A section of the museum is dedicated to the 1906 earthquake that rocked San Francisco--as well as the fires that followed it--but curators wanted to make sure that visitors understood the consequences of the quake beyond its general devastation.
The exhibit explains that the massive fires that ravaged the city also destroyed massive amounts of public records, including birth certificates. With so many records missing, many Chinese immigrants were able to claim that they had been born in San Francisco and were American citizens, but that the papers that proved their status had burned in the fire. These people became known as "paper sons."
To illustrate the impact of the quake, the museum posted large historical photos of the aftermath of the disaster. "Scrap books" with family photos and stories that visitors can sift through help tell the story of what it was like to live in San Francisco after the turn of the century.