• “I quite enjoyed my visits to this museum during the Escher exhibits, but the real standout was the Listening Post.” in 6 reviews

  • “The museum itself is pretty small, so we DID see pretty much everything in that short time.” in 6 reviews

  • “With the SFMOMA closed for remodeling, now is the perfect time to venture south, after all.” in 8 reviews

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  • 4.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    The museum is beautiful. I'm not a huge artsy-fartsy kinda person but I try to visit museums anytime I get a chance to when I'm in a new town.

    In comparison to other museums I have been to (San Diego, San Francisco, and Chicago) this place is tiny! I spent less than 2 hours in here and I even read most of the art pieces.

    There are 3 levels with various rooms. There was a room where a new exhibit was going to go and I would have loved to see it.

    The museum is a block from the convention center and next to the park and nice eateries. Everything in downtown SJ is all within walking distance which is really nice. The museum closes early (5pm). I used my student discount to get in $5.

  • 4.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    Gotta love freebies! If you have a Bank of America card, make sure to stop by here during the first weekend of each month. It's a lovely little museum. There are 3 floors and different rooms on each floor. It's a great quick place to stop by if you are in the area.

  • 4.0 star rating

    This is a great place to visit.  Whether you have an hour or all day.  It is a beautiful museum with tons of eye candy, something for everyone.  Not to mention a great value you can't really find things to do at that price nowadays.   The only reason why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is the snotty blond lady who works in the gift shop.  I would love to come back soon but probably won't because of her....sorry SJMoA...it's her not you

  • 4.0 star rating
    1/26/2014 Updated review
    2 check-ins

    Since I went to the museum by myself, I thought I'd bring a gift back to my son.   It's a pretty big store.  They have all kinds of things for sale.  Cooking gadgets, books, candles, a few fashion items, home decor and most importantly children's toys.

    I walked and looked at everything in the store twice.  I wasn't hassled by anyone and it was nice to just look in peace.

    I found two really cute kids board books for my son.  Here's the greatest thing about the store.  It's shockingly cheap.  Those of you with kids and have had the unpleasure of being begged at for some incredibly expensive piece of crap.

    I didn't feel that way at all in here.  Everything was very reasonably priced.  Therefore, I bought more than I thought I would.

    Do not skip the gift shop in this case.  It's well worth the visit after the museum.

    4.0 star rating
    1/23/2014 Previous review
    There was an exhibition by photographer Annie Leibovitz that I was dying to see.  It was for… Read more
  • 5.0 star rating

    I went to SJSU for graduate school, but since I commuted from SF to SJ I didn't have a chance to hang out off campus. I have to say this museum is a gem!  It is a small museum, but what they have inside is quality. Definitely go take a look if you are in the area.

  • 5.0 star rating

    I honestly didn't know what to expect when I suggested to my Mom that we visit the San Jose Museum of Art. I knew it was by the tech museum which I have visited, but I couldn't picture it. We picked a bit of a crazy day to visit since there was an overpriced "jazz" festival taking up two blocks of Market Street, so parking (which is usually easy) was a bit strained.

    The museum is very small, but has several really nice, airy spaces which are perfect for the small collections they show. The main floor is more permanent collections while the upstairs and basement are visiting shows. There's a nice little cafe and book shop which is located in the older part of the museum up front.

    The staff are very friendly and informative. They answered all of Mom's questions and directed us to the different parts of the museum. Even thought it's not the scale of the DeYoung or the SFMOMA, I was still very impressed by the museum and would love to come back and check out other exhibits.

  • 4.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    We came here on a Sunday afternoon after my 7 year old brought home a free family pass from his school.  There are 6 of us, so anything free... is an awesome deal.  

    We got here about 1pm and spent about 1 1/2 hours.  The kids really liked the "Toy Stories"... where they were able to draw and color little cards of their favorite childhood toys.  I had a fun time coloring with them also.

    There are some paintings that are inappropriate for kids, and luckily, one of the security guards approached us before heading in that direction.  (circle jerks etc...)  

    We parked at the garage by Wells Fargo and although the café said he will validate with a minimum $2 purchase, the garage I was at didn't take my validation ticket.  So make sure you are parked at a garage that takes validations from this museum.

    I would definitely recommend bringing your family to this museum.  Its art.  Children need to see art in all forms.  The kids really LOVED the Pledge of Allegiance on the huge red canvas amongst other things.

  • 4.0 star rating

    Beautiful space and facilities.

    The art exhibit when I toured was not impressive to me, however the staff was knowledgeable and friendly.

  • 5.0 star rating

    Living in San Jose for nearly a decade now, the San Jose Museum of Art has been one of the consistent bright spots of this city!

    I've been to the museum countless time over the years for either art viewing, community events and other fun activities. It's a 'just-right' museum that you can explore in a visit and you won't feel like you just ran a marathon afterwards and collapse on the side of the road.

    Highly recommended, check their website for exhibits that interest you and thank you for supporting the San Jose art community.


    Recently, I got a sneak peak into their new exhibit "LEGACY: THE EMILY FISHER LANDAU COLLECTION" -- and I think it's absolutely fantastic. They have some amazing art from historical artists. It is one of the best 'traveling' art collection exhibits to grace San Jose in awhile. I want to highlight Susan (a museum curator) -- who spoke very eloquently about the artwork and it's impact in the art world. Thank you for the amazing tour.

  • 3.0 star rating

    I came here for their zombie night last October.
    I had previously been here as a kid, about 15 years ago, and the art chandeliers in the lobby are the same! They could use some dusting.

    I was informed that for the zombie themed night there would be live music snd cocktails.  More like cocktail... one type of drink. It didn't sound appealing,  so I wandered to the cafe area where I was informed they had beer and wine. Their only white wine option was chardonnay... which I loathe. Very bummed out at this lack of options and knew we'd end up at a bar later.

    Then the band started. Wtf. They were so loud, my ears hurt. Doesn't anyone sound check? It didn't matter where we were in the museum... the music echoed and blasted and ruined any exhibit with sound. I couldn't hear a thing even with the headphones provided with one art piece. I'm in my 20s, and that music was deafening. I don't understand why they'd permit this.

    First floor: The first room had some uninteresting still art by Robert Henri. The second room had "Post portrait" art that I found much more captivating.  One photo made me cry in fact, as a woman stares in her mirror with a note attached saying she will be a different person today. Don't we all hope to be a better person than we are?

    Second floor: all exhibits were pretty interesting. Though those with sound were lost due to the jarring live music.

    Lower level: very tiny display on perspective.  Didn't leave an impression on me though I wss sble to use the restroom which echoed urination sounds into the exhibit. It was at this time the band took a break, and the recorded music replaced them at an almost appropriate volume.

    We then headed to the deserted gift shop. It was full with interesting little nick-nacks. I bought a birthday card for a loved one and said good night to the sales clerk who was terribly lonely.

  • 4.0 star rating
    3 check-ins

    I am a proud member. For about $50 I get a really nice coffee table book of the museum's permanent art collection. I get to bring me and somebody else in for the exhibit, free.

    I saw an exhibit on consumer products that was really well-done, then Greek/Roman art, and crescent moons made of roti bread. I love how the exhibits are all local stuff. Promoting the artistic community has always been a great passion of mine.

    The building and architecture that houses the art isn't too exciting, but it's nice for San Jose. The staff are always helpful and informative. Please note: you cannot photograph works of art with your smartphone here.

    The museum will be a mainstay of downtown San Jose culture -- great place to figure out what we're all about! Highly recommended for at least one visit, A+.

  • 4.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    SJMA is a great neighborhood museum and the curators have developed a real gem for downtown SJ. Recent community outreach events (new exhibits, small openings) and the small price you pay for a membership pays for itself in coolness many times over during the year.  I typically spend 45 minutes to an hour enjoying the exhibits, the collections are thought provoking and modern, often filled with social commentary and snarky observations about life in Silicon Valley.  I have never visited with out at last one laugh out loud and one 'Hummm'. Love it.  Feels like home.

  • 5.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    A whole rant could be penned on the art itself, but I'll keep this short and sweet and focus on the space. The interior is a gorgeous modern building complete with multiple galleries and floors. It's open, spacious, bright and clean. While beautiful on its own, it compliments yet never outshines the art ton display.

    I discovered it under unusual circumstances: during a party for 500 people. I saw it transform from a meditative space where you could wander for hours into a loud and joyful gathering and the museum did equally well in accommodating both moods. If I'm back anytime soon, you can bet any amount of abstract art that I'll be stopping in to pay them another visit.

  • 2.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    Decidedly average.

    Perhaps my definition of art is perhaps a little more old fashioned. Archaic even. I'm afraid I just struggled to call some of the pieces displayed here 'Art'.

    It was three floors of very spaced out pictures and free standing pieces, seemingly without any real theme or flow.

    I appreciate greatly that it's San Jose and not the Louvre, but I left feeling a little disappointed in what I had paid to go and admire.

    I will concede, they have a very great amount of interactive activities for school trips and groups of children. Perhaps it might be better to rename it The Children's Museum of Art?

  • 3.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    A much-needed, if a bit compact, dose of culture in downtown San Jose, with some fairly interesting exhibitions (especially the recent "Raging Opulence" and "Local Color" exhibits) and a permanent collection dwelling primarily on contemporary California and West Coast artists.

    Definitely worth a quick stroll for a few hours, and different vantage points here and there provide unique views and angles of downtown San Jose.

  • 5.0 star rating
    2 check-ins

    The SJ Museum of Art is a great place to see some really interesting exhibits and pieces. It's not as huge as its counterpart art museums in other cities, but that's part of the charm.

    Right now they have a special exhibit of Annie Leibovitz photographs on display. The exhibit is called Pilgrimage and instead of the iconic celebrity portraits she's known for, they're photos of objects or scenery belonging to or associated with famous people like Abe Lincoln, John Muir, Ansel Adams, and more. Really interesting stuff and some of the photographs were really beautiful like the spiral jetty on the Great Salt Lake. Hurry and go see it before the exhibit ends in September!

    My absolute favorite thing that I've seen here at SJMA is a giant robot made completely out of styrofoam - the artist actually reused styrfoam packing materials to make it. It was super cool and super cute and I still remember it to this day. It was a couple years ago.

    I also love the three Dale Chihuly glass sculptures that are hanging above in the lobby by the entrance. Those alone are worth a visit to the museum to see.  

    On the third Thursday of the month, they are open later till 8pm, which is great for people who want to check out the exhibits after work. And it's also only $5 after 5pm on third Thursdays which is pretty sweet! Don't forget to check out the museum's store which has really cute stuff for sale, like chip bag clips with mustaches and cool smartphone accessories.

  • 1.0 star rating

    I attended their Community Day (El Dia de los Muertos) with my two sons.  This was our first visit to the museum.  When we first arrived there were only stairs leading up to the entrance.  There was no ramp or wheelchair access.  I had to carry a double stroller with two heavy kids up a flight of stairs by myself.  Staff were present at the entrance but did not offer to help me.

    The museum is small and we were able to see everything in less than half an hour.  There are signs around certain exhibits that say Do Not Touch.  I was trying my best to adhere to this, and my eldest son came close to an exhibit.  A woman started yelling at him.  She scared him and he started crying.  I asked him if he had touched anything and he said no.

    They have a small cafe with a good sized seating area which was convenient.  We brought food and had our lunch there.

    For the Community Day event, they had lots of fun craft activities for kids (sugar skulls, paper flowers, stickers, etc.).  They also had an Aztec dance performance which was supposed to start at 1:15 in the lobby.  We were seated in the lobby area at 1:10 waiting for the show to start.  By 1:30pm the show had not started, and we decided to leave.  It took me about 10 minutes to navigate the crowd in the lobby to get to the exit area.  While I was trying to leave, 2 staff members were very rude to me asking me to get my stroller out of the way.  I explained to them that I was trying to leave the museum.  The exit was blocked off, so it was not easy to get out of the museum.  We had to remove the barrier blocking the exit so that we could leave.  Then I had a hard time navigating the stairs since there was no ramp for strollers or wheelchairs.

    Overall, I think we would have had a pleasant experience if it was not for the 3 rude staff members that we encountered.  Because of this, we will not come back to this museum.

  • 3.0 star rating
    6/21/2013 Updated review
    2 check-ins

    Checked out ArtRage for Th 6/20/13 because artist Hung Liu was going to be there & painting live, & to check out Annie Leibovitz's exhibit.

    Annie Leibovitz's photos is just about places & things in famous places, no famous celebrity photos, that's kinda disappointing, but she still takes good photos.

    Hung Liu painting was interesting, I only got a side view since it was very crowded, still glad I could see what I did.

    Contemporary Chinese artists works was interesting.  Other exhibit I didn't think was that good on the 2nd Fl.

    Probably worth $5 on the 3rd Thurs of every month from 5-8pm since it's after work, otherwise it's $8 with normal hours.

    3.0 star rating
    12/27/2011 Previous review
    I can go FREE almost anytime I want now, except in the evening for ArtRage when I want to go they… Read more
    4.0 star rating
    2/14/2010 Previous review
    We went for the FREE community day Lunar New Year on Sun 2/14/10.  Saw some exhibits & saw Firebird… Read more
    3.0 star rating
    12/15/2008 Previous review
    The SJ Museum of Art is no longer giving a $2 discount w/ a SJ Library card.  That sucks.  So I had… Read more
    4.0 star rating
    1/24/2006 Previous review
    It's FREE, love that.  Closed on Mon.  Used to go on my lunch hr.  

    Update 1/22/07: no longer free,…
    Read more
  • 5.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    I heard about Annie Leibovitz's exhibit, "Pilgrimage," being shown at the San Jose Museum of Art on NPR, and decided to make a visit.  With the SFMOMA closed for remodeling, now is the perfect time to venture south, after all.  

    I parked on Santa Clara Street and decided to walk to the museum from there.  This was not smart.  First, it's pretty warm in San Jose and if you're not used to this weather (and therefore you've worn jeans and a sweater set), this is not going to be comfortable.  Likewise, part of Market Street (the part you need) doesn't have a sidewalk due to construction.  There are also a surprising number of homeless people on this street--not that there's anything wrong with that, it just sometimes doesn't feel very safe to a girl walking by herself.  

    I entered through the Museum Cafe and noticed a large room off to the left that was reserved for hands-on arts and crafts for the kiddos.  Love that!  Children do not have as much access to the arts as they should, and it's really a shame.  It's great when a museum has participatory classes for kids to make up for the lack of art programs in schools.  

    For some reason, I believed that the museum was open until 6:00 p.m. on Saturday.  Not so.  It's only open until 5:00 p.m., so I got there slightly later than I would have liked.  The admissions salesperson reduced my ticket price to only $5 since I was running late.  I note that for the late-to-rise, the Museum is open until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays.  

    The Annie Leibovitz exhibit was inspired.  It consisted of photographs taken from Leibovitz's travels from 2009-2011--all still life photos.  For those hoping to view her celebrity images, don't bother... or maybe do.  The images captured were unexpected, reflective and subtly iconic, including Emerson's library, Elvis' childhood home and Ansel Adam's darkroom.  My favorite photo captured Marian Anderson's dress--it was just beautiful.  I took a photo of the description:

    "Marian Anderson.  One of Marian Anderson's concert gowns from the mid-1940's, when she was at the height of her fame as a singer, is in the collection of the Danbury Museum and Historical Society in Danbury, Connecticut.  Anderson sang on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday, 1939, after she had been denied permission to sing at Constitution Hall, which had a 'white artists only' policy."  

    This exhibit closes on September 8, 2013, so make plans to come soon. Don't forget to check out the visitor comments posted near the gallery exit before you leave.  It was cool to see how moved people were by Leibovitz's photos, many traveling great distances to view them.    

    I didn't get to see any other collections or exhibits because I was running so late.  Still, it was probably the best $5 I have spent in a long time.

  • 5.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    I absolutely loved this museum! I saw they had an exhibit on food and community so I dropped in, though I only caught the end of that exhibit because I spent so much time in their "everyday hero" exhibit, which was surprisingly interesting and informative. I especially loved all the videos, which I find more interesting than reading information off panels.

    The food and community exhibit was pretty good and I think my favorite part was the "noodle bowl", which had bits of information about food typed on long pieces of paper placed in a bowl to resemble noodles.

    Also, the evening I happened to be there (just before Christmas), they had a group of harpists who were playing Christmas songs. The music was absolutely beautiful and it added so much enjoyment to my visit - I could hear the music from different rooms and floors around the museum - it was simply lovely.

  • 5.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    Love the docent tours here.  They are very interactive.

    Mark dean veca exhibit was cool, but they just had titles and no description.

    It's a small museum but it packs a punch, and you don't feel overwhelmed when you leave. =)

  • 5.0 star rating

    San Jose Museum of Art is a small friendly clean and bright museum. It is usually all about Modern art, therefore I guess anyone who doesn't appreciate modern Art and comes inside ands up criticizing the place.
    I was sad to see a few reviews with disrespectful words about the Art in this place. As for myself I am not always agreeing with what being presented in here, but I understand this is art, and as such it is a matter of (acquired) taste if you like it and understand it, or not.

    Someone mentioned in a review that this museum is not for children and I couldn't argue enough against that saying. Yes they recently had a few exhibits with inappropriate items, but they did post a warning sign about that. Not only they have a wonderful reach-out programs that they take to schools educating kids about art, but they also have family programs over weekends, family friendly events, and an excellent art camps for kids.

    I've been here with my kids many time- it is the perfect environment to help kids learn about art and get used to visit an art museum without being board, warn out, lose interest, and remember it negatively.
    This is a very small museum that try to bring interesting pieces and small special exhibitions. We always find at least one exhibit that leaves an impression.
    We also like to have brunch at the museum's small cafeteria before or after we tour the two floors of the museum.

    It is also a perfect and beautiful venue for all kinds of private events.

  • 4.0 star rating
    2 check-ins

    Their current "Around the Table" exhibit is really spectacular. It stems from the old idiom, "You are what you eat" and it follows various artists with different heritage/backgrounds and their interactions with food.

    Two of my favorite pieces: The dried food scraps a wooden table as well as the giant photo compilation of supermarket shelves. Another beautiful piece was the video compilation of the young adults eating fruit! I think most people found it odd, but it totally resonated with me (as I always make a face when eating fruit :P)

    Other fun standouts included videos of "bees" and "flowers", viewable through various glass shapes. I believe it was supposed to give insight into the insect mind, or have some vicarious sense of being the flower. Pretty weird stuff but quite fascinating.

    The staff are eager to share with you, so don't hesitate to ask questions.

    SJMA is an awesome place to just hang out with friends and look at some art that truly reflects San Jose and the Bay Area as a whole.

  • 5.0 star rating
    10/22/2013 Updated review

    Why I haven't reviewed this place so far is a mystery to me...I love my visits here. In fact, back in 2002, this was second choice for our wedding...the Triton Museum of Art won out for location and parking and it was great, but if we renew our wedding vows it might have to be here.

    Have been here off and on for decades. It's a fabulous little museum and has great shows. Today was a show with everyday objects. It was totally fascinating...I took a lot of notes. And the notes are for my use only, not for anything else -I'm just a rabid note taker.

    There was a group of really well-behaved school kids there this morning. I was pleasantly surprised at how attentive the chaperones were to them. If you go across the way to the Tech, it's a freakin' zoo over there. Here, there are priceless works of art so it's a whole 'nother ball game.

    A standard trip for me:

    1) Go to the museum, practically read every single didactic and take notes, asking the staff questions along the way.

    2) Go to the museum store and spend a minimum of $20 before tax.

    3) Go to the attached cafe and get a roast turkey sandwich with a Coke and a bag of vinegar and salt chips and get parking validation.

    4.0 star rating
    5/27/2013 Previous review
    I've been in here a few times and always walk out with something. They have a really particularly… Read more
  • 5.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    Ventured in after the CMYE at the Tanq. I've never been before. The arts that were on display that night were Raging Opulence by Mark Dean Veca and Rising Dragon, This/That and Dive Deep by Eric Fischl and The Process of Painting.

    It's a pretty small display but the quality of the arts definitely caught my eyes. Quite stunning some of them! Or stunned by them! Especially the Rising Dragon.

    Now I've made my first visit I can't wait to go back! That night if we paid it would've been $5 after 5 pm and for members a two for one deal still for $5!  But we didn't! It was courtesy of Yelp and Abby! Thanks a bunch!

    P.S if you're a member you get free parking!

  • 4.0 star rating

    I really like the San Jose Museum of art.  Its special exhibitions are well-chosen and nicely presented.  They have family events that allow kids to create their own artworks while being exposed to fine examples of sculpture, ceramics, and a variety of other artistic media.  It would be nice if the museum could be expanded - as San Jose is the now the largest Bay Area city and close to the beating heart of Silicon Valley, I think it deserves a greater artistic presence (and maybe a Major League Baseball team, but that's a whole 'nother issue).

    Membership in the museum is a great deal, and at the $150 level gets you access to a large number of museums around the country (but not the premier museums such as Chicago's Art Institute or NY's Museum of Modern Art, for example).

  • 5.0 star rating

    SJMA has shown me how I really like smaller, well-kept museums.  I've been to some big ones, but when I come to SJMA I have the time and mental capacity to actually think about all of the exhibits I see.  They've had some pretty interesting exhibits.  I like the one they have going on right now, "Around the Table"-- thought provoking.  They also had a fun exhibit called "Hidden Heroes" that incorporated a lot of different media types and made it engaging.

    Plus, it's affordable.  ($5 with student discount)
    Also, it's quite pretty inside.
    Lastly, they sometimes have fun activities for families that are free like their Dia de los Muertos Day!

    A little gem worth a quick stop in SJ if you're in town, or if you've never been there before.  Or if you really want to impress your date with some class.

  • 5.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    San Jose needs more arts!!! They have the art walk, and the SJMA, but the spaces are much smaller than the ones you would find in SF.

    That said, I love this museum; it always hosts quality unique and thought-provoking exhibitions by amazing artists (some pretty well known ones too!).  It is a much smaller  museum than most hosted by a larger city, but it utilizes the space it has very well.  

    It is definitely worth your time if you are in San Jose to take a look inside.   The most recent exhibitions focus on everyday objects and the role of food/recycling.  

    Make sure to really look at each piece of work, don't just walk past them.  You will thank me for that.  

    It is never too crowded either, which means more time to view the art for me! Love this place!

  • 4.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    The San Jose Museum of Art is a perfect place to visit when you're in San Jose. If you're a fan of the contemporary, the modern, and sometimes the classical, you'll definitely enjoy what it has to offer. The reason why I put "sometimes" for the classical is that the exhibits on the bottom floor changes from time to time as different artworks come and go. The museum isn't too large so you will finish somewhat early but it has a lot to offer in terms of enjoying beautiful artwork. The cafe inside is nice as well. If you love quirky items, the gift store is perfect for you as well.

  • 5.0 star rating
    2 check-ins

    A downtown San Jose institution... if you haven't been here, what are you waiting for?

    Visited twice in the last few weeks and am very impressed with the space itself as well as the quality of exhibitions. Showing now - May is Eric Fischl, his work screams 1970's pool party to me. Also on display until mid-January is Local Color sjmusart.org/local-color and I would gladly give my firstborn (which is a cat for right now) for a few of those pieces in my personal collection. Both exhibits surprised me the first time I saw them, as I had no idea that the museum had access to this kind of art!

    If you're not really into high-brow stuff (might I add that the museum feels incredibly accessible, no one stares at you or makes you want to turn around and run out of the door), definitely check out Mark Dean Veca's Raging Opulence, a one-time installation in its own lounge space upstairs. sjmusart.org/raging-opul… - can you believe that it's going to be painted over come April 1, 2013? Makes for a great photo backdrop to say the very least, so don't waste any time coming to visit.

    And because the museum is located in the heart of downtown, they have all sorts of community events and activities for all ages as well as discounts in conjunction with The Tech Museum and Downtown Ice: sjmusart.org/visit/calen…, way to spread the local SJ love!

    The next time I hear a Yelper or friend complain that there's nothing cultural going on south of San Francisco, they're gonna get an earful from moi. Totally NOT the case!

  • 2.0 star rating

    Yay for free admission for being a Bank of America card holder and for it being the first weekend of the month! Saved me $8 for admission :)

    I came here this past Sunday just to go since it was free. To be honest, I do not appreciate art like others so checking out all the paintings was not be idea of "fun". I expected there to be sculptures and old art pieces but it was all modern paintings. Many of them were from 2012. The bottom floor has a lot of nude paintings and photographs and the second floor has a lot more variety. I didn't realize but the entire second floor is all Asian paintings. I expected there to be a mix of painters and artists and I was disappointed at that fact. It took about 1-1.5hours to finish the exhibit since my friends and I weren't very interested. We also planned on going to the Tech Museum the same day since that is also included in the free museum day. I do not plan on coming back here again since it was more of an experience to have.

    The negative about this museum is that parking in downtown San Jose is the worst thing possible. You can rarely find parking on the streets and if you do, it is 1 or 2 hour parking. So if you plan on only going to one museum, you can choose those. I did not want to worry about going back to pay and possibly getting a parking ticket, so I tried to find one with flat parking. The parking garages around there go for various rates. My friend paid $10, and I saw a few for $6 or $7. If you walk a little further, I parked on Santa Clara Street and 3rd street for $5 flat. It is a few blocks away from the museum, so about a 10 minute walk but at least I saved a few dollars.

    1) Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit cards and debit cards get free admission to this museum and Contemporary Jewish Museum (SF), Legion of Honor (SF), de Young Museum (SF), San Jose Museum of Art (SJ), The Tech Museum of Innovation (SJ), Chabot Space & Science Center (OAK) the first weekend of every month for the entire year. Take advantage of it!
    2) Pay for flat rate parking because you may lose track of time. Park a little further if you want cheap parking like myself.
    3) Enjoy!

  • 2.0 star rating
    2 check-ins

    Sorry-- I have to disagree with most of the reviews. I recently stopped by to check out the Annie Leibovitz exhibit and for the price, it was TINY! Their display did definitely not give her justice! I was done viewing all of her work in under 20 minutes when I expected to take at least an hour.

    I also checked out the Golden Gate Bridge Cargo Carrier video upstairs-- it was cool, but definitely not museum worthy.

    I understand they have a relatively small space-- but at least use it better and fill up all the walls with materials! I would have been ok paying less, but they are charging as if they are a larger museums!

    The neighboring gift shop and cafe were also disappointing.

  • 4.0 star rating

    As much as I love art, I often dread going to museums. Most museums are just way too big and overwhelming for me. The time I have available is pretty small an I like to actually look at an read those placards, so I end up feeling pressured and frustrated and then I can't remember the art I saw... You get the idea.

    This museum is small and manageable. The exhibits change regularly. I can actually see everything and take my time doing so. And usually there's something interactive too.

  • 4.0 star rating

    Just visited the San Jose Museum of Art yesterday and didn't realize what an amazing view of the ocean there is. Saw the Rubens exhibit with tapestries and especially enjoyed the post 1800 Art in the West Wing

  • 5.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    What a wonderful small museum! The name of their show of new acquisitions made me laugh--"Initial Public Offering," a nod to San Jose's status as the capital of Silicon Valley and a tech industry center, but there was nothing funny about the show itself--a remarkable group of works, each one an exciting use of materials and allowed room in the spacious first-floor galleries to have its charms felt from all sides. Two of the most memorable pieces for me were a totemic  figure by Tim Hawkinson, woven from cardboard with enormous mitts and no head, its crinkly stuffed body both forbidding and inviting to touch, and a large photograph by John Chiara, who as I learned drives around in a van that he converts into a camera and does long exposures, so some of the traces of the developing process appear as blurs and imperfections on the surface, which he cuts in irregular shapes. it was a shot of the ocean, dappled and sparkling with sunlight, huge and awkward and gorgeous. I had never heard of Hawkinson or Chiara before (or many of the artists in the collection) but I will keep an eye out for their work in the future! Appreciated the chance the San Jose museum gave me to learn about them.

    The upper floor galleries had an exhibit about food an art--there were some nice pieces here too, and the school group touring there made me realize that the topic was a great one for public engagement and educational opportunities. On that note, a lot of signage encourages people to post to social media about their experiences, and use the San Jose musem's branded hashtags. When I searched for them I didn't find that much activity--so it's like they were trying to hard, and social media discussions are something that happen on their own and feel weird when forced from the top, so my one suggestion would be to tone that down a bit. Otherwise, fantastic museum that any American city would be fortunate to have!

  • 5.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    What would otherwise be a sea of dismal office buildings in a wasteland of assimilation and overcompensation, there is an amazing venue for the arts.
    This place is a great spot for everyone. The place is not huge, but they manage to put on some world class art exhibits. What they offer holds up to the population and is relevant to everyone in the Bay Area.  

    I remember taking a cartoon drawing class here when I was younger. Not offered through the Museum anymore but there are limited classes and Art Camps for kids.

    The current exhibits are nothing short of amazing.

  • 3.0 star rating

    Have to agree with reviewers that comment it is small and not particularly in-depth in its content.  Staff was friendly.  It's air conditioned.  Cafe is like a small office cafeteria and has limited menu; don't plan on it as a lunch solution. Nothing wrong with it; nothing especially right with it, either.

  • 2.0 star rating

    If you're a traveler that just came into SJ, this museum is a good place to visit as you unwind before/after dinner, but it's definitely not the place you should plan a trip for. It's small, clean, and maintained very well, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone--especially not children.

    I'm not sure how to appreciate the art, so I won't pretend to like this museum. I thought the exhibits would have arts & crafts since I'm a painter and sketch artist, but the exhibits were mostly everyday objects, concepts, or scientific observations presented in a "show & tell" manner similar to elementary school science fairs. I regret to admit that the stuff isn't art, and I'm glad I didn't have to pay money for admission (courtesy of Bank of America's Museum on Us program).

    If you've never visited the San Jose Museum of Art, you didn't miss much.

  • 4.0 star rating

    I love the Museum.  I always have parking issues.  Recently the ticket machine wouldn't take the validation they gave me in the cafe.  Last time it worked just fine.  The Cafe closes early.    Plan a few more things into your day, it is somewhat small.  

    I really like the creative exhibit choices. I enjoyed Hung Lui and the most recent one about food.  Yummy! Curry smells throughout the gallery.  The staff are always nice and the building is easy to maneuver with a stroller.  Not much interaction for older kids but my baby enjoyed just looking.

  • 5.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    My creativity juices were at a standstill until I walked around this museum this Thursday for a Yelp Event (see my other review). I was so impressed with their exhibits, especially about unsung heroes. Think everyday items such as the paper clip, milk carton and post it brought back to life to honor the genius behind simple solution items. I was drawn to every piece of art and the staff was just as awesome. There was always someone within reach to ask about an exhibit and who would be kind in asking people not to take photos. They also encouraged guests to participate in the free activities in each exhibit hall.

    This museum is in the heart if downtown SJ. I HIGHLY recommend going to visit with a friend, a date, your kids, your family, or with a class on field trip. This gem is on the corner of Market St and San Fernando next to the ice rink or The Fairmont if you're reading this past the holidays. Street parking may be scarce, but there are lots within walking distance.

    Don't take my word for it, go and see for yourself! And if you go on free museum day (check FunCheapSF for details) please donate to help support the arts.