Press Release

Mathematics: Vintage and Modern


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

Mathematics: Vintage and Modern
New exhibition in Terminal 2 explores the surprising ubiquity of mathematics.

SAN FRANCISCO — Like music, mathematics is a universal language—understood and used in every culture, civilization, and school. And just as music is much more than notes, math is far more than numbers. Mathematics: Vintage and Modern features objects from the past. It also highlights teaching tools that help students learn arithmetic, geometry, and calculus, as well as vintage children’s toys and games. Several works of art on exhibit demonstrate complex mathematics through sculptural forms. Examples from modern math—knot theory, topology, and ambiguous models—illustrate how math deals with the very dimensions of space. 

Throughout the ages, mathematicians have developed ways to calculate—sometimes by finding numerical shortcuts, other times by creating ingenious mechanisms. Part of this exhibition explores a selection of calculating devices from the past when “computer” referred to a person adding columns of numbers or cranking out figures on a mechanical calculator.  

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Mathematics: Vintage and Modern is located post-security in Terminal 2 of the San Francisco International Airport. This exhibition is accessible to ticketed passengers and by prior arrangement by emailing from July 31, 2021 to May 1, 2022.

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 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, which houses a permanent collection of more than 140,000 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

About San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

SFO is excited to welcome travelers back to the skies with an airport experience featuring seamless access, thoughtful amenities, sustainable design and inspiring artwork and exhibits. SFO reminds travelers that face masks are still required by federal mandate for air travel.

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