Your Guide to The San Diego Museum of Art

From the Art of East Asia to German Expressionism, there is something for everyone at The San Diego Museum of Art. Find exhibition listings, gallery locations, and where to catch a glimpse of the larger-than-life works featured in the Art of the Open Air sculpture walk. Find your own work of art to take home from The Museum Store and don’t forget to visit Panama 66, the Museum’s restaurant offering locally sourced food, draft beer, craft cocktails, and live music on select evenings.

And download the SDMA App to learn more about the works in the galleries as well as the public art in the Plaza de Panama and the May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden. Hear fascinating stories behind the art, artists, and styles through curator-led videos and custom audio tours.

Now On View

1-3 / Art of the Americas (Ongoing)

4-5 / Masters of Photography: The Garner Collection (Coming soon)

6 / Of Sea and Sand: California Paintings (Ongoing)

7-8 /  Art of East Asia (Ongoing)

9-10 /  Visible Vaults (Ongoing)

11 / German Expressionism (Ongoing)

12 / Pearls from the Ocean of Contentment (Ongoing)

12-13 South / Modern and Contemporary Art (Ongoing)

12 North / Arts of South & Southeast Asia (Ongoing)

13 North / Arts of Iran (Ongoing)

14-15 / Disestablishment: John Raymond Mireles (On view through January 30, 2022)

16 / Art of Devotion (Ongoing)

17 / Art of the Portrait (Ongoing)

18 / Renaissance to Realism (Ongoing)

19 / Impressionism and Post-Impressionism (Ongoing)

20 / A Dogon Figure from Mali: Bridge to the Spirit World (On view through January 9, 2022)

Read gallery labels for all exhibitions for a glimpse of what is on view and to avoid crowding while in the Museum.

Museum Guidelines

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.

Enhanced Safety Precautions due to COVID-19
There are currently enhanced safety precautions in place at the Museum. The protocols listed below are in place to make your Museum experience pleasurable and safe. Thank you for your cooperation.

  • Masks remain required for unvaccinated individuals over the age of two.
  • Plexiglass is in place at Museum admission and retail locations.
  • Credit and debit card transactions encouraged.
  • Hand sanitizer is available at targeted locations.
  • Enhanced cleaning schedules of high-touch areas remain in place.
  • Handheld maps and brochures are not available. Instead, we encourage visitors to use the SDMA app.
  • To avoid crowding around individual works of art to read the label, we’ve provided the option to read gallery labels online.

See all the information about the Museum’s reopening.

The Museum Is a Welcoming Shared Space
The San Diego Museum of Art is a welcoming space. All who share this space are expected to treat others with respect and dignity. Anyone whose conduct is disruptive, abusive, or discriminatory will be asked to adjust their behavior and may be asked to leave the premises.

We welcome you to bring your service animal into the Museum. Pets are not allowed.

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 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 14.

The Museum reserves the right to restrict admission to visitors wearing certain types of clothing that could pose a danger to our works of art (e.g. face masks, long-protruding objects, etc.)

Coat Check
For your comfort, we ask you 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 or worn on the front, 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
We encourage our visitors to share their experiences and photos with friends. For that reason, non-flash 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. Flash photography, the use of tripods, monopods, extension sticks (also known as selfie sticks), and the use of movie or video cameras are prohibited.

Please also note that 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 whether photography is permitted, please ask a Museum Attendant.

The Museum reserves the right to enforce no photography rules on particularly busy days.

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 that visitors complete a Sketching Permit Form during their visit before sketching, available at the front Admissions Desk. 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 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.

Touching Art
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.

Museum Map

Thomas Moran, Below the Towers of Tower Falls, Yellowstone Park, 1909. Oil on canvas. Gift of Lydia and Etta Schwieder. 1968.48.