Situated in downtown’s Balboa Park (the home of the 1915–1916 Panama-Pacific Exhibition), the San Diego Museum of Art is the fortunate recipient of the largesse of several local families, most notably the Timkens, who put up the funds for the original building, and the Putnum sisters (Irene, Anne, and Amy), who donated more than two-thirds of the museum’s vast European collection. On the walls are paintings by Spanish artists Murillo, Zurbarán, Cotán, Ribera, and El Greco; Italian masters Giorgione, Giotto, Veronese, Luini, and Canaletto; as well as Rubens, Hals, and van Dyck from the Northern European School. Besides many exciting visiting exhibitions, there is also a large Southern Asian collection and many drawings by the 19th-century Parisian giant Toulouse-Lautrec.
San Diego Museum of Art (SDMART) Information
- Public Transportation: Good (take bus 7 to Park Blvd./Presidents Way, where you can catch the free Balboa Park Tram to the Plaza de Panama stop, which is a short walk from the museum)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Hours: Tuesday, Thursday–Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Wednesday noon–5 p.m., Sunday 1–5 p.m.
- Admission: $12, senior and military $9, students $8, youths (6–17) $4.50, members and children under 5 free. During the month of February, pick up a free Museum Month Pass at any San Diego County Macy’s and receive half-off admission at 33 participating San Diego County museums, including SDMA
- Tours: Daily tours are available; schedules are located in the rotunda. When not previously scheduled for a group tour, docents may be available to give tours of the museum’s collections and special exhibitions. In addition, tours led by Teen Art Guides (aka TAGGERs) are available for certain special exhibitions
- Membership: Individual membership is $45. All members receive free unlimited admission; four guest passes (valid year-round, except Art Alive); discounts on classes, concerts, lectures, and films; use of the Art Reference Library; the opportunity to join specific organizations; participation in the museum’s international-travel program; free admission to Culture & Cocktails; and an invitation to members-only annual director’s lecture. Student/educator and senior discounts are also available
- Other Benefits: Reciprocal membership to other art institutions is available at the Friend level ($175) or above.