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May 17, 2012

Secrets of the Shake House

                                                                          Secrets of Shake House

Scott Moran in front of Shake House bookshelf

The Academy’s Earthquake exhibit explores the Earth’s tectonic plate movement on a vast geological timescale, the effects of earthquakes on a more immediate human timescale, and quake preparedness tips for living in seismically active regions such as the Bay Area.

In the Shake House, the titles on the bottom bookshelf are:


An Ever-Changing Place

Early Warning

The Imperial Mantle

Earth in Motion

The Story of our Earth

The Story of Mechanics

The Story of Force and Motion

The Earth Before Man

Our Beginnings in the Old World

The Majestic Rocky Mountains


Your Land and Mine

San Francisco

San Francisco in Color

Oh, California

Pacific Rift

The Last Place on Earth

Our Town

Plain Talk from the Hill

Tales of Land and Sea

A World Unsuspected


Life on the Line

Power Shift


One More Time

Unforgettable Fire

Ashes to Ashes

Design of Masonry Structures

Clear and Present Danger

Sign of Chaos

Thriving on Chaos

Lord of Chaos

Alarms and Diversions

Losing our Cool


Studies on Hysteria

This Moment on Earth

Making Peace with the Planet

The Winds of Change

Disaster Preparedness

Fun Facts

• Inside the Shake House, the walls are painted white. Everything that rattles and bounces during a quake is brightly colored.

• “Water” in the sealed fish bowl is actually mineral oil. It was chosen because actual water would turn green with algae growth and need to be regularly changed.

• This room has no breakable items. The plates, glasses, mirror and fishbowl are all made of plastic.

• The chandelier uses LED light strips to simulate incandescent lighting of 1989 and the flickering gas lights of 1906.

• Be sure to look at the titles on the lower shelf of the book case. Reading from left to right, you’ll see how these titles literally spell out the larger idea behind the entire Earthquake exhibit.

• The room’s framed painting pays tribute to the schooner Academy, an 89-foot sailing vessel that took Academy scientists to the Galapagos Islands in 1905. The great 1906 earthquake struck San Francisco during the expedition, destroying the Academy’s original Market Street building and a majority of the collection. The 75,000 specimens collected in the Galapagos formed the basis of the new, rebuilt Academy in Golden Gate Park.

Barbara Tannenbaum

Filed under: Uncategorized — btannenbaum @ 2:49 pm

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