Cartoon Art Museum Finds New Home in San Francisco

Front of the Cartoon Art Museum's newest location. (Photo: Courtesy of Cartoon Art Museum)

After being homeless for more than a year, San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum has found a new location for its thousands of cartoon and comic book artifacts.

This week the museum signed a 10-year lease on a historic, 8,000-square-foot brick building a block away from Ghiradelli Square, and museum staff hope to open its doors to the public by spring of next year.

This is the fourth home for the museum, which was founded in 1984. It counts approximately 7,000 pieces in its permanent collection and attracts 30,000 visitors annually. From 2001 to 2015, the museum was located on Mission Street, near the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, but it vacated the space last June after its rent was doubled.

"We had a great landlord when we were at our old place on Mission Street, but the writing was on the wall," Summerlea Kashar, the museum's executive director, said.

Its massive collection, which includes work from comic artists ranging from Jack Kirby to Daniel Clowes, was locked away in storage while Kashar and the museum's board searched for a new home in the city. Kashar said the board considered moving out of the region, but after taking into account the diversity of the Bay Area and its historic ties to comics -- the birthplace of Mutt and Jeff; the home of Last Gasp Comics and Pixar; the longtime residence of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, who provided a $200,000-endowment to the museum in 1987 -- it was decided that the collection needed to stay here.


"Should we go somewhere else? Is there somewhere else for us to go? Where else would we consider if there was a place?" Kashar said. "And ultimately it did come down to, we just thought San Francisco was the right place for us to be."