Project Management

Exhibit Developers

Website Content Consultant
History of Research
Evaluators & Advisors
Funding support provided by:
NSF Logo
The National Science Foundation


CUREE Projects
Membership Information
Faculty Position Openings
Member Database
CUREE Newsletters

Projects : Golden Gate Bridge Exhibit

Golden Gate Bridge Outdoor Exhibition


Descriptions and Summary Illustrations of exhibits [download list]

1-6 | 7-12 | 13-18 | 19-24 | 25-30 | 31-36

Exhibit Description
Aesthetics of the Bridge
Within the limits of engineering necessity, bridge designers have aesthetic latitude in making decisions such as: architectural detailing (which is Art Deco on the Golden Gate Bridge), proportion of main span to side spans, height of tower to span ratio, shape of tower, form of strut across top of tower.
How a Suspension Bridge Works
Engineers call it a load path – the path taken by the loads (e.g. the weight of the structure and what it carries, the wind forces on it) as they flow through the structure to reach the foundation. A suspension bridge load path is basically simple, but is not apparent to non-engineers. The vertical suspender ropes pull the weight of the deck up to the main cables. The main cables carry it to the tops of the towers. The weight goes down the two towers to the foundation. The ends of the cables must be anchored to resist the tension (pulling) force that acts horizontally, inwardly, and vertically, upwardly.
What is a Rivet?
Millions of rivets, rather than bolts, were primarily used to connect the thousands of pieces of steel together to make the Golden Gate Bridge. This exhibit explains how a rivet initially looks like a bolt with a head on one end. It is heated red-hot, inserted through the holes the pieces of steel to be connected, then pounded to form a mushroom-head on the shaft, permanently clamping the pieces together. As the steel cooled, it shrank and the connection tightened up.
Be an Ironworker Photo Op.
This exhibit is simply for fun. It serves the needs of visitors to take snap shots commemorating their visit. Visitors stands behind a realistic looking backdrop and poke their heads through an opening, making them look like an iron worker up high on the Bridge.
Maneuvering Rings
Visitors currently do not know what the large steel “doorknockers” in Batter Lancaster are. They were used to maneuver the large cannon in that area, when ropes or chains were attached to them and soldiers could tug the cannon into position.
Centerpiece Large Model of Bridge
The 90-foot-long 1:80 scale detailed model, made of stainless steel, has four functions: (1) a table of contents for satellite exhibits (numbers on the large model are keyed to nearby exhibits); (2) a 3D structural diagram of the Golden Gate Bridge, differentiating structural from nonstructural components; (3) a big “draw” to beckon visitors to the outdoor exhibition area; (4) a beautiful sculpture in its own right.

1-6 | 7-12 | 13-18 | 19-24 | 25-30 | 31-36


Funding for the project has been provided by the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings, National Science Foundation. Dr. Al DeSena is the NSF project officer for this award. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

All images are the property of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District and cannot be re-used without its permission. Contact Mary Currie, Public Affairs Director,

© CUREE. All rights reserved.
Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering
last updated 05.27.14