To say that the Colma Historical Association is just a historical association, or just a museum, severely understates the experience which is just as eclectic as San Francisco itself.
Spread out over four buildings (the main museum, the Old Colma Railroad Station Depot, the Freight Shed, and the Blacksmith’s Shed), the facilities include not only information and guides to Colma’s 14 cemeteries, which were established after San Francisco cemeteries were by law displaced outside of the city proper. The museum also includes, at loose count: historical embalming equipment; a portable undertaker’s table; a collection of hair jewelry; displays on historical household equipment; a collection of artifacts from San Francisco’s flower child generation, including a collection of vintage political buttons; a collection of vintage typewriters; railway equipment; blacksmithing equipment; and an array of local guides available to assist with research about Colma and to give customized tours (interested in the famous dead of Colma? the stained glass? the pet cemetery? you have only to ask).
All of this is presided over by the gracious and knowledgable current president and long time Colma resident Patricia Hatfield - this small museum which is never busy is a must see for anyone interested in the history of Colma, of San Francisco, or any eclectic historic collections really.
Know Before You Go
On the hillside, above the Italian Cemetery