Any time of year is a perfect time to be mesmerized amidst curated museum walls, but additional motivation is coming in the form of Museum Week on June 19-25. What started as an international online “event” to bridge location gaps between the globe’s cultural landmarks is giving us more reason to celebrate some beloved Bay Area cultural hubs in person.
History buff, art addict, cultural anthropologist or experimental crafter, Museum Week is a boon to your interests. Want to challenge yourself to a museum boot camp? Hit up these seven BARTable museums in seven days to fill your calendar with a beautiful blitz of education and inspiration. Museum Week or not, check out the ongoing free museum admission days included below.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
SFMOMA is located at 151 Third St. in San Francisco, a 7-minute walk from Montgomery Street Station.
If you can’t do seven museums in seven days, how about just SFMOMA’s seven floors? Trust us, you’ll still have enough to fill the week. San Francisco’s revamped, world-class museum’s love of art is engrained in its architecture, just as the modern art mecca is engrained in any art buff’s to-do list.
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
BAMPFA is located at 2155 Center St. in Berkeley, a 1-minute walk from Downtown Berkeley Station.
Stunning, sleek and spacey architecture will have you gawking before you’ve even entered BAMPFA’s doors on Center Street in Berkeley; the building’s exterior itself is a massive and much-talked about piece of art. Once inside, you can score a seat in the Barbro Osher Theater for a film screening or explore expansive galleries that make up this 3-level focal point for contemporary art, movies and mingling. Free admission each first Thursday of every month.
Oakland Museum of California
OMCA is located at 1000 Oak St. in Oakland, a 3-minute walk from Lake Merritt Station. Photo courtesy of OMCA.
Another three-tiered building, OMCA clearly delineates each of its three galleries with a theme: art, history and science. Still, each floor is interconnected through its exploration of California and the Bay Area. Come face to face with local history and contemporary Bay Area issues. Free admission each first Sunday of every month.
Asian Art Museum
The Asian Art Museum is located at 200 Larkin St. in San Francisco, a 4-minute walk from Civic Center/Union Plaza Station.
As the home to one of the largest collections of Asian art in the world, the Asian Art Museum holds more than 18,000 pieces spanning, fittingly, the largest continent in the world. Dissect the details on a 16th century scroll from Japan or ponder the meanings of Buddhist and Hindu religious artifacts. Free admission each first Sunday of every month.
African American Museum and Library at Oakland
AAMLO is located at 659 14th St. in Oakland, a 7-minute walk from 12th St./Oakland City Center Station.
Need to hear inspiration? Listen to interviews with local civil rights activists, writers and musicians at the AAMLO’s incredible oral history collection. Then there’s the Eternal Voices video library focused on 80 years of the African American experience in the East Bay. A lesser-known but equally profound museum in the mix, AAMLO is a humble treasure trove for local history and art. Admission is always free.
Contemporary Jewish Museum
The Contemporary Jewish Museum is located at 736 Mission St. in San Francisco, a 3-minute walk from Powell Station. Photo courtesy of CJM.
When you’ve come to a massive blue cube that sits slanted against a brick building, you’ve arrived at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in the Yerba Buena neighborhood of downtown San Francisco. Experience and honor Jewish culture, history and art via guided conversation-based gallery tours, performances, film screenings and workshops. Free admission each first Tuesday of every month. Mention “BARTable” at the front desk to receive $3 off tickets to see “Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs.”
Children’s Creativity Museum
Children’s Creativity Museum is located at 221 4th St. in San Francisco, a 7-minute walk from Powell Street Station. Photo courtesy of Children's Creativity Museum.
This is where you can bring the kids for a multifaceted hands-on experience in arts, crafts, tech and pure play. Appropriately marked by a historic carousel on the corner of 4th and Howard, Children’s Creativity Museum will also make your adult head spin with giddiness when you walk into its electrified world of workshops, themed rooms, play areas and galleries combining fantasy and technology.