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Get the Backstory before Your Visit

Have you ever felt, when visiting a museum, that your entire time was spent reading the wall text? Have you ever wished you could enter an exhibition already knowing the major themes and basic facts so you could spend more time looking closely at the objects on view? Or maybe you would just like to impress your date with casual knowledge on what you’re about to see? We have the solution: our new Digital Stories. Your feedback has taught us that reading and understanding all the information presented in an exhibition can be exhausting and, in some cases, actually distract from the artworks in the galleries. So we’ve created Digital Stories as a free online platform to prepare you for your museum visit.

The de Young's "Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire" exhibition Digital Story
The "Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire" Digital Story

One of our latest Digital Stories was launched in conjunction with Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire (September 30, 2017–February 11, 2018) at the de Young.

This online tool provides a concise but compelling overview that allows you to:

  • see aerial footage and learn geographical facts of the archaeological zone, a UNESCO World Heritage Site;
  • hone your ability to decode the iconography of the mysterious murals created by the people of Teotihuacan;
  • explore objects excavated from the tunnel beneath the Feathered Serpent Pyramid—a place that was only recently discovered and whose artifacts have never been on public view before;
  • discover what made the urban experience at Teotihuacan unique among ancient Mesoamerican cultures;
  • learn how the symbolic power of Teotihuacan continues to echo across the ages in modern-day San Francisco;
  • and much more!
The de Young's "Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire" exhibition Digital Story
The "Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire" Digital Story

We want you to look at the art, not at your phone or tablet, so we created this platform for you to peruse an exhibition’s Digital Story in advance. By entering the galleries already familiar with the content, your visit builds on your knowledge. This allows you to focus on specific aspects of the exhibition that interest or puzzle you, along with details about the artworks that might otherwise go unnoticed.

We’re eager to hear your thoughts on your experience with Digital Stories as we strive to make them as rich, engaging, and friendly as possible. Just email us at

In addition, be on the lookout for three more Digital Stories we've been working on for these upcoming exhibitions:

Browse our archive of all available Digital Stories for de Young exhibitions and for Legion of Honor exhibitions.