Hours & Information

Virtual Tours now available. In the interest of public health and safety due to COVID-19, in-person tours in the Museum are not being offered at this time.  Instead, docents are hosting Virtual Tours online. Each tour lasts approximately 50 minutes and is offered on the Zoom platform. 

See the tour schedule below to view the calendar of tours and register to attend. Prior registration for these FREE tours is required. Upon registration, the online link to the selected tour will be sent by email along with instructions.


Tour Topics

Still life image of fruit

Treasures of The San Diego Museum of Art
Enjoy a survey of the highlights of the Museum’s permanent collection, featuring masterpieces from many time periods, cultures, and places around the world.

All Creatures Great and Small
Animal lovers, join us for a lighthearted look at the roles animals play in art. Sometimes our furry or feathered friends take center stage and other times they are on the sidelines in symbolic roles.  In this tour we will not only enjoy some animal companionship but look at art spanning many cultures and eras as we discuss why the artists included our animal friends. 

Anything Goes: 20th Century Art
Art in the 20th century underwent a profound revolution that challenged traditional notions of technique, subject matter, and the very nature of art that had prevailed for centuries. This tour will examine important works in our permanent collection that illustrate these exciting changes. 

Art of East AsiaChina, Japan, and Korea
The essence of the art of East Asia is explored in this tour of works from China, Japan, and Korea. Artworks from 3,000 BCE to the present day will be viewed and participants will gain a deeper understanding of the culture, history, and religions of these three historic countries.

Art of Latin America
Immerse yourself in the rich artistic heritage of Latin America during this in-depth look at the work of some of the most important artists from this dynamic part of the world. Primarily focusing on the Museum’s excellent collection of Mexican art, this encore virtual tour will consider important innovations in painting, printmaking, sculpture, and photography.

Art of PersiaNEW
Explore the culture of ancient Persia (modern day Iran) as we look at works of art made in bronze, clay, and paper dating from about 1,000 BCE to the 17th century CE. Learn how Persians lived, their love of fashion and poetry, and their contributions in the field of medicine and science that still benefit us today.

Art of South and Southeast Asia
Journey to the world of South and Southeast Asia through the Museum’s fascinating and diverse collection, which spans almost 2,000 years. This virtual tour will examine works of art from India, Thailand, Tibet, Sri Lanka, and beyond, focusing on the vast range of materials and subject matter that are the foundation of the art and material culture of the region.

Changing Forms of Buddhist Art
Buddhism and Buddhist art spread from India along the Silk Road to other regions in Asia.  This tour will explore the differences that time, place, and cultural traditions had on depictions of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas in these various regions.   

Christian Saints in Art – NEW
Throughout the history of Christian art, images of the Saints have instructed and inspired the faithful.  Explore various ways that artists from the Middle Ages to the present have depicted these extraordinary figures.   

Cranach to Canaletto: Masterpieces from the Bemberg Foundation
Tour a selection of stunning Old Master paintings from the more than seventy-five works presented in Cranach to Canaletto: Masterpieces from the Bemberg Foundation.  These works, exemplifying themes of portraiture, landscape, mythology, and domestic environments, reflect the unique personal taste of the connoisseur who assembled this remarkable private collection, Georges Bemberg.

Everything You See Could Be a Lie:  The Photorealistic Drawings of Ana de Alvear
Don’t be fooled. There is more to these still-life images than initially meets the eye. Join a docent-led virtual tour of Everything You See Could Be a Lie: The Photorealistic Drawings of Ana de Alvear to learn how the Madrid-based multidisciplinary artist challenges long-held opinions about what constitutes art and how art is made, raises questions about modern society, and invites viewers to dig deep and examine their own identities.

A Face is Worth a Thousand Words: Portrait Painting – NEW
Since the Renaissance, there has been a yearning to reflect and memorialize people in portraiture. The virtual tour A Face is Worth a Thousand Words: Portrait Painting explores diverse approaches and mediums to this popular genre from the mid-sixteenth century to today. Join us to examine the likeness, identity, personality, perceived mood of the sitter, and more, all from portraits in the Museum’s permanent collection. 

A Gallop Through Time…On a Horse, of Course
The horse was one of the first subjects of art, depicted in cave paintings and sculptures nearly 20,000 years ago. Whether sacred symbols or images of power and beauty, the subject of horses continues to inspire the artists of today. View the Museum’s collection from ancient Asian sculptures and Chinese ceramics to European and American painting.   

Gods, Heroes, and Monsters—Mythological Figures in Western Art – New
Greek and Roman mythology have been important aspects of Western literature and art for over 2500 years.  In this virtual tour, we will view sculptures, paintings, etchings, and engravings spanning six centuries that all contain mythological figures.  We will view the art, explore the stories behind the figures, and also discuss current-day messages for many of these.   

Paintings from the Confinement: Works by Marianela de la Hoz
Enjoy a close-up look and discussion of 11 intimate egg tempera paintings created by San Diego-based artist Marianela de la Hoz in 2020 to 2021 in response to the life-changing global pandemic of COVID-19.  This virtual tour offers an armchair visit to the exhibition on view at the Museum from now until May 2022.

Rebels with a Cause: Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Painters
Western art was radically transformed starting in the mid-nineteenth century by a number of artists who challenged traditional norms and concepts of painting.  These “rebels with paintbrushes” created new types of art beginning with Impressionism and the diverse styles designated as Post-Impressionism that laid the foundations for later forms of modern and contemporary art.

Spiritual Art Around the World
Why are we here? How should we live? Is there life after death? See how cultures around the world address humankind’s universal questions through devotional or spiritual masterworks such as Renaissance and Baroque painting, African masks, Indian miniature painting, and Asian sculpture.


Tour Schedule

See the calendar of upcoming virtual tours at the Museum below.


Specialty Tours

Memories at the Museum | Alzheimer Tour

Participate in “Memories at the Museum” a collaboration with UCSD’s Alzheimer’s Research Center, the Timken Museum, Mingei International, and MOPA to offer tours to people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s. Outreach program serves student, senior centers, libraries, community organizations. Tours are currently being offered through Zoom. For more information please email Dr. James Grebl, Manager of Docent Programs, at jgrebl@sdmart.org.

Featured: Juan Sánchez Cotán, Still Life with Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber, ca. 1602. Oil on canvas. Gift of Anne R. and Amy Putnam, 1945.43. | Nicolaes Maes (AKA Nicholaas Maas), Portrait of a Girl (detail), ca. 1664. Oil on canvas.  Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Appleton S. Bridges, 1926.120. | René Magritte (AKA René-François-Ghislain Magritte), The Shadows, 1966. Oil on canvas. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Norton S. Walbridge, 1976.205. | Katsushika Hokusai, 36 Views of Mt. Fuji: Mount Fuji in a Thunderstorm, 1823-1829. Woodblock. Bequest of Mrs. Cora Timken Burnett, 1957.176. | Alfredo Ramos Martínez. Indian with Cactus, ca. 1930. Tempera on laminated board. Fine Arts Society purchase. 1932.1. | Reza Abbasi, A standing youth in a striped coat, ca. 1610. Opaque watercolor on paper. Gift of Edwin Binney 3rd, 1971.66. | The Sports of Love, mid-16th century. Opaque watercolor and ink on paper. Edwin Binney 3rd Collection, 1990.586. | | Buddha Shakyamuni in the earth-touching gesture, ca. 13th century. Bronze Sculpture. Bequest of Pliny F. Munger,  1964.225.a-b. | Domenikos Theotokopoulos (AKA El Greco; Kryiakos Theotokopoulos), The Penitent Saint Peter, ca 1590-1595. Oil on Canvas. Gift of Anne R. and Amy Putnam. 1940.76. | Lucas Cranach. Portrait of Sibylle de Cleve. IL 2021.1.5. | Ana de Alvear. Romantic/Eight Butterflies One Ladybug. IL 2020.9.14. | Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Girl in White Dress (Sara Mazo), ca. 1934. Oil on Canvas. Bequest of Earle W. Grant, 1972.53. | Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (AKA Henri-Marie-Ramond de Toulouse-Lautrec Monfa), The Jockey (detail), 1899. Lithograph. Gift of the Baldwin M. Baldwin Foundation, 1987.104. | Antoine-Louis Barye. Theseus Slaying the Minotaur. ca. 1843. Bronze. Gift of Pliny F. Munger,1962.225. | Marianela de la Hoz. Once upon a Time, There Was a Grandmother Who Lived Inside a Cell Phone. IL2021.4.8. | Claude Monet, Haystacks at Chailly, ca. 1865. Oil on canvas. Museum purchase, 1982.20. | Quran Page (detail), ca. 1335. Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper. Edwin Binney 3rd Collection, 1990.239.