By Laurel Smith
On October 15, the de Young Museum reopened in Golden Gate Park, in a landmark new building designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. With a groundbreaking design that dramatically integrates art, architecture, and nature, the new building presents the de Young's diverse collections -- encompassing American painting and decorative arts, and arts of the Americas, the Pacific Islands, and Africa -- in specially designed galleries that allow visitors to experience, under one roof, both the distinctions and the connections between the art of different cultures and eras.
Each November, thousands of visitors gather to witness the annual lighting of the original first-order Fresnel lens at Pigeon Point Lighthouse, and to celebrate the anniversary of the first lighting more than 130 years ago. The annual celebration, instituted by Hostelling International more than a decade ago, has become so popular that the California State Parks department now acts as master of ceremonies by inviting the U.S. Coast Guard to switch the lights, and local community and environmental organizations participate as well.