcon/LA_Con/x06-rpt.html#marsfiction for details.
The stairway leading down to the other displays had posters from Pitch Black, City of Lost Children, Ghost in the Shell, Johnny Mnemonic, Inner Space, Transformers, The Empire Strikes Back, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Titan A.E., Independence Day, Dune, Escape from New York, and Metropolis.
We entered the Museum at 10AM. We arrived at "Fantastic Voyages" at about 11:30AM, so "Homeworld" took about an hour and a half.
"Fantastic Voyages" included all the paraphernalia of space travel. There were "Space Suits", both real ones from NASA, and fictional ones such as helmets from Captain Video; Quarlo Cobregney, RMENTNDO, from the "Soldier" episode of The Outer Limits; Darth Vader from Star Wars; Buck Rogers (from television); and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. There were also various uniforms from movies and television.
There was a claim that Arthur (?) Train's "Stranded" introduced science fiction weightlessness in space, but what about Verne's From the Earth to the Moon or Wells's First Men in the Moon? (I think it was Arthur Train, but I did not note the first name, and I cannot find any such story in the various reference works.)
The "Armory" had ray gun toys, covers with ray guns, the "Voice Amplifier" from Dune, phasers, the crossbow from Barbarella, daggers from Star Trek, hand weapons of all sorts, the "fun gun" from Dr. Who, and blasters and disruptors.
"Communication Devices" included the inorganic selenite crystals used as translators in First Men in the Moon and a diagram of the Babel Fish from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. "Scanners and Medical Devices" had many items from Star Trek, but also copies of several James White books.
"Ad Astra ... To the Stars" had a section on "Spaceships" which included A Trip to Mars by Fenton Ash. (Has anyone reading this ever even heard of that?!) There was also Across the Zodiac by Edwin Pallandep, another classic.
One of the really great items was the typed manuscript of The Skylark of Space by E. E. Smith. There were also several Chesley Bonestell paintings.
"Reality Strikes Back" was a section on how faster-than-light travel has been treated when the author has wanted to acknowledge the limitations imposed by relativity. Another section had space travel from Star Trek.
"Ships of the New Science Fiction" featured A Fire upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge, Startide Rising by David Brin, Revolution Space by Alistair Reynolds, The Reality Dysfunction by Peter F. Hamilton, and Consider Phlebas by Iain Banks.
The "Spaceship Scanning Station" showed a continuous video with a lot of spaceships from different sources interacting. The ships are from First Men in the Moon, Rendezvous with Rama, Farscape, Forbidden Planet, When Worlds Collide, Star Wars, Star Trek. Alien, Flash Gordon, Red Dwarf, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Futurama, Babylon 5, Cities in Flight, and Cowboy Bebop. For each of these there was a "mission description" that would tell you about the ship, but there seemed to be a few other ships with no description (e.g., 2001: A Space Odyssey).
"Teleportation" had a poster for The Four-D Man, but Mark pointed out that this is not teleportation. There was also "Scale Changes". This had Land of Giants, Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, Fantastic Voyage, The Amazing Colossal Man, Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman, and The Princess in the Atom by Ray Cummings. (I wonder if this was what Mark was thinking of as being in the "Nanotech" section in "Homeworld".)
Another section was "Time Travel". "Inter-Dimensional Travel" included The Quiet Earth; "...And He Built a Crooked House" by Robert A. Heinlein; Moving Mars by Greg Bear; "Little Girl Lost" by Richard Matheson; Islands of Space by John W. Campbell, Jr.; A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle; and Catch the Star Winds by A. Bertram Chandler.
There was a section on "Rocket Packs".
The "Science Fiction Hero" also included villains, sidekicks, etc., as well as "Heroic Satire". The latter had Bill, the Galactic Hero and The Stainless Steel Rat, both by Harry Harrison. "Heroes of Every Size, Shape . . . and Species" had The Skylark of Space by E. E. Smith, Shambleau by C. L. Moore, Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler, Chanur by C. J. Cherryh, and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. They also had Captain Marvel's tunic and lots of the merchandising tie-ins from Star Wars.
"Artificial Constructs and Amazing Places" included Flatland by Edwin S. Abbott, Solaris by Stanislaw Lem, Ringworld by Larry Niven, Sundiver by David Brin, and Flux by Stephen Baxter.
One of the really amazing items the Museum has is "Jupiter as Seen from Its Innermost Satellite", painted by Chesley Bonestell in 1945. It was just hanging on the wall, not in a case, or behind glass. There is something about being physically in the same space with something like that that is impossible to convey. It is the difference between seeing a picture of the "Mona Lisa" and seeing the actual "Mona Lisa".
There was a case of Arrakis items and props from David Lynch's version of Dune.
Another anamorphic spherical screen was showing the planets Solaris, Acheron (from Alien), Hoth (The Empire Strikes Back), Pygmy Planet (from Jack Willlamson), Jupiter and Athshe (The Word for World Is Forest by Ursula K. LeGuin).
A display on Mesklin from Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement had The Slide Rule and How to Use It from the 1940s by Harry Drell and a Keuffel & Esser slide rule.
"Experimental Societies" included Logan's Run by William F. Nolan; Sweet Dreams, Sweet Princes by Mack Reynolds; THX 1138; We by Yevgeny Zamiatin; The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood; The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. LeGuin (but not The Dispossessed); Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury; A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess; Utopia by Thomas More; Matrix Revolutions and 1984 by George Orwell. As a reference to the last, they had a recent poster from a British campaign about surveillance cameras on public transit, with drawings of eyes watching you and suggestions of Big Brother. It was supposed to reassure people, but somehow it did not have that effect. Most of the "experimental societies" shown were dystopias; for some reason the eutopias are not as engrossing. One needs conflict, I suppose, but one could certainly find some stories in which a eutopia is threatened from outside instead of having the conflict as internal.
"Controlling the Masses" had Minority Report, The Prisoner, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. 1984 by George Orwell, "Patterns of Force" episode of Star Trek, Earth by David Brin, and Hominids by Robert Sawyer. (Note: Minority Report was based on a Philip K. Dick story of the same name. In general, if the display featured the movie poster, I list the movie title, not the story.)
"Visions of the Future" included Perdido Street Station by China Miéville, Neuromancer by William Gibson, Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, The Steampunk Trilogy by Paul Di Filippo, When the Sleeper Wakes by H. G. Wells, and Men Will Live on Mountaintops by Winsor McCay.
A video discussing "Cities of Tomorrow" had sections on The Jetsons (discussed by Leonard Maltin), Blade Runner (Los Angeles, 2019) (discussed by Bruce Sterling and Paul Sammon), and The Matrix (Earth/Cyberspace, 2199) (discussed by Paul Sammon).
A final display, "Out of the Ashes" had The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (I think they had both the book and the movie poster); The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett; Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny; The Day the World Ended; several items from or about Planet of the Apes; The World Wreckers by Marion Zimmer Bradley; The Long Loud Silence by Wilson Tucker; Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank; Earth Abides by George R. Stewart; The Postman by David Brin; A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.; On the Beach by Nevil Shute; City by Clifford Simak, The Purple Cloud M. P. Shiel, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, and an issue of Astounding (February 1941). There was also an issue of Fantastic Universe from August-September 1953 featuring a painting of a half-buried Statue of Liberty that almost certainly inspired the scene from Planet of the Apes.
We finished this room about 12:30PM, taking about an hour. The women's restroom on this floor has the zero-G toilet instructions from 2001: A Space Odyssey and a Dr. Who and the Daleks lobby card reproduction. The men6s room has a different lobby card and no instructions. The same exterior signs are used here as upstairs.
The next gallery was "Them!" A short video illustrated the themes of "Robots in Your Future", "Robots: Metal or Mortals?", "Robots: Our Helpful Servants", and "Robots: Friends of Foes?"
Naturally, the Three Laws of Robotics were quoted:
A display with Robbie and B9 noted that Robert Kinoshita designed both of them. As familiar as everyone is with Robbie, I doubt that one in a hundred could tell you who designed him.
Daggit in the 1978 Battlestar Galactica was played by a chimpanzee in a suit, which they had. They also had a giant "Alien Queen".
"SETI: Fiction and Fact" had subsections "Are We Alone?", "The Drake Equation", "Communication Across the Stars", "Are They Here Already?", and "Where Are They?" There was, of course, a video about aliens. With A Martian Odyssey, Stanley Weinbaum was noted as the first author to present an alien as a "person" (or more accurately a being with a personality, motivation, etc.). With "Destroyer", A. E. Van Vogt was the first to write from the alien point of view.
In the center of the room was an "Interplanetary Cafe", which was not rally a cafe. It had a special section on The War of the Worlds which included the lesser-known work The Martian by George du Maurier, and a section on "Heat Rays and the Cold War". "The Invasion Continues" had various sequels and spin-offs: The White Mountains by John Christopher, The Second War of the Worlds by George H. Smith, and War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches edited by Kevin J. Anderson. Finishing up were items from The Coneheads and Red Dwarf, and models and items from Destination Moon.
We finished this about 1:30PM, so this room also took about an hour.
There was a separate room that was strictly an art exhibit. I think this may change periodically. Currently it was "Alien Encounters", with artists' depictions of aliens. The exhibit included:
Quotes at the end of the entire exhibit included:
"The future isn't what it used to be." [Arthur C. Clarke]
"The future is up for grabs. it belongs to any and all who will take the risk." [Robert Anton Wilson]
"That which is never attempted never transpires." [Jack Vance]
"The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible." [Arthur C. Clarke]
We finished the Museum about 2PM, so the whole thing took four hours. There is a shop, but it consists almost entirely of souvenir hats, shirts, etc., with the Science Fiction Museum logo on them, and hardly any books (or even DVDs).
As I noted earlier, there is now one admission for both the Science Fiction Museum and EMP (the Experience Music Project). So we went through EMP, but fairly quickly, because there was little of interest. One room was devoted to the history of the guitar, mildly interesting from a technical standpoint, but not enthralling. The Jimi Hendrix room was even less interesting, and the hands-on stuff had no appeal for us. The "Northwest Passage", a corridor about local groups, broadcasting, and so on--was completely foreign to me. What we did see of all these took a total about about forty-five minutes.
There was one display, a temporary one, that was of interest to us--"Disney: The Music Behind the Magic". This had a video about the history of music in Disney films. We missed the first few minutes, which covered "Steamboat Willie" (in which Mickey Mouse was making music), Snow White, Dumbo, and Fantasia. We came in at Pinocchio, which was described as a prototype of the action-adventure film, and one of the first to have themes (leitmotifs) for each character. After this came Bambi, more pastoral, more of a tone poem, and with definite influences from Igor Stravinsky.
They then skipped ahead to The Little Mermaid, mostly because I think they were covering animated films first, then live action. The claim was that The Little Mermaid was the first fully integrated musical (one in which the songs move the story) since the 1960s.
They talked about how many of the films now have an "I want" moment: in Cinderella it is "Someday My Prince Will Come"; in The Little Mermaid it is "Part of That World". Some reviewer had said of Beauty and the Beast (I think) that "the best Broadway musical" was now on screen rather than stage.
Apparently the technique used is to write the songs before the story is complete, so that they can be incorporated properly. The Lion King was the most successful musical, with more pop music, and song-over-action ("The Circle of Life") as well as songs to propel plot ("I Just Can't Wait to Be King").
It was commented that "Whole New World" and "Beauty and the Beast" are sung everywhere: high school graduations, etc.
Leonard Maltin described Mary Poppins has having "exposition set to music." There was no mention of Disney's most recent live-action musical, Newsies, nor of the song "A Whale of a Tale" from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Everyone kept talking about "Walt Disney's music," but of course, it's not his music, but that of various composers. (Someone in the video did actually note this.)
One comment--the videos in the EMP section were shown on a big screen, while it was tiny screens for most of the science fiction (the "Cities" one was on a fifteen-foot wide screen that was maybe four feet high).
This was a fairly long video (probably about a half hour). The display "Disney: The Music Behind the Magic" began with "Steamboat Willie" (1928). There was a chance to hear eight different versions of "When You Wish upon a Star", most of which were unappealing.
The film Bambi had less than 950 words of dialogue.
The "Mickey Mouse Club" had versions in the 1950s, 1970s, and 1990s. The latter had Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilar, and Britney Spears.
All this took another hour or so. We were about to leave the EMP and return to the Science Fiction Museum for another hour or so when we noticed that "Sound & Vision: Artists Tell Their Stories" included science fiction authors. They probably put the science fiction ones there because they had the technology, but there is no indication in the Science Fiction Museum of it, and before the single-admission policy, people who went to only the Science Fiction Museum could not see this.
We watched clips of Ray Harryhausen talking about animating skeletons, and Frederik Pohl on the first Worldcon. A clip on writing included Greg Bear, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Harry Harrison, and Connie Willis.
"What Is Science Fiction?" had answers from George Lucas, and Connie Willis, who quoted Judith Merril as saying that science fiction was a giant thought experiment in which you change one premise and see the results. Willis also cited Ben Bova and a panel of NASA scientists who decided that it was when science was at the center, science drove the plot, and it was real science. Willis said that it ruled out a lot of what people consider science fiction, and Bova said, "Yes, but none of mine." James Cameron noted that science fiction is not predictive (no writers predicted the PC revolution). It also had Steven Spielberg, David Gerrold, Harlan Ellison, and Samuel R. Delany.
Another clip on conventions had Greg Bear and several other people. David Gerrold talked about his first panel, where he was seated between Isaac Asimov and Hal Clement, and quite intimidated about his position as a "newbie". Harry Harrison told about a young man who came up to him during the Vietnam era and said he had enlisted, then went home and happened to read Bill, the Galactic Hero, and immediately tore up his enlistment papers. (Apparently, there was a waiting period at that time.) Astrid Anderson Bear talked about her first costume, as a baby vampire bat ("if a baby cat is a kitten, then a baby bat is a bittne").
The filmmaking clip had Dennis Muren (E.T.), Ray Harryhausen (stop-motion in Mighty Joe Young), James Cameron (Alien queen), Harlan Ellison (his usual rant about Hollywood), and David Gerrold (Star Trek)
We finished up with another half-hour or so in the Science Fiction Museum, until closing time.
And now for general and summary comments.
The rooms in the Science Fiction Museum are way under-lit--bring a flashlight if you want to be able to take notes, or even see some of the labels a little better. (The cases are reasonably well lit, but the rooms themselves are really dark.)
Someone said she did not like the Museum because it was not someplace you could go many times. She had asked them if they would be rotating the magazine covers, but after seeing the exhibits, I think this would not be very easy, because the exhibits are all themed. (You could swap in new ones for BEMs and Babes", I suppose.) The art exhibit does rotate, I think.
Both of these museums were created/funded by Paul Allen, and a lot of the items in the cases in the Science Fiction Museum are from his private collection. This is why there is this strange combination of two museums in one building. It is true that the price is now higher than the price before, but 1) most people will probably get something out of the EMP, and 2) people can now use the "Sound & Vision" for the science fiction clips (assuming, of course, that they know about them).
Is the museum worth it? For a science fiction fan visiting Seattle, definitely. But it is not a "destination museum" in the way as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or El Prado, or even the Cosmosphere (Hutchinson, Kansas). And one can argue that a lot of what ones sees is similar to the displays at science fiction conventions, though obviously on a much larger scale.
The website for the Museum is at http://www.sfhomeworld.org.
(I took more notes for this than I usually taken for a panel at a convention, so I hope you appreciate this.)
In keeping with the theme, and to promote the "Star Wars" stamps that will be released May 25, a mailbox near the Museum had been painted to look like R2D2. See http://www.uspsjedimaster.com for more details.