1915 marked the year of the Panama Pacific Exposition, which included the building of the Palace of Fine Arts. A national architecture commission birthed the idea and commissioned Berkley architect Bernard Maybeck to come up with the design. The palace was slated for demolition in the late 1950's until a group of concerned citizens led by philanthropist Walter Johnson stepped in and saved it.
Today the Palace of Fine Arts is completely restored along with a new Exploratorium. The location is operated by the Palace of Fine Arts League; a non-profit corporation dedicated to sustaining the location.
Because of its beautiful design and architecture there have been many special televised events including the 1976 presidential debate, Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, Jay Leno Show, and Late Show with David Letterman. Several celebrities have performed there such as Robin Williams, the Smothers Brothers, Whoopie Goldberg, Dana Carvey, Journey, Jim Brickman, Celine Dion and more.
The Palace operates year round and also is a host to several theatrical productions, trade and industry shows, and private events. The theater is located at the intersection of Bay and Lyon in San Francisco. The seating configurations are diverse and can accommodate several different varieties of performances and showcases.