Press Release

The Art of the African Instrument


 Charles Schuler 
Director of Marketing & Communications 
San Francisco International Airport
(650) 821-5031

The Art of the African Instrument
New exhibition at SFO’s Harvey Milk Terminal 1 features remarkably imaginative musical instruments from the Fowler Museum at UCLA.

SAN FRANCISCO Africa’s rich cultural heritage encompasses a tremendous range of music, musical instruments, and performing arts. The variety of instruments made and used in Africa ranges from drums, xylophones, and zithers, to electric guitars and keyboards. Many traditional musical instruments appear utilitarian, while others are embellished with geometric, anthropomorphic, and zoomorphic features, allowing them to simultaneously serve as works of art. This exhibition features bells, rattles, harp lutes, drums, slit gongs, and lamellophones or “thumb pianos” from the West and Central African countries of Liberia, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Special thank you to the Fowler Museum at UCLA for making this exhibition possible

Visit for more information.


The Art of the African Instrument is located post-security in Harvey Milk Terminal 1 of the San Francisco International Airport. This exhibition is accessible from May 11, 2024–April 13, 2025 to ticketed passengers, and through prior arrangement by emailing

About SFO Museum

Established in 1980 by the Airport Commission, SFO Museum’s mission is to delight, engage, and inspire a global audience with programming on a broad range of subjects; to collect, preserve, interpret, and share the history of commercial aviation; and to enrich the public experience at San Francisco International Airport. The Museum has been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums since 1999 and retains the distinction of being the only accredited museum in an airport.

Today, SFO Museum operates more than twenty-five sites throughout the Airport terminals, including fourteen galleries that exhibit a rotating schedule of art, history, photography, science, and cultural exhibitions. Among the sites is the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, which houses a permanent collection of more than 160,000 objects related to the history of commercial aviation. To browse current and past exhibitions, research our collection, or for more information, please visit Follow us on,, or

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