FAQs

How can I sign up?

To schedule your visit please use the online Scheduler. If you need assistance please send e-mail to education@sjmusart.org or call 408.291.5393. Plan early for best availability as SJMA programs fill very quickly. Please note that gallery visits should be reserved at least six weeks prior to the desired date. We make every effort to accommodate your first preference, but because we cannot guarantee availability, your program date is confirmed only after you receive a confirmation email from SJMA.

How much does it cost?

Guided Tours and Self-Guided Visits are $90 per class of 10–30 students. The cost for groups with fewer than 10 students is $70.

2-Part Art (Tour and Studio Art Lesson) is $200 per class of 10–30 students. The cost for groups with fewer than 10 students is $120.

All schools will receive an invoice for the number of students booked a month before the tour date. Please note payment is due two weeks in advance if possible. Otherwise, you will need to contact the museum to coordinate an alternative payment plan at 408.291.5393. Transportation to the Museum for the program is not included. (See below for free transportation information.)

I’m ready to sign up. What information does the SJMA staff need from me?

All pertinent information is collected during the online scheduler process. We do need to know if the number of your students changes before the visit.

Who will lead our tour?

Tours are led by our professional gallery teacher staff members who are trained in aesthetic development, touring strategies, and the content of SJMA exhibitions. All SJMA Gallery Teachers are college graduates and have a strong commitment to educating children about contemporary art.

How many Gallery Teachers will work with my class?

We aim to assign one gallery teacher per 10–15 students. Because group sizes vary, the Gallery Teacher-Student ratio may vary as well. When you book your tour, we can give you more detailed information.

How long does a tour last?

Tours last approximately one hour. Kindergarten and first grade tours may be somewhat shorter. If you’d like to shorten the tour time, please let us know when you make your reservation. 2-Part Art experiences last 2 hours: 1-hour tour, followed by a short break and then a 1-hour art activity.

What happens during a tour?

SJMA tours are inquiry-based and interactive. This means that your students will be asked to closely analyze art, formulate their own opinions, and provide evidence for their reasoning. Based on research and theories in aesthetic development, we believe that it’s important to give children time to thoughtfully examine and explore the work of artists. For this reason, your students will experience an in-depth and concentrated examination of a small selection of art during their visit. If you would like to give your students more time to look at art after their tour, please let us know when you make your reservation.

How long can we stay in the Museum?

If you’d like your students to spend more time in the galleries, you must make a special request when you book your visit. If the Museum has reached its school group capacity, we may not be able to accommodate you, but will do our best.

When can we visit?

Guided, and Two Part Arts
Visits can be booked Tuesday–Friday, 9 AM–3 PM.
The following tour times are available, and will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.
9 AM, 10:15 AM, 11:30 AM, 12:45 PM, 1:30 PM, and 2:45 PM.

Self-guided visits can be booked Tuesday–Friday, 11 AM–4 PM.

How many students and chaperones can I bring?

You may bring up to 60 students, space permitting, in a one-hour tour period.

For K-12 visits, the Museum requires one adult chaperone per 10 students. If, for example, you have a class of 25 students, we request that you bring 3 chaperones. College groups are not required to bring chaperones.

How far in advance should I book a tour?

Tours can be booked up to six months in advance. You must make your reservation no later than six weeks in advance of the requested tour date. Tours are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no guarantee that space will be available.

What is your cancellation policy?

Tour fees are nonrefundable once a tour reservation is made. The only exception for a full refund is to schools that cancel at least three months before the scheduled tour date.

If your group cancels more than four weeks before the program appointment, your nonrefundable fee can be applied to another guided tour within the same school year.

If your group cancels with less than four weeks’ notice before the program appointment, your nonrefundable fee can be applied to a self-guided tour within the same school year.

If you would like to change the time of your scheduled tour to a different time on the same day, please give us at least four weeks’ notice. We can make this adjustment at no cost, space and availability permitting.

Yikes! We missed our scheduled tour. Can we get a refund?

We’re so sorry—no refunds can be offered. Your class is welcome to reschedule for a self-guided tour at no extra cost, space and availability permitting. Rescheduled tours must occur during the same school year.

Can our school group visit without a Gallery Teacher?

Your class is welcome to self-guide. While we recommend that school groups visit the galleries with an SJMA Gallery Teacher, we recognize that some teachers prefer to guide their own group. Because we limit the number of school children in the galleries at any given time, please book your self-guided visit at least six weeks in advance.

Self-guiding groups must submit a lesson plan to SJMA at least four weeks prior to their visit, and we recommend that teachers preview the Museum to become familiar with the works on view before conducting a tour with students. K-12 self-guided groups must also have at least one chaperone per 10 students. If your group arrives at SJMA without a reservation, you will be charged regular admission rates: $5/youth, $6/college student and $10/adults.

We’re a home school group. Can you accommodate us?

Yes. We suggest that home school groups book tours just as other schools do. If your group would like a guided experience, please be prepared to let us know the age range of students so that we can plan your tour accordingly. When you book the visit, please register all children over the age of five in your total head count. While we will try to engage all children in the tour experience, children under five will be the full responsibility of their parents. Self-guided home school groups must submit a lesson plan to SJMA four weeks prior to their visit.

Do you offer transportation?

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority offers a free Class Pass. This program provides free transportation on the transportation agency’s entire system, including all buses, light rail, and historic trolleys!

Complete and submit a Free Class Pass Field Trip Application to the VTA office at least three weeks prior to the scheduled trip for consideration and processing. VTA's Youth Outreach Coordinator will be happy to fax or mail you the Class Pass Application.

Contact Information

VTA Youth Outreach Coordinator
3331 North First Street
San Jose, Ca 95134

408.321.7500 (Monday through Friday)
408.321.7535 (Fax)
408.321.2330 (TDD)

What do I need to know before the visit?

  • Previewing the exhibition is recommended to help you prepare for your visit. The museum is open Tuesday–Sunday, 11 AM–5 PM. Bring your automated scheduler confirmation email to the Museum, prior to your visit, for one free admission.
  • Review Museum guidelines and FAQs with your students.
  • Bring your checklist, to ensure that you have everything you need for a great visit.
  • Please note the Museum has no lunch facilities. Students can enjoy their lunch at school, or in the park or plaza areas adjacent to the Museum.

Up to 40 minutes worth free parking stickers for validated parking per vehicle are available with a nominal purchase ($5.00 or more) in the Museum Café. Validation is only for lots displaying “Pv” symbol. (FYI: some of the privately owned parking facilities downtown do not honor the validation stamps).

What do we do when we arrive at the Museum?

  • Please arrive 15 minutes before scheduled start of program (allow time for traffic and parking).
  • Buses may drop students off in front of the Museum on Market Street.
  • The museum requires one adult chaperone to accompany every 10 students. Gallery teachers will help you divide your students into groups when you arrive.
  • Chaperones must remain with the group during the entire museum visit and accept responsibility for monitoring the group’s behavior.
  • If possible, please leave backpacks, water bottles, etc. at school or in the bus. Otherwise these can be checked at the self-service coat and baggage area. SJMA is not responsible for items damaged, lost, or stolen.

Is there anything I should tell my students before our visit?

  • Experience art with your eyes and minds, not your hands.
  • Stay with your group or chaperone at all times.
  • Use only pencils for writing or sketching. Use clipboards for support, not pedestals or walls.
  • Five students can enter SJMA Store at one time, on a rotating basis, and must be with a chaperone.
  • Photography policy.