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#SFLegacyBiz Spotlight: SF Microscopical Society

Recommended by the Historic Preservation Commission to join the Legacy Business Registry on May 4, 2022, the San Francisco Microscopical Society (SFMS) has a history dating back over 150 years.

The Society has roots dating back to 1870, when it was originally formed by two members of the California Academy of Sciences, Hiram Bloomer and Henry Hanks. The Society’s original constitution, bylaws, and articles of incorporation date back to 1872. SFMS was established with the intention of studying the use of microscopes in science through periodic meetings, which consisted of discussion, research, demonstrations, and topic lectures pertaining to microscopy.

Early rooms of the San Francisco Microscopical Society, n.d. Image courtesy of SFMS’s legacy business application.

The San Francisco Microscopical Society met through 1905, when it then disbanded, and subsequently re-formed in 1946 under the guidance of George Needham, but was not officially registered with the California Secretary of State until 1954. It has continuously operated for the past 68 years and is the only society of its kind in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Microscopical Society at the Bay Area Science Festival at Oracle Park, May 2022. Photo courtesy of NBC Bay Area.

Though its physical location has changed many times during its existence, SFMS has continuously provided a gathering place for microscopy enthusiasts. From its inception, the Society has conducted research, published articles, hosted demonstrations and lectures, and provided education for a range of topics pertaining to microscopy. Scientific topics explored by SFMS research and events have varied greatly, and include geology, botany, biology, epidemiology, paleontology, and many more.

SFMS also continues to give back to the community it serves, primarily through its outreach and microscope education events. It provides anyone in the public with a curiosity about microscopes an opportunity to connect with others with a similar curiosity and with those who are experts in
microscopy. Further, SFMS strives to make microscopy accessible to all and offers expert advice to a range of individuals, including those who are just learning how to use a microscope, to institutions seeking advice from professional microscopists.

SFMS is always looking for new members of any background and experience level. If you could use a friendly community that enjoy exploring the microscopic world, sign up here.


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Read SFMS’s full legacy business application here.


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