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Tour Options

Special Exhibition Tours

Divine Bodies
March 9 – July 29, 2018 
How can we see the human in the divine and the divine in the human?

Historical sculptures and paintings from mainly Hindu and Buddhist traditions in conversation with contemporary photo-based work spark questions about the links between physical and metaphysical, earthly and ethereal, body and cosmos. Images of gods, buddhas, and humans invite you to ponder the power of transformation, the possibility of transcendence and how to find meaning in an impermanent world. 

Traces of the Past and Future: A Retrospective of Fu Shen’s Painting and Calligraphy
December 5, 2017-September 2, 2018
Celebrated for bringing out the painterly quality of calligraphy and weaving his own narrative into ethereal landscapes, scholar-artist Fu Shen draws on his decades of study to both honor and extend the tradition of Chinese ink art. 

The exhibition, Fu's first retrospective in the United States, honors the scholar-artist on his 80th birthday. His faithful yet fresh interpretations of Chinese ink art will give you a new understanding of that venerated tradition.

A Guided Tour of Hell: Seeing Beyond the Horizon of Death
April 20 – September 16, 2018 
Take a guided tour of the underworld with the Buddha of Hell as guide. Drawing on both Tibetan tradition and the art of graphic novels, Pema Namdol Thaye's vivid paintings portray a harrowing descent into the realms of hell. Scenes of suffering encourage us to contemplate the karmic consequences of negative actions.

Collection Tours

Please note: Our 3rd Floor galleries will be closed mid-June-December 2018 while our 2nd Floor galleries will be closed January-April 2019. Mark your calendars and be the first to tour these newly renovated galleries in 2019! For a full list of tours available when the galleries re-open please contact groupvisits@asianart.org.

Great Works
Take a trip across Asia with highlights of the Asian Art Museum’s rich collection, investigating diverse and intriguing cultures as well as sacred and secular art. This is both the perfect introduction to the Asian Art Museum’s collection for the first-time visitor and a superb way to experience the collection over and over again. 

Asian Ceramics
The Asian Art Museum’s comprehensive ceramics collection showcases the decorative motifs and technologies that evolved from Neolithic times to the exquisite wares of later periods which were prized throughout the world for their beauty and importance as trade and tribute objects. Ceramics from across Asian are explored. 

The Japanese Aesthetic
Explore the aesthetically appealing range of objects in the Asian’s Japan galleries in diverse mediums from painting to ceramics. Particularly appealing are the bamboo baskets which are rotated on a regular basis so there is always something new to discover. 

The Spirit of Korean Art
Become enchanted by the Asian Art Museum’s collection of Korean art. On view are objects which show the beauty of Goryeo-dynasty celadons (pale sea-green porcelain and fine pottery) and rare unglazed stoneware from the Three Kingdoms and Unified Silla periods and a selection of unique contemporary ceramics and works in other materials. The galleries also include a large group of paintings that range in style from courtly to scholarly and Buddhist to folk. 

Architecture Tours

The Asian Art Museum opened in its Civic Center location in March 2003 in San Francisco’s former Main Library building. The original building was designed by George Kelham in the Beaux-Arts style and opened as the library in 1917. With this tour, you’ll explore the historically preserved architectural features of the original building and learn how Italian architect Gae Aulenti applied adaptive reuse techniques to transform it into a museum. You’ll also discover the secrets of earthquake retrofitting and the importance of a building’s design to the art it holds.

We’re Growing! The Asian Art Museum is transforming the visitor experience of our world-renowned collection, exhibitions and cultural programs. In early 2018, construction begins on the centerpiece of this transformation: a new 13,000-square-foot exhibition Pavilion and Art Terrace designed by architect Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY and added to the east side of the museum’s Civic Center home. As a new addition to architecture tours, you will learn about these exciting plans.

Stroller Tours

Stroller Tours
Get together with other moms, dads and caregivers along with their babies (ages 0-2 years old) for a Stroller Tour at the Asian Art Museum. Join a docent for an engaging tour that highlights either our world-renowned collections or current special exhibitions. Tours begin at 9:30 am before the museum opens to the public. Fussy babies are always welcome!

Let a Stroller Tour be the perfect way to start a family weekend! Tickets are required and need to be purchased in advance. $25 Adults, Members $10, Children 12 and under are always free. Tickets may not be refunded or exchanged.

Get your tickets now for upcoming tours:

Friday, July 6, 2018 
A Guided Tour of Hell
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Friday, August 3, 2018
Great Works
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Friday, September 7, 2018
Japanese Aesthetic
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Custom Tours

Planning a trip to Asia soon? Learn more about your destination before getting on the plane! Let us know your itinerary and one of our expert docents will create a customized tour through our collection galleries that focuses on the regions you will be visiting. You’ll gain insight based on the artwork we have on view as well as your docent’s own personal experiences.

For more information on this one-of-a-kind tour, please contact Group Visits at 415.581.3620 or groupvisits@asianart.org.

Monday and After Hours

Want the museum all to yourself? Book a private tour when the museum is normally closed to the public! Choose from any of the Special Exhibition or Collection tour options above. Tours are one to one-and-a-half hours in length, and you have the option to enhance your visit with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres arranged through our Rentals department (additional fees apply). This experience is perfect for a get-together with friends or a company retreat!

Package price for up to 20 people: $450

After Hours
Package price for up to 10 people: $350
Package price for up to 20 people: $600

Community Speakers Program

Can’t make it to the museum? Let us bring the museum to you! A docent from the Asian Art Museum's Community Speakers Program can deliver an educational and entertaining multimedia talk at your location. Visit the Community Speakers Program page for more information or to request a talk.