Whether you're a first-time museum visitor or a lifelong member of The San Diego Museum of Art, we welcome you and thank you for visiting. Please be aware of our museum guidelines, which are designed to make your visit enjoyable.
We are a bilingual museum and you will find all our exhibition texts in English and Spanish.
The San Diego Museum of Art has 20 galleries of art from around the world.
Animals are not allowed in the Museum except for therapy and service animals.
Benches and Stools
Please enjoy the benches placed throughout the galleries. If you wish to use a portable stool, please ask at the Admission Desk.
Children Are Welcome!
The Museum is an enjoyable and fascinating place for children of all ages. Please make sure that they are always accompanied by an adult. We encourage children and adults to create and display your own art in The Studio.
We want children to enjoy the galleries. We invite them to talk, laugh, and move around freely. However, running and other physical activity in which they can hurt themselves or damage the works of art are not permitted.
For groups, we request one adult for every ten children under the age of 15.
For your comfort, you may use the Coat Check to stow food, beverages, backpacks, oversized items, umbrellas, and other objects not allowed in the galleries as space permits. Backpack-style child carriers must be left at Coat Check, but strollers are allowed in all gallery spaces.
Eating and Drinking Are Not Allowed in the Galleries
Food and beverages including chewing gum and bottled water are not allowed in the galleries.
Photograph with Care
Still photography of objects in the Museum’s permanent collection is permitted for private use only. Photographs may not be published, sold, reproduced, transferred, distributed, or otherwise commercially exploited in any manner.
Photography is not permitted in special exhibitions or in areas designated, ‘No Photography'. Please check for the ‘No Photography Allowed’ symbol at gallery entrances, or on a work of art’s label. If you're not sure if photography is permitted, please ask a Gallery Attendant.
Works of art on loan to the Museum may not be photographed.
Flash photography, the use of tripods, monopods, extension sticks (also known as selfie sticks), and the use of movie or video cameras are prohibited.
Some artworks in the Museum's collection may be viewed in The Studio and are available for purchase in The Museum Store. Photographs may also be viewed on the Museum’s website.
For press or special photography project needs, please contact the Marketing Department at: 619.696.1946.
The Museum reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to withhold and/or withdraw permission to photograph on its premises.
Sketch with Pencils
The Museum requires a Sketching Permit Form, available at the Admission Desk, to be completed in advance. Once you complete the form, you will be issued a sticker so that Gallery Attendants will know that you’ve been approved for sketching. Groups of 10 or more must complete a Sketching Permit Form at least two weeks in advance. Please contact the Admission Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Visitors may sketch with pencil, colored pencils, or crayons. Ink pens and chalk are not allowed in the galleries, except in designated art making areas. Please take care not to gesture with your pencil or other tools so as not to endanger the works of art.
Drawing surfaces – including hand-held sketchpads, notebooks, and drawing boards – must be 15” x 17” or smaller. Visitors may not use easels, and may not prop materials against walls and display cases, nor spread out on the floor.
Talk About It
We encourage dialogue in the galleries, but please be courteous to others. Please limit cell phone conversations to non-gallery spaces, such as the John M. & Sally B. Thornton Rotunda, or outside. Your sticker enables you to re-enter as many times as you need during your visit.
It is tempting to touch a work of art. Though one touch may not seem like much, even the slightest contact can damage the surface of a painting, discolor stone, and even rust metal. A good rule is to keep a 12 inch safety zone between you and a work of art. This helps to avoid accidental touching or bumping. As it is the Museum’s responsibility to make sure works of art remain safe, we thank you for not touching on behalf of future generations of visitors. Please do not lean on walls or cases, either to write or for physical support. Feel free to sit on the benches or the floor as you look, talk, write, or draw.
Tours and Groups
If there is a tour or program in the galleries, feel free to enter the gallery but we ask that you move around the group.