people looking at art at the de Young museum

de Young museum, 2017. Photograph by Andria Lo. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Accessibility

We are committed to offering services that make our collections, exhibitions, and programs accessible to all visitors. Programs and visiting options for individuals with disabilities as well as other underserved populations in the community are crucial for creating equity in access to the arts.

General admission to the de Young and Legion of Honor is complimentary for those who have disabilities, and includes free admission for a guest, pending availability. Please contact access@famsf.org to request access tickets prior to your visit. 

Access membership ($89) is a discounted membership level for people with disabilities. Access membership includes free admission for one member, a caregiver, and a guest, invitations to Member Previews and Member Wednesdays, 10% off at the de Young and Legion of Honor Museum Stores, and a subscription to our monthly member e-news and Fine Arts magazine. Please contact membership@famsf.org or call 415.750.3636 (Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm) to become a member. 

Learn about our COVID-19 safety guidelines.

All Access programs are complimentary or provided at a low cost. Please contact us at access@famsf.org if you have any questions or need additional information not provided below.

For visitors who are Deaf, hard of hearing, or Deaf / Blind

American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation

ASL interpretation is provided at no fee for all public programs, lectures, and tours. Please contact the Access Office at least two weeks in advance of your visit. To request ASL interpretation, contact the Access Office at 415.750.7645 or access@famsf.org.

American Sign Language (ASL) tactile interpretation

Upon request, with two weeks advance notice, a specialized ASL tactile interpreter can be solicited to interpret for an individual who is Deaf / Blind.

Assistive listening devices

Assistive listening devices are available for visitors who are hearing as well as hard of hearing and wear a hearing aid with a t-coil switch to use with loop, to provide greater amplification for docent led tours or lectures. Please contact access@famsf.org for additional information and instructions or the assistance of a visitor experience associate or volunteer.

Computer Activated Real-Time Transcription (CART)

Upon request, with two weeks advance notice, CART services can be solicited to provide real-time captioning for lectures, films (if film does not have captions incorporated), and other FAMSF events.

Captions – open and closed

Films produced by FAMSF will have open captions as displayed in the galleries. Films not produced by FAMSF that run for less than three months will have, at minimum, scripted text available in booklet form. Films not produced by FAMSF that run for more than three months will have captions. Films presented in the Koret Auditorium and Gunn Theater of either museum will have closed captions, available on an iPad or mobile device. Supportive devices for closed captions must be requested at least two weeks in advance.

For visitors who have low vision or are blind

Audio tours

Audio tours for most special exhibitions at both museums are available at exhibition entrances. Audio tours of highlights from the permanent collection are available near the information desk and include a Visual Access Tour option that provides a highly detailed visual description of each featured object. Transcripts of audio tours are available at the information desk.  

de Young Highlights audio guide transcript

Legion of Honor Highlights audio guide transcript

Braille / tactile and large-font museum guides, maps, and other access

Museum guides and maps are available in both braille / tactile and large font for both museums. Guides include a listing of Highlights audio guide stops. Please ask the admissions staff upon arrival. A photo ID must be provided to check out a guide or map to ensure it is returned. Braille is also available in the elevators.

Large print labels (LPLs)

LPL booklets using Arial font, size 16, are available for most exhibitions. They can be found in plexiglass holders at the beginning of the exhibition. Please note that all booklets are the property of Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and are to be returned to the holders.

Large print menus are available at the café.

Service / support animals

Service / support animals are welcome at both museums, as long as they are well-behaved. Security Guards are allowed to intervene if an animal gets out of hand or is a threat to other visitors or artworks. If the service / support animal is anything other than a dog, it is recommended that you call in advance to ensure an accommodation can be made.

Standing closer to art policy

For visitors who self-identify as having low vision, it is recommended that they call in advance to ensure Visitor Experience and Security staff are aware and can make an exception for them to stand closer to the art. A white cane that identifies the person as having low vision is helpful but not required. Be sure to hold on to any shoulder bags so they do not swing forward toward the artwork.

Gallery lighting

Lighting in certain galleries may be dimmed in order to protect the art.

Language access

For visitors with limited English proficiency (LEP)

The Highlights Audio Guide Tour of the permanent collection includes options to listen in English, Spanish, French, Japanese, German, and Chinese.

Translators

Visitors who have limited English proficiency (LEP) may request a docent tour in a specified language. We will attempt to provide a docent who speaks the requested language, but it is not guaranteed. At least two weeks’ notice must be given.  

For visitors with mobility considerations and accessible parking needs

Accessible / blue zone parking

de Young museum

Paid parking is available in the Music Concourse Garage, which can be accessed from Fulton Street at 10th Avenue, or from Concourse Drive or Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, within the park. Please note that the garage is not operated by FAMSF, and discounts for ADA placards are not available. For garage information, call 415.750.0741 or visit goldengateparking.com.

Cars have the ability to drop off visitors in front of the de Young using Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive. This road is only accessible via the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Music Concourse Drive from the south.

For information on public transportation, please visit the SFMTA website

de Young access parking map

Legion of Honor museum

Designated blue zone parking for those who have blue zone placards is available to the north and east of the museum as outlined on the map below.

Legion of Honor access parking

Navigating the museums

Motorized scooters are welcome in both museums. Please exercise care when scooting around art on pedestals and in cases. Wheelchairs are available from coat check or the admissions counter on a first come, first-served basis and cannot be reserved. Photo ID is required to borrow a wheelchair. Wide wheelchairs are also available. 

Lightweight, portable, and wide, sturdy stools are available at admissions and coat check. A Photo ID must be provided to ensure stools are returned prior to leaving the museum. Stools may not be reserved.

Other powered mobility device guidelines

Door access

All doors are accessible. They are either propped open, lightweight and ADA compliant, or feature push buttons; otherwise, a security guard will be stationed at the door to assist you. At the de Young, push buttons are located at the museum entrance. At the Legion of Honor there are no push buttons. An intercom located at the north entrance can be used to alert a security guard for assistance. Both museums are wheelchair accessible by ramp or level ground.  

Accessible bathrooms, gender-neutral bathrooms, and nursing / changing rooms

Both museums have accessible bathrooms, gender-neutral bathrooms, and nursing / changing rooms. At the de Young the changing room is located at the emergency aid room. At the Legion of Honor the changing room is located at basement level, accessible only by staff; therefore a security guard needs to be notified that you need access.

Access program information

Access Days

Access Days allow visitors an opportunity to visit special exhibitions on select Mondays when the Museums are closed to the public. We aim to have an Access Day once during each special exhibit. Docent tours for visitors with low vision, who are Deaf and communicate via ASL interpretation, and other accommodations are available. Access Day patrons from disability and underserved communities can also self-guide and benefit from additional seating in the galleries, a less crowded experience, the availability of large print labels, the use of wheelchairs and sturdy stools, a fragrance-free environment, and additional accessible blue zone parking spaces.

Access Membership

Access membership is a discounted level of membership ($89 / year) for people with disabilities. 

Benefits include:

  • Free admission for one member, a companion, and a guest to the permanent collections and special exhibitions at the de Young and Legion of Honor
  • Priority ticketing to special exhibitions
  • Member Wednesdays, with members-only access to select special exhibitions every Wednesday
  • Invitations to special exhibition previews and after-hours viewings
  • Discounts on special exhibition audio tours
  • 10% off at the Museum Stores and 20% off during members-only sale days
  • Free subscription to Fine Arts magazine and Member Monthly email newsletter

Eligibility required to join on-site; please provide documentation from a physician or a local or federal government agency. Examples of documentation include a physician letter, Medicaid or Medicare card, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits letter, or disabled transit pass. To join, email membership@famsf.org, call 415.750.3636 (Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm), or visit the membership desk at the de Young or Legion of Honor. No eligibility documentation is required for renewals; to renew, verify your membership.

American Sign Language (ASL) Tours

ASL Tours (formerly DEAF Media Docents at FAMSF) have been offered for the Deaf community at the Museums since the 1980s. Deaf docents and Deaf guest docents lead tours through special exhibitions in American Sign Language. ASL Tours are suspended at this time due to COVID-19 safety considerations.

Artful Discoveries

Artful Discoveries is a program for individuals with early-stage dementia and their family members or care partners. The interactive in-gallery program provides an opportunity for participants and their care partners to join others in a discussion and multisensory exploration of art. The program is presented in partnership with the Northern California and Northern Nevada Alzheimer’s Association.

Low vision

This is a program for people with low vision or who are blind that provides a highly descriptive tour.

Private docent led tours

Private Docent Led Access Tours provided patrons with disabilities the ability to visit the de Young at a time that is convenient for them. The program entails coordinating a tour conducted by an access docent, specifically trained in working with visitors with disabilities or from underserved populations. Private docent tours are suspended at this time due to COVID-19 safety considerations.

Private Self-Guided Access Tours

Tours are the same as the above.

Well-Connected Tours

This program lets seniors who are unable to leave the home or use the computer call in and listen to highly descriptive tours while looking at hard copy images mailed to them prior to the remote tour.

Veteran’s Personal Response Tours

This program provides a specialized tour during which Veterans select works of art that interest them, based on a theme presented by a docent, and discuss the emotions they produce with other veterans in the tour group.

Other access information

Access Advisory Board

The Access Advisors (AA), formed in 1988, is comprised of fourteen members who have disabilities, work in the disability field, or have a family member with a disability. They work with FAMSF to help make the museums more accessible both to persons with disabilities and people who do not consider themselves as having a disability, but have vision, mobility, hearing, or stamina issues, among others. The goal of the AA is to assist the Museums to be usable and disability friendly and provide specialized services to our visitors upon request. 

Contact information

Access Programs
415.750.7645
Fax 415.750.3656
access@famsf.org

Access Programs at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are generously supported by the de Youngsters, and Mr. Scott Nelson and Mrs. Nora Nelson.