Press Release

Let's Play! 100 Years of Board Games


press releases

October 23, 2012


CONTACT:    Charles Schuler   
Associate Deputy Airport Director
Communications & Marketing
San Francisco International Airport 
650-821- 5031    


Let's Play! 100 Years of Board Games 
New exhibition features a colorful assortment of nineteenth- and twentieth-century board games


SAN FRANCISCO --The first mass-produced board games in the United States were imported from England during the 1820s. During the mid-1800s, the popularity of board games increased, and by the 1870s, advances in chromolithography, a color printing process, allowed them to be printed with bold, richly colored images at affordable prices. The games that entertained families mirrored the values, popular culture, current events, and literature of the era. Because Victorians esteemed virtue above all things, the goal of many early board games involved teaching moral lessons.


Even after the arrival of radio, movie theaters, and television, board games remained a popular pastime as the twentieth century progressed. During this era, board games promoting virtue disappeared, while games focusing on the accumulation of wealth proliferated. Although graphic design styles varied over the years, the game box’s eye-catching imagery has always remained an integral means of attracting players to games. The games on display range from early morality games such as The Mansion of Happiness and The Checkered Game of Life, to the classic, Pa-chee-zee: The Game of India, the Nancy Drew Mystery Game, and the children’s favorite, Candy Land.


Selected images from the exhibition are available for download at:


Let’s Play! 100 Years of Board Games is located beyond security screening in Terminal 2, Departures Level, San Francisco International Airport. The exhibition is on view to Terminal 2 ticketed passengers from October 27, 2012 to May 19, 2013. 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 approximately twenty 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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