Returning to the Summer of Love: The Haight-Ashbury Museum of Psychedelic Art and History

The “Summer of Love” was a movement in the late 1960's with an epicenter at the intersection of Haight and Ashbury streets in San Francisco. It was a philosophy, a lifestyle, a fantasy, and a destination.

At the time, San Francisco’s government leaders fought an influx of student-age immigrants to the City during Spring Break in 1967. Their efforts to stop the migration of hippies to their newly defined Promise Land was to no avail. Hunter S. Thompson labeled the district "Hashbury" and the activities in the area were reported almost daily.

During that Summer of Love in 1967, the neighborhood's fame reached its peak as it became the haven for a number of the top psychedelic rock performers and groups of the time. Acts like Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin all lived a short distance from the intersection. Those who lived, or aspired to the Hippy lifestyle felt a kinship to that street corner on the west side of San Francisco, nearby the entrance to Golden Gate Park.

The Summer of Love attracted a wide range of people of various ages: teenagers and college students drawn by their peers and the allure of joining a cultural utopia; middle-class vacationers; and even partying military personnel from bases within driving distance. The Haight-Ashbury could not accommodate this rapid influx of people, and the neighborhood scene quickly deteriorated. Overcrowding, homelessness, hunger, drug problems, and crime afflicted the neighborhood.

And now, the movement known for its anarchistic views, is planning an official museum to capture that moment in time, for all of the mainstream tourists, and former hippies who visit the corner of Haight and Ashbury every year.

The Haight-Ashbury Museum of Psychedelic Art and History--a physical repository of artifacts and exhibits celebrating the golden age of hippiedom.

Befitting its communal essence, a non-profit community supported museum is being planned to “educate and inspire visitors to reinvent the world according to how they want to live.”

The museum plans to become a community center for the arts, and music, and to legitimize psychedelic art as a recognized genre in the established art world. All the while, the museum will work to promote and support psychedelic artists, present psychedelic art exhibitions, and will create a revenue stream to support indigenous groups that continue the ancient traditions of using psychedelics as a sacrament and make incredible art.

The museum is hoping to raise $30,000 to launch the museum, which will be entirely supported by donations from the public without any government support. They are using the crowd-sourced online fundraising site IndieGoGo to raise funds.

"Something magical was happening in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, a grand sociology experiment was underway," explained legendary activist Peter Coyote in a video promoting the project (see below). "A diverse bunch of bold, inventive and daring idealists were experimenting with new ways of interacting and living with each other and, in the process, these free-thinkers--with their ideals of love, freedom, peace and creativity--attracted international attention and radically impacted and shaped the united states and the world forever."

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