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The Pan Pacific Exhibition comes to town.

The Palace of Fine Arts isn’t just a pretty face.

This fall, the historic site will once again be a draw for what it offers on the inside with a year-long exhibition to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

“All cities have moments – defining moments – which forever change the image and nature of that city, and for San Francisco, the success of the 1915 World Fair marked a prosperous new beginning after the horrific experiences of 1906,” said Mayor Ed Lee in his announcement of the exhibition Wednesday. “I am thrilled that these exhibits will be a part of our citywide celebration of 1915. It’s a uniquely San Francisco way to celebrate a centennial – to focus on then, now and the future.”

The commemoration, called “Then, Now and Tomorrow,” will feature rotating exhibitions that include the Smithsonian Institute’s exhibit, “Innovation and Invention at Play.”

Coffee was a big deal in SF even in 1915

Coffee was a big deal in SF even in 1915

The city is working with the Maybeck Foundation, the California Historical Society and Innovation Hangar, which will host the project’s Exhibition Hall.

“As stewards of these important landmarks, we strive to honor their history every day and look forward to celebrating it with all of San Francisco,” said Phil Ginsburg, general manager of the city’s Recreation and Park Department, which oversees the Palace of Fine Arts facilities.

The Palace in 1915

The Palace in 1915

While the exhibition will open in the fall, the official kick-off will be held the weekend of Feb. 20, 2015, the actual opening of the Panama-Pacific fair in 1915 at the Palace.

Jill Tucker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:, Twitter: @jilltucker