Beat Museum

Beat Museum information

San Francisco , USA
540 Broadway
+1 1 800 537 6822
Getting there
Tram: Powell-Hyde, Powell-Mason
Bus: 10, 12, 30, 41, 45
More information
adult/student $8/5
Opening hours
10am-7pm Tue-Sun
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The Beat goes on and on at this obsessive collection of SF literary-scene ephemera c 1950–69. The banned edition of Allen Ginsberg's Howl is the ultimate free-speech trophy, and the 1961 check for $10.08 that Jack Kerouac wrote to a liquor store has a certain dark humor, but those Kerouac bobble-head dolls are the real head-shakers.

Enter the museum through a turnstile in the adjoining museum store and pass a 1949 Hudson roadster covered with dust accumulated over 4000 miles of driving coast-to-coast for the filming of 2012's On the Road movie. Grab a ramshackle reclaimed theater seat redolent with the accumulated odors of literary giants, pets and pot to watch fascinating films about the Beat era's leading artists and free thinkers. Upstairs are shrines to individual Beats with first-hand remembrances and artifacts, including first editions of books that expanded the American outlook to include the margins.

Downstairs in the store, you can buy poetry chapbooks and obscure Beat titles you won't find elsewhere; entry to this part is free and so are readings held here (check website). Guided Beat tours are offered Friday, Saturday and Sunday, covering the museum, Beat history and literary alleys in two hours (adult/student $30/25).