The de Young, Legion of Honor Museums, Reopen to the Public

de Young museum; Photography by Gary Sexton.

Both museums will offer free admission for essential workers and Free Saturday admission to the public.

SAN FRANCISCO — The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (the “Museums”) announce the reopening of the de Young and Legion of Honor museums, following their temporary closure under the shelter-in-place order mandated by the City of San Francisco.

“As the city’s museums, we have been eager to be able to share the multifaceted art collections and exhibitions, with airy galleries, and green park settings of the de Young and Legion of Honor with our Bay Area audiences again,” states Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “After many months of quarantine, we are thrilled to open our doors, and look forward to seeing members of our community engaging with art in our galleries.”

The de Young museum is scheduled to open to the public on Friday, September 25. In recognition of museum members’ continued dedication and support of the Museums, on September 22, 23, and 24 the de Young will be open to members only. The exhibition Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving will premiere to Bay Area audiences, offering unique insight into Frida Kahlo's life through a treasure trove of clothes and personal items found in her home, La Casa Azul, upon her death, as well as a series of paintings, mostly self-portraits, and a gallery featuring photography. The exhibition examines Kahlo’s relationship to San Francisco — the first city she visited in the US and where she began to cultivate her now-iconic Tehuana style and her identity as a painter. Members of the museums will be able to enjoy exclusive access to Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving every Wednesday throughout the exhibition.

Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI, an exhibition exploring the increasing human dependence on artificial intelligence, will reopen in an expanded version: Pierre Huyghe’s bronze sculpture Exomind, with a beehive at its head, will greet visitors in the Barbro Osher Sculpture Garden. The museum will also offer visitors a chance to experience its vast and varied permanent collections of American art, as well as arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, among other holdings on view throughout the Young. 

The Museum Store at the de Young museum will be open.

The Legion of Honor will be open to the public mid October. Prior to the museum’s general opening, members will be invited to visit for pre-opening Member days. The film and installation Alexandre Singh: A Gothic Tale, which draws inspiration from the nineteenth-century Gothic revival as well as San Francisco’s place in film noir history, has been extended and will be on view through the fall. In addition, visitors will be able to journey through the museum’s European painting and decorative arts collections, as well as explore its newly installed gallery of ancient art.

From the reopening through December 2021, the Museums will offer free general admission for essential workers, who will also receive a $15 discount on tickets to special exhibitions.*

Continuing the Museums’ popular Free Saturdays program, general admission to the de Young and Legion of Honor museums will be free every Saturday for all residents of the nine-county Bay Area. Since the founding of the program, admission costs are underwritten by a generous, dedicated gift from Diane B. Wilsey, Chair Emerita of the Corporation of the Fine Arts Museums (COFAM) board of trustees. The Free Saturdays program was originally launched on April 6, 2019, to expand access for all residents of San Francisco. In its first year it expanded to cover residents of the entire Bay Area and in total welcomed almost 80,000 visitors. The first Free Saturday at the de Young museum will be September 26. 

New Health and Safety Measures
Rigorous measures based on city guidelines will be taken by the Museums to ensure a safe and healthy environment for visitors and staff. Visitor capacity has been reduced to 25 percent, and both general admission and special exhibition tickets will provide an invitation to access the de Young and Legion of Honor on a timed entry basis to ensure proper social distancing in the museum galleries. While the Museums encourage booking tickets online in advance, limited tickets will be available on-site for spontaneous visits. The duration of visits is not limited, and visitors are welcome to explore the de Young and Legion of Honor at their leisure upon entry.

Physical distancing will be facilitated through new procedures at admissions, store and café cashier desks, including plexiglass screens, and the opportunity to use no-touch payments. Face coverings will be required for staff and adult visitors at all times in the buildings, and visitors will be encouraged to follow directional signage. The Hamon Tower observation level, de Youngsters Studio, Coat Checks, and other areas where proper social distancing, or appropriate health and safety measures cannot be guaranteed, will stay closed for the time being. To encourage curiosity, Discovery Guides to the collections will be made available at the Information Desk. Cleaning routines have been increased, and sanitizing stations are available throughout the two museums.

Visits will be self-guided, with further access to exhibition information, artwork information, museum maps, and audio guides via each visitor’s personal device. 

More information on health and safety measures taken at the de Young and Legion of Honor plus detailed visitor guidelines can be found at deyoungmuseum.org/safety-guidelines

On-site public programs have been cancelled throughout 2020 and a range of programs will instead be available online through the de Young and Legion of Honor websites and social media channels. 

*The free admission and special exhibition discount for essential workers will be redeemable for ticket  purchases in person at the de Young, and Legion of Honor only. Please find more information at deyoungmuseum.org/free-reduced-admission.

Visitor Information
de Young: Golden Gate Park \ 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118 \ 1.800.777.9996 (member support, 24 hours/day) \ 1-888-901-6645 (general public support, 24 hours/day) \ Open Tuesdays – Sundays, 9:30 am–5:15 pm. More information regarding tickets can be found at deyoungmuseum.org/visit-us. John F. Kennedy Drive is closed to vehicular traffic from Kezar Drive to Transverse Drive. Paid parking is available in the Music Concourse garage as of September 21, 2020, which may be accessed from the Fulton Street and 10th Avenue entrance. For information on public transportation, please visit SFMTA

Legion of Honor: Lincoln Park, 100 34th Avenue, San Francisco. Currently closed; reopening information to be announced soon. More information regarding tickets can be found at legionofhonor.org/visit-us.  

About the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, comprising the de Young museum in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor museum in Lincoln Park, are the largest public arts institution in San Francisco.

The de Young originated from the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition in Golden Gate Park and was established as the Memorial Museum in 1895. It was later renamed in honor of Michael H. de Young, who spearheaded its creation. The present copper-clad landmark building, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, opened in 2005. Reflecting an active conversation among cultures, perspectives, and time periods, the collections on view include American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 17th to the 21st centuries; arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; costume and textile arts; and international modern and contemporary art.

The Legion of Honor was inspired by the French pavilion at San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915 and, like that structure, was modeled after the neoclassical Palais de la Légion d’Honneur, in Paris. The museum, designed by George Applegarth, opened in 1924 on a bluff in Lincoln Park overlooking the Golden Gate. It offers unique insight into the art historical, political, and social movements of the previous 4,000 years of human history, with holdings including European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts; ancient art from the Mediterranean basin; and the largest collection of works on paper in the American West.

Media images of the de Young 

Media images of the Legion of Honor

Media Inquiries
Helena Nordstrom, Associate Director of Communications, hnordstrom@famsf.org, 415-465-3531
Shaquille Heath, Manager of Communications, sheath@famsf.org, 801-920-8829