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Check Out SF’s Totally Weird “Department of Handshakes”

A new “unofficial” department opens at SF’s City Hall every Friday from Jan 12 to Feb 2
By - posted 1/10/2018

For the month of January, The Unofficial Department of Handshakes will occupy the information kiosk at the Van Ness entrance of San Francisco City Hall in an effort to observe, collect, and analyze the handshakes shared under the dome.

The Unofficial Department of Handshakes is founded by artists Alison Pebworth and Hannah Ireland and explores the handshake as one of the few cross-cultural and internationally recognized forms of touch between strangers.

The Unofficial Department of Handshakes
Every Friday from January 12 – February 2 | 10a-4p
San Francisco City Hall, Van Ness entrance information kiosk,

The artists will be on site every Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. to collect data, facilitating playful interactions with the public to investigate contemporary etiquette around different meanings and style of handshakes.

Members of the public are encouraged to participate in their research in various ways from offering their handshake for observation to sharing personal stories about the handshake. Do you remember your first handshake? Were you taught how to give a ‘proper’ handshake? What are some of the cultural variations on the handshake? Do you have an exclusive handshake you share with a friend or club?


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