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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
Tower Height/Cable Tension
The twin cables would slope more steeply if the towers were taller. When the slope is steep, more of the tension (pulling) force in the cables is efficiently directed upward, rather than horizontally. But taller towers (the Bridge’s were the tallest in the world when built) mean more structural and construction problems and more cost – a classic engineering tradeoff.
Fort Point Arch
The fort beneath the Bridge was obsolete within a few years after its 1861 completion, due to more powerful cannon-fire that could penetrate brick walls 5 feet thick. But the Golden Gate Bridge engineers went to the trouble of spanning over it, rather than demolishing it, using a long-span arch, historic preservation ahead of its time for the 1930s. A suspension bridge works like an arch turned upside down, and vice-versa.
History Mural
The history of the Golden Gate Bridge has many themes: financial and political challenges to develop it, engineering and construction challenges to build it, the Depression-era workers who worked on it, its effect on the regional economy, its use in numerous movies and television shows.
Highlights, Facts & Figures
Illustrated extracts from the popular (6th ed.) book of the same name by Mary Currie, GGBHTD Public Affairs Director. The Bridge District has accumulated a great deal of experience answering visitor questions, and this exhibit deals with some of the most frequently recurring ones.
Seacoast Fortifications Map
From the exhibition site, it is a short walk, bike ride, or drive to numerous seacoast fortifications in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This mapbased display points the way to these attractions, with a brief overview of the eras of defensive works that span from Castillo de San Joaquin in 1794 to the age of missiles guarding against nuclear attack.
Concrete Fortification Wall Cross-section
The cut through the Battery Lancaster wall provides the view and circulation to the north, and also reveals a cross-section of a 15-foot-thick defensive wall, behind which a cannon was placed in 1898. By then, cannon fire from ships had become more powerful, making such defensive works necessary.

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,

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Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering
last updated 05.27.14