Guide to Local Museums and Galleries

By Staff Writers Evangeline Chang, Ella Chen, Hana Sheikh & Richard Chenyu Zhou

The Bay Area is home to a variety of artwork and exhibits that reflect its diversity. This month, the Smoke Signal spotlights six noteworthy museums that are worth visiting during the upcoming breaks.

Legion of Honor:

Located in Lincoln Park of San Francisco is the Legion of Honor, the Bay Area’s most well-known Beaux-Arts museum. Showcasing 4,000 years of ancient European artwork, the Legion of Honor was a gift to the city of San Francisco by Alma de Bretteville Spreckels in 1915; the namesake of the museum is the famous Palais de la Légion d’Honneur. The museum was built to commemorate all the Californian soldiers who died serving in World War I, which was ongoing when the museum was built. Today, Rodin’s famous sculpture, The Thinker, greets guests in the pavilion at the entrance of the museum. Inside, visitors can see paintings by Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Camille Pissarro. There are always special exhibits, which are updated consistently and described on the museum’s website. The Legion of Honor is open on Tuesdays through Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., and on select Mondays during the year.

Address: 100 34th Ave., San Francisco, CA 94121

Computer History Museum

The Computer History Museum, located in Mountain View at the center of Silicon Valley, preserves the stories and relics of the history of technology. Its main exhibit is a comprehensive guide through time that shows the evolution of computing, from the abacus to artificial intelligence. Other exhibits display modern advancements such as the autonomous car, and spotlight the mathematician Ada Lovelace. The museum offers interactive experiences and more than 1,100 artifacts in its collections, on every aspect of technology. It is currently expanding into two main centers on entrepreneurship and software. Visitors can go on guided tours, watch demonstrations on computers from the late 1950s, or explore on their own. The museum is open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Address: 1401 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94043

The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment

Located in Oakland, the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment, better known as the MADE, collects and curates video games, gaming systems, and art in digital mediums. The museum’s core concept is that every exhibit should be interactive — all games on display can be played by visitors. Titles range from the those of the Atari system to those of more modern systems like the PlayStation and GameCube. In addition, MADE hosts events to teach aspiring game designers how to build and illustrate video games. In the next several years, it will move to a new venue near San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art and expand its broad collection of art. The MADE is open on weekends from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Address: 3400 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

The Museum of Craft and Design

The Museum of Craft and Design (MCD) is located in San Francisco, and has been open since 2004. The museum encourages creativity, as expressed in their variety of galleries and exhibitions. The galleries the museum exhibits change every few months. The MCD has three exhibitions on display until late January: Marianne Lettieri: Reflections, Beyond the Pour II: The Creative Process, and Anja Ulfeldt: Of Sound|Mind and Objects. This museum also offers programs for children and adults, giving them opportunities to create their own art and participate in workshops, through events such as MCD MakeArt and MCD Design Lab. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Sundays from 12 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Address: 2569 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107

Asian Art Museum

Located in San Francisco, the Asian Art Museum bridges the US to Asia with its vast collections of Asian culture and art, and aims to empower and inspire visitors. It has one of the world’s most extensive Asian art collections, with works from before recorded history to modern pieces created today. The galleries focus on Asia’s major cultures: Japan, China, Korea, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Persia and West Asia, and the Himalayas and Tibet. The museum also currently features special exhibitions on the Rama epic, Japanese ceramics, female power in Hindu practices, suspended Chinese characters, and Tibetan paintings of Buddha. Visitors can fully immerse themselves in the art displayed on all three floors, and take guided tours of the gallery or exhibitions. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Address: 200 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

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