An insider’s look at hidden masterpieces.

The Visible Vaults recreates part of The San Diego Museum of Art’s most carefully guarded area, a place that is invisible to most visitors—the vaults—where the thousands of works of art in our collection are stored.

Often curators cannot put everything on view that deserves to be displayed; some works of art are too fragile, some are too light-sensitive, and others do not have the proper context in the galleries. However in this behind-the-scenes display, visitors have the opportunity to discover numerous little-known masterpieces, including sculpture, ceramics, cloisonné, snuff bottles, tiles, and paintings. An insider’s look at hidden masterpieces, visitors are invited to peek into virtual storerooms.

One of the strengths of the Museum’s permanent collection is its print collection. Visible Vaults introduces guests to printmaking techniques used all over the world by showcasing a rotating selection of prominent works from the Museum’s vaults, including Japanese woodblock prints from the 19th century, notable prints from Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and sculpture by Alexander Calder, Henri Matisse, Henry Moore, Masayuke Nagare, and Auguste Rodin among others.

Prints in drawers are temporarily off view for health reasons during the COVID-19 pandemic.

More information is available on the SDMA app. All gallery labels include thumbnails where available and are organized from right to left, clockwise from entry via the Rotunda. Read the full Visible Vaults exhibition label text to see what is currently on view.