Library spaces open to UCSF ID holders. See timeline for reopening.

Bernard Zakheim Murals at UCSF

Mural panel

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is pleased to present a digital experience for viewing the set of New Deal-era murals, titled “The History of Medicine in California,” and other murals painted by Polish-born artist Bernard Zakheim in the 1930s. Once located in a century-old seismically vulnerable building that threatened the integrity of the murals, UCSF approved a plan based on community input for their preservation and eventual relocation for public exhibition.

Take a tour

The University has partnered with CyArk, a nonprofit company dedicated to preserving and sharing the world’s most important cultural heritage, to create high-resolution 3D images of the murals in their original setting at Parnassus Heights and to increase accessibility for the UCSF community and the public.

History of Medicine in California

full length

History of Medicine in California


Ancient and Modern Medicine

full length

For a VR experience, check out the guided tour on Steam.


The Bernard Zakheim murals were captured in Toland Hall and Health Sciences West lecture halls at UCSF.  

Aaron Jackson, a PhD candidate in the History of Health Sciences at UCSF, conducted extensive research on the murals and wrote the narrative.  

The UCSF Archives and Special Collections team provided additional research and support for this project.

  • Andre Campbell, MD, FACS, FACP, FCCM, MAMSE
  • Lisa Cisneros 
  • Cheryl Cox 
  • Won Ha 
  • Kathleen Hennessy 
  • Aaron Jackson 
  • Renee Chapman Navarro, Pharm D, MD 
  • Alejandra Rincón, PhD 
  • Erik Wieland

“Bridget ‘Biddy’ Mason.” U.S. National Park Service, February 7, 2021. 

Cook, S. F. “Smallpox in Spanish and Mexican California 1770-1845.” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 7, no. 2 (1939): 153–91. 

Cooper, Douglas. UCSF Medical Sciences Building Murals. VHS. University of California, San Francisco. Office of the Chancellor, 2003. Film. 

Groh, George. “Doctors of the Frontier.” American Heritage 14, no. 3 (April 1963). 

Hansen, Bert. “Medical History as Fine Art in American Mural Painting of the 1930s.” Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 36 (2019): 111 – 80. 

Hailey, Gene. 1937. California art research first series: vol. 20, part 2. San Francisco: W.P.A.  

Harris, Henry. California’s Medical Story. San Francisco: J.W. Stacey, Inc., 1932. 

Hughes, Maggie. “Women’s History Month: The First Female Graduates of UCSF.” Brought to Light: Stories from UCSF Archives and Special Collections (blog), March 25, 2014. 

Izquierdo, José Joaquín. Los cuadros murales de la Facultad de Medicina de San Francisco, California. México: N.p., 1942. Print. 

“Joseph Allen, Phyllis Wrightson, Bernard Zakheim, and F. Stanley Durie in Front of UCSF Toland Hall Mural.” Digital resource published by the Regents of the University of California, circa 1939. MSS 2014-15. UCSF Archives and Special Collections. 

Leake, Chauncey D. “How I Am.” Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology 16, no. 1 (April 1976): 1–16. 

———. “The Opportunity for Pictorial Art in Modern Medicine: An Example in San Francisco,” 1938. Zakheim (Bernard) Collection. UCSF Archives and Special Collections. 

———. “Toland Hall mural tour by Chauncey Leake, August 1977.” . 

Linder, Howard K. “Mining Camp Medicine: Physician-Adventurers of Early California.” California Medicine 108, no. 3 (March 1968). 

Riedel, Stefan. “Edward Jenner and the History of Smallpox and Vaccination.” Proceedings (Baylor University Medical Center) 18, no. 1 (January 2005): 21–25. 

Schindler, Robert. “Toland Hall Murals: an Oral History.” Video tour of the murals painted by Bernard Zakheim in Toland Hall at the University of California, San Francisco, May 5, 1996. . 

Voisin George, Laura. “Is That Biddy Mason in a UCSF Toland Hall Fresco?” The Long Road to Freedom (blog), May 26, 2020. 

Weiler, Nicholas. “The Open Hand: A Conversation with the Descendants of Biddy Mason.” UCSF, September 28, 2020. 

Zakheim, Bernard, and Phyllis Wrightson. California’s Medical Story in Fresco: An Illustrated Account of the Fresco Decorations on the Wall of Toland Hall, University of California Medical Center, San Francisco. Federal Art Project, 1939. 

Zakheim, Masha. The Art of Medicine: Zakheim Frescoes, the University of California, San Francisco. San Francisco, 1994.

Chauncey Depew Leake Papers, 1912-1978. MSS 78-6. UCSF Archives and Special Collections, San Francisco, CA. 

Zakheim (Bernard) Collection. MSS 2014-15. UCSF Archives and Special Collections, San Francisco, CA. 

Fountain Tallman Museum, El Dorado County Historical Society, Placerville, CA. 

San Francisco Historical Society, San Francisco, CA. 

University of California Libraries, Calisphere, The Regents of the University of California. 

Brendan C. Lindsay, Ph.D., California State University, Sacramento. Author of Murder State: California’s Native American Genocide 1846-1873 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2012). 

Terri A. Castaneda, Ph.D., California State University, Sacramento. Author of Marie Mason Potts: The Lettered Life of a California Indian Activist (Tulsa: University of Oklahoma Press, 2020).