September 21, 2015

San Francisco: American Bookbinders Museum; things to do

San Francisco

American Bookbinders Museum  355 Clementina St./5th St., SOMA, (415) 824-9754.  M-F 10am-4 pm; tours at 10am & 2 pm. 

Located on a narrow street that you would unlikely ever see without intent, this new museum has an interesting collection of fully-functioning 18th- and 19th-century bookbinding equipment.  You can smell the ink in the air, and the fascinating tour provides the opportunity to learn how each antique piece was used and to see it actually operate.  Another display shows elegant samples of contemporary books, including one bound with a slate stone cover and silver staples.  

“Toad Poems” by Kenneth Grahame & Don Magius displayed at American Bookbinders Museum in San Francisco
“Toad Poems,” by Kenneth Grahame & Don Magius, illustrated by Alice Smith, binder Coleen Curry

More things to do in San Francisco

Way more things to do in San Francisco. 

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyer


  1. I love books. I'd enjoy visiting the American Bookbinders Museum. I've never heard of it before.

  2. Love the finished product! It's nice to see what could become a very lost art live on in an interactive way at the San Francisco American Bookbinders Museum.

  3. Fascinating stuff. I love learning new things. So neat that you included video clips.

  4. I love this type of tour, where you get to actually see how something is made, very cool. That made-to-order stapling machine is neat. I was just in the Bay area recently, will have to visit the Bookbinders Museum next time around.

  5. I love old books and bookbinding. I'll have to look out for the Bookbinders Museum if I get back to San Francisco.

  6. I will definitely be stopping back at your website before my next visit to San Francisco. I've now seem most of the "usual suspects", so it's good to find our about little gems like the Bookbinders Museum.

  7. Oh my gosh! Thank you for writing this! I am such a book geek and we go to SF all the time. I will love going to this museum!

  8. We'll definitely add the Bookbinders Museum on our next visit to San Francisco. Very interesting and of course we love books!