Guided Tours

Free Guided Tours inside the Museum are now available. Highly trained Museum docents are offering as many as two public tours each day. Each tour lasts approximately 30-40 minutes. Sign up for guided tours the day of your visit at the Visitor Relations desk or Docent desk, both located near the Museum entrance. Same-day registration is required. Space is limited.

Virtual Tours

Virtual Tours now available. In the interest of public health and safety due to COVID-19, 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 virtual 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.

Times and tour offering subject to change without notice.


Tour Topics

Guided and virtual tours are offered on a variety of subjects, including special exhibitions, major collection areas of the Museum collection, and specialty topics exploring art thematically.

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.

Art of the Americas
This virtual tour presents a selection of remarkable works from The San Diego Museum of Art’s current installation, Art of the Americas. Exploring artworks across time and place, the tour highlights the role of art and artists in society, stimulating a dialogue about identity, cultural diversity, social awareness, and inclusion.

Art of Persia
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.

La Jolla Cove by Alfred Richard Mitchell 1965.26

California Dreamin’
Live the dream as you explore works of art of California and by Californians.  Experience the natural beauty and the wonderful diversity of the people and places of the Golden State.

Masters of Photography
View over 100 stunning photographs by 43 artists in this wide-ranging special exhibition of works from the Cam and Wanda Garner collection. Images are grouped according to three themes: Reflecting on Nature: Majesty and Mystery; Things as They Are: City, Society, and Conflict; and Manipulating Reality: Abstraction and Allegory. The works span more than 100 years of photography, from pioneering efforts in the early 20th century to the present day.

Reflections of Childhood
Children have been popular subjects in art throughout many eras and many lands, whether it be as subjects of portraiture, objects of maternal affection, or energetic figures at work or play. In some religious traditions, even depictions of sacred children play important roles. This tour will celebrate the many facets of childhood as shown through art.

To Read or Not To Read: Books and Letters in Paintings
To read or Not to Read, explores the significance of books and letters in various paintings in the Museum’s permanent collection.

A Winter Day in Japanese Woodblock Prints
How many ways are there to depict snow on a winter day? To appreciate the poetic and moving beauty of the winter season and its best feature—snow—join the virtual tour A Winter Day in Japanese Woodblock Prints. The intriguing works of Hokusai, Hiroshige, Hasui Kawase, and other masters of this classical genre from the permanent collection of The San Diego Museum of Art convey their deep admiration for frosty weather.


Tour Schedule

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

In-person guided tours are currently offered at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., noon, or 1:00 p.m. See the upcoming schedule below or check-in with the Visitor Relations team at the Museum entrance for the day’s schedule and tour topics. Sign up for guided tours the day of your visit at the Visitor Relations desk or Docent desk, both located near the Museum entrance. Same-day registration is required. Space is limited. Guided tours are free with Museum admission.

Times and tour offering subject to change without notice.


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. | Otto Henry Schneider,  Migration, ca. 1937. Oil on canvas. Gift of Dr. Norval H. Pierce. 1937.21. | Reza Abbasi, A standing youth in a striped coat, ca. 1610. Opaque watercolor on paper. Gift of Edwin Binney 3rd, 1971.66. | Alfred Richard Mitchell. La Jolla Cove. 1950. Oil on canvas. Gift of the artist. 1965.26| William Edward Dassonville. Yosemite Valley, 1905. Platinum print. Collection of Cam and Wanda Garner | Serizawa Keisuke, Children Having Tea,, undated. Katazome on paper. Gift of Isamu Kawaguchi, 2002.64. | Charles-Édouard Boutibonne, Return from the Promenade, ca. 1868. Oil on panel. Gift of Mrs. Frances M. Knight. 1963.16. | Kawase Hasui. Zojoji Temple in Shiba, 1925. Katazome on paper. Gift of Alice Klauber and commemorating the Silver Jubilee Celebration of Fine Arts Society. 1950.32.58.