Press Release

America's Cup: Sailing for International Sport's Greatest Trophy 1851-1937


CONTACT: Charles Schuler
Associate Deputy Airport Director
Communications & Marketing
San Francisco International Airport


America's Cup: Sailing for International Sport's Greatest Trophy 1851-1937
New exhibition features artifacts and historic imagery from the first sixteen campaigns of the America's Cup contest

SAN FRANCISCO -- To commemorate San Francisco hosting the thirty-fourth contest for the America’s Cup, SFO Museum presents a historical view of the first eighty-six years of the international sailing competition.  This colorful history includes enormous spectator fleets of steamships with more than 60,000 people jamming the New York Harbor racecourse; a five-time challenger from Britain whose personal charm and sportsmanship earned the affection and rooting interest of Americans; and a boat builder from Bristol, Rhode Island, whose audacious designs were so successful, they threatened to end meaningful competition among racing yachts.


Ship’s wheels, life rings, crew sweaters, and navigational equipment are among the artifacts illustrating the history of the contest’s origins as a trophy awarded when the New York Yacht Club’s schooner America defeated the Royal Yacht Squadron’s fleet in a race around the Isle of Wight in 1851, through the Club’s successful sixteenth defense of the Cup off the coast of Newport, Rhode Island, in 1937 during the final contest between the magnificent 100-footers of the J-Class.


Special thanks to historian John Rousmaniere and to our colleagues at the Herreshoff Marine Museum and America’s Cup Hall of Fame, Bristol, Rhode Island; the Mariners’ Museum, Newport News, Virginia; and Mystic Seaport: Museum of America and the Sea, Mystic, Connecticut.


Selected images from the exhibition are available by clicking here: Media may register for free by using the registration code SFOMedia.


The online version of the exhibition may be viewed at:


America’s Cup: Sailing for International Sport’s Greatest Trophy is located pre-security in the International Terminal Main Hall Departures Lobby, San Francisco International Airport.  The exhibition is on view to all Airport visitors from August 24, 2013 to February 23, 2014.  There is no charge to view the exhibition.


SFO Museum

SFO Museum was established by the Airport Commission in 1980 for the purposes of humanizing the Airport environment, providing visibility for the unique cultural life of San Francisco, and providing educational services for the traveling public. The Museum was granted initial accreditation from the American Association of Museums in 1999, reaccredited in 2005, and has the distinction of being the only accredited museum in an airport. Today, SFO Museum features twenty-five galleries throughout the Airport terminals displaying a rotating schedule of art, history, science, and cultural exhibitions, as well as the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, a permanent collection dedicated to the history of commercial aviation. For more information, please visit



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