The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are committed to offering services that make its 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. All Access Programs are complimentary or provided at a low-cost for the disability and underserved community. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.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 (415) 750-7645 or e-mail email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information and / or instructions and / or the assistance of MVS or volunteer.
Computer Activated Realtime 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 already have captions incorporated), and other FAMSF related 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 a minimum, scripted text available in booklet form. Films not produced by FAMSF that run for more than three months will have captions. Film 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 are Low Vision or Blind:
Audio tours for most temporary, special exhibitions at both museums are available. These are available at exhibition entrance.
Braille / Tactile and Large Font Museum Guides, Map and other access:
Museums guides and maps are available in both Braille / Tactile and Large Font for both museums. Please ask the admissions staff upon arrival. Visitors will need to submit a photo ID in order to check out one. Both museums provide large font and tactile maps for people who have low vision or are blind and can be requested upon registration. Photo ID must be provided in order to check out one to ensure that it is returned prior to leaving the museum. Braille is also available in the elevators.
Large Print Labels (LPLs):
An LPL booklet is produced for each major temporary, special exhibition, as well as for some smaller special exhibitions as an aide for those who may have difficulty reading the smaller font labels on the walls. Font size 16 Arial is used for the LPL booklet, and it can be found in a plexi-glass holder at the start of the exhibition. Please note that all booklets are the property of Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and are to be returned in the plexi-glass holder at the finish of the exhibition tour.
Please note there are both braille / tactile and large font museum guides and maps available.
Service / Support Animals:
Services / Support Animals are welcome at both museums, as long as the animal is well behaved. Security Guards are allowed to intervene if the animal gets out of hand or is a threat to other visitors or art work. If Service / Support Animal is other than a dog, it is recommended that visitors call in advance to ensure an accommodation can be made.
Standing Closer to Art Policy:
For visitors who self identify themselves as having low vision, they may inform a Membership and Visitor Services (MVS) staff at registration, who will alert a Supervisor informing Security Guards, in real time via radio, to make an exception for visitors who need to stand closer to the artwork. A white cane that identifies the person as having low vision is helpful, but not required. Shoulder bags are to be held back so as not to swing towards art work.
For Visitors with Mobility Considerations:
Accessible / Blue Zone Parking:
Both museums have designated blue zone parking for people who have blue zone placards for their car / van and need easier access to the museums.
Accessible Bathrooms, Gender Neutral Bathrooms, and Nursing / Changing Rooms:
Both museums have Accessible Bathrooms, Gender Neutral Bathrooms, and Nursing / Changing Rooms available. At The de Young Museum: The Changing Room is located at the Emergency Aid Room. At The Legion of Honor: The Changing Room at the Legion of Honor is located at basement level, accessible only by staff, therefore a Security Guard needs to be notified that you need access to the Changing Room.
Motorized Scooters are welcome in both museums. Care is to be exercised when scooting around stand alone pieces of art on pedestals as well as cases.
Visitor drop off:
At The de Young: Visitors can be dropped off either in front of the museum at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive or at the (North) side on Martin Luther King Drive, where the sidewalk is level to the museum. It is recommended that Visitors with Mobility Considerations be dropped of on the Tower side of the Museum for easier access to the admissions desk.
At The Legion of Honor: Visitors can be dropped off either in front of the museum, where there is a slight rise in all ramps up to the main entrance or in front of the North side entrance which brings you to the lower level, requiring you to take the elevator up to main level to check in at the admissions desk.
Both museums have wheelchairs on hand for visitors who find it will be easier to navigate in this manner. Photo ID must be provided to check out a wheelchair, which you can ask for upon registration. There are some wide wheelchairs, however wheelchairs cannot be reserved and are checked out on a first come, first serve basis.
At the de Young, there are Push Buttons located at the museum entry. At the LOH there are no push buttons however there is an intercom located at the North Side entrance to alert Security if you need assistance. Any location that does not have a push button will either have doors propped open, doors that are lightweight and ADA compliant, or a Security Guard standing nearby to assist with opening of doors.
Both museums are wheelchair accessible by ramp or level ground.
Lightweight, portable, and wide sturdy stools are available for people who find it helpful to sit and rest while viewing art in the galleries. These can be requested upon registration. Photo ID must be provided to ensure stools are returned prior to leaving the museum. Please note there are five available at each museum and cannot be reserved.
For Visitors with Limited English Proficiency (LEP):
For visitors who have Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and request a tour in a specified language, an attempt will be made to locate a docent who speaks the language. At least two week's notice must be given.
Access Community Programs
Access Days allow visitors an opportunity to visit special exhibitions on select Mondays when the Museums are closed to the public. The goal is to have an Access Day occur once during each special exhibit. Docent tours for visitors with low-vision, who are Deaf and communicate via American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation, and other accommodations are offered. Access Day patrons from the 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. Please check the museum calendar for upcoming dates.
American Sign Language (ASL) Tours/Tours with ASL Interpretation
ASL Tours (formally 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 after participating in an intensive three hour annual docent training and studying with FAMSF docents, who mentor through an exhibition learning tour.
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 and Touch Tours
This is a program for people with low vision or who are blind by providing highly descriptive and / or touch tour by specially trained docents.
Memory Café Tours
Memory Café is a tour designed for the dementia support group “Memory Café” and is modeled after the Artful Discoveries Tours for people with early stage dementia and Alzheimer's.
Memory Making Social Outing Tours
This program is a spin off from the original Artful Discoveries Tour model, which is a tailored tour for Cantonese speaking Chinese-Americans with mid-stage dementia.
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 Self Guided Access Tours
Private Self Guided Tours is the same as the above, without the docent.
Senior Center Without Walls Tours
This program was developed in 2017 for seniors unable to leave the home or use the computer, where seniors can call in and listen to highly descriptive tours while looking at hard copy images mailed to them prior to the remote tour.
TAM on the Go Tours
This program is designed for Senior Access of Marin and is modeled after the Artful Discoveries Tours. In FY 2017/18, we hosted one tour to pilot the program and have 5 more tours planned for the remainder of this FY.
Veteran’s Personal Response Tours
This program was launched in March 2017 providing a specialized tour once a month, during which Veterans select a work of art that interests them, based on a theme, and they discuss the emotions it produces with other Veterans in the tour group.
Other Access Information
Access Advisory Board
The Access Advisors is comprised of fourteen members who have disabilities, who work in the disability field, or who have a family member with a disability. They work with FAMSF, most closely with the Access Coordinator, Karen Berniker, to help make the museums more accessible both to persons with disabilities and to 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 as usable and disability friendly to these visitors if they come independently, and also for the museums to provide specialized services to our visitors upon request. This group was formed in 1988, and it is in its 29th year of service at the museums. In 2017 subcommittees were created in an effort to leverage the AA expertise and maximize impact more quickly.
Access Advisory Subcommittees
The Access Advisors made a decision in 2017 to expand, but remain a relatively small, active group that facilitates program expansion. In order to become more efficient at specific tasks, the AA Board continued with the Deaf Community Subcommittee and formed four additional sub-committees; a Strategic Planning Subcommittee tasked with identifying short and long term goals with target dates that provides a roadmap for program development; the Nominating and Orientation Subcommittee charged with recruiting and orienting new members, an Outreach Subcommittee tasked with expanding reach in the Disability and Underserved Communities and an Access Subcommittee in an effort to identify and address physical and programmatic access as it relates to specific disability groups.
de Young Museum
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr
San Francisco, CA 94118
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.