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
Pointers to Bay Area Sights
Non-obtrusive sighting pointers to the local geographic locales of interest, such as Alcatraz Island, Angel Island, Raccoon Strait (which marks the ancient river course). Miniature tabletop display mounted on guardrail.
Feel Wind Pressure
The Golden Gate is a very breezy place, the only gap in the coast range for hundreds of miles. Cool, dense, high pressure air over the cold ocean pushes its way into the Bay and California’s interior, while the land heats up and the air over it becomes warmer, less dense, and lower in pressure. Wind force varies as the square of the velocity, a fact the visitor can intuitively sense by pushing on this exhibit. They feel how much harder it is to push with a force equivalent to a wind of various speeds. A visitor feels how hard it is to push back against a wind speed of about 60 mph / 100 kph, for example.
Deck Aerodynamics
Wind blowing across (transversely to) the deck of a suspension bridge can make it begin to twist – a very undesirable type of structural response. This exhibit mounts two similar scale-model bridge decks next to each other. One is aerodynamically superior to the other in subtle ways that make it stable in the breeze. The other noticeably twists. The Golden Gate Bridge has been extensively studied analytically and in wind tunnel testing to evaluate its wind performance.
Weather Station
Everybody talks about the weather – especially at the Golden Gate, where the weather is often quite different than the visitor experienced only a few miles away. This exhibit displays live weather data at the Bridge and at an inland location. Time and date are displayed, because it enhances the value of a snapshot as a memento of visiting the Bridge on a specific day.
Original and Retrofit Guardrail
The wind blowing across the deck of the Bridge is like the air flowing over the wing of an airplane. Slight changes in geometry can have a surprisingly large effect. The original guard rail on the Bridge presents a rather solid barrier to the wind, because of the width and close spacing of the vertical stiles. Retrofitting the guard rail to have slimmer vertical lines would improve the aerodynamics of the Bridge.
Ferry Vessel Weight Compared to Suspender Rope Strength
The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District operates a fleet of buses and ferry vessels as well as the Bridge. For ferry passengers, this exhibit visually communicates the strength of the Bridge. Each of the 500 vertical lines across the Bridge – the suspender ropes – is strong enough to hold up an entire fully-loaded ferry.

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