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 / American Art (Ongoing)
4-5 / Masters of Photography: The Garner Collection (Coming Soon)
6 / Questions of Identity (On view through January 31, 2021)
7-8 / Art of East Asia (Ongoing)
9-10 / Visible Vaults (Ongoing)
11 / German Expressionism (Ongoing)
12 / The Elephant in the Room (On view through February 7, 2021)
12-13 South / Modern and Contemporary Art (Ongoing)
12 North / Arts of South & Southeast Asia (Ongoing)
13 North / Arts of Iran (Ongoing)
14-15 / Mary Ellen Mark: Twins (On view through March 7, 2021)
16 / European Art 1300-1800 (Ongoing)
17 / Juan Sánchez Cotán and Cauleen Smith: Mystical Time and Deceptive Light (On view through April 18, 2021)
18 / Renaissance to Realism (Ongoing)
19 / Rembrandt and Printmaking in the Netherlands (On view through January 3, 2021)
20 / Visions of the West: Highlights from the Bloomberg Collection (On view through June 20, 2021)
Read gallery labels for all exhibitions for a glimpse of what is on view and to avoid crowding while in the Museum.
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 new protocols listed below are in place to make your Museum experience pleasurable and safe. Thank you for your cooperation.
- Masks are required for all visitors over the age of two per San Diego County health guidelines.
- A non-invasive temperature check is mandatory for all guests visiting the Museum.
- Plexiglass is in place at Museum admission and retail locations.
- Credit and debit card transactions encouraged.
- Hand sanitizer is available at targeted locations.
- One-way directional arrows are in effect at select areas of the Museum.
- Water fountains are shut off.
- 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.
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 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.)
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 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.