The mission of SFO Museum is to delight, engage, and inspire a global audience with programming on a broad range of subjects; to collect, preserve, interpret, and share the history of commercial aviation; and to enrich the public experience at San Francisco International Airport.
In 1980, the San Francisco Airport Commission collaborated with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco to create an exhibition program at the San Francisco International Airport. After a successful first year, a department was established to produce exhibitions that would humanize the Airport environment and reflect the cultural life of the San Francisco Bay Area. Over the years, this program has grown from modest beginnings in North Terminal (now Terminal 3) to become an extensive museum offering cultural and educational programs in locations throughout the Airport's terminals.
In 1999, SFO Museum (SFOM) became the first museum in an airport to receive accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums and is a widely imitated model for museums operating in public arenas. Today, SFOM features more than twenty galleries throughout the Airport terminals displaying a rotating schedule of art, history, science, and cultural exhibitions, as well as the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, which houses a permanent collection dedicated to preserving the history of commercial aviation.