Self-Guided Audio Tour

San Francisco’s Buried History

Journey through San Francisco’s early history, as archaeologists and other experts describe Gold Rush ships and other artifacts that lie buried beneath your feet.

About San Francisco’s Buried History

What's beneath your feet? Discover sailing ships from the Gold Rush, underground creeks, sacred Indigenous shellmounds, and rock formations shaped over millions of years. San Francisco's Buried History is an online audio walking tour that uses interviews, photos, and augmented reality to delve beneath the streets to reveal Gold Rush history, natural history, and the past and continuing presence of Indigenous peoples.

Be sure to download and print this map, which lets you access the tour's augmented reality features.

Tour stop number 1 is located outside the Exploratorium at Pier 15, so we encourage you to begin there. But you can explore the 12 tour stops in any order, or even take the tour from home or wherever you are.

Find out who funded this project and helped make it possible.

Discover More Buried History at the Exploratorium

View of San Francisco from the Exploratorium's Bay Observatory Gallery

The Fisher Bay Observatory (Gallery 6) is the Exploratorium’s home for investigating the history and local landscape of downtown San Francisco. This glass-walled gallery lets you make observations of the urban and natural landscape and discover its history. Cases of Gold Rush artifacts, interactive exhibits, and a browsable collection of historic maps and atlases will deepen your understanding of San Francisco’s dramatic and ongoing change since the 1800s.

Visit the Exploratorium’s Fisher Bay Observatory in San Francisco at Pier 15.

About the Exploratorium

Located in San Francisco, the Exploratorium is a public learning laboratory exploring the world through science, art, and human perception. We create tools and experiences that help you to become an active explorer: hundreds of interactive exhibits, a website with more than 35,000 pages of content, film screenings, evening art and science events for adults, plus much more. We also create professional development programs for educators, and are at the forefront of changing the way science is taught. We share our exhibits and expertise with museums worldwide.