Location
200 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
415.581.3500
A docent talks to a group of museum visitors.

Guided Gallery Tours

Storytelling Tours (Grades K–6)

Travel across Asia as you compare and contrast similar themes and topics.

Animal Tales Storytelling

Search the galleries for animals and listen to animal tales that spark imagination and bring art to life.

Tuesdays–Fridays, 9:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m. or 12:30 p.m.
Program lasts about 75 minutes
Maximum 60 students, Grades K–2

Common Core Standards:
Key Ideas and Details: 2.2. Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson or moral; 3.2. Recount stories, including fables, folktales and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: 4.7. Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text; 4.9. Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics and patterns of events in stories, myths and traditional literature from different cultures.

Tricksters Storytelling

Often things are not what they seem. Gods and mere humans, kings and lowly servants, tigers and tiny rabbits all play tricks. The purpose is sometimes good, sometimes not so good, but these tricks make good stories, and tell us a lot about what is right and wrong with this world.

Tuesdays–Fridays, 9:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m. or 12:30 p.m.
Program lasts about 75 minutes
Maximum 60 students, Grades 3–6

Common Core Standards:
Key Ideas and Details: 2.2. Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson or moral; 3.2. Recount stories, including fables, folktales and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: 4.7. Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text; 4.9. Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics and patterns of events in stories, myths and traditional literature from different cultures.

Heroes and Sheroes Storytelling Tour

These stories introduce students to courageous, noble and self-sacrificing acts performed by ordinary men, women, girls and boys.

Tuesdays–Fridays, 9:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m. or 12:30 p.m.
Program lasts about 75 minutes
Maximum 60 students, Grades 3–6

Common Core Standards:
Key Ideas and Details: 2.2. Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson or moral; 3.2. Recount stories, including fables, folktales and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: 4.7. Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text; 4.9. Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics and patterns of events in stories, myths and traditional literature from different cultures.

Stories from China

Become enchanted with authentic stories from ancient China or celebrate the New Year with stories from the zodiac during this storytelling session.

Tuesdays–Fridays, 9:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m. or 12:30 p.m.
Program lasts about 60 minutes
Maximum 40 students
Grades K–6

Common Core Standards:
Key Ideas and Details: 2.2. Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson or moral; 3.2. Recount stories, including fables, folktales and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: 4.7. Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text; 4.9. Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics and patterns of events in stories, myths and traditional literature from different cultures.

Stories from Japan

Traditional stories from Japan bring tales of magical creatures and adventures of samurai warriors to life in the galleries.

Program lasts about 60 minutes
Maximum 30 students, Grades K–6

Common Core Standards:
Key Ideas and Details: 2.2. Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson or moral; 3.2. Recount stories, including fables, folktales and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: 4.7. Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text; 4.9. Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics and patterns of events in stories, myths and traditional literature from different cultures.

Stories from Korea

“Long, long ago, when Grandfather Tiger smoked a pipe,” is the traditional opening to lively Korean stories that bring gallery objects to life for young listeners.

Program lasts about 60 minutes
Maximum 30 students, Grades K–6

Common Core Standards:
Key Ideas and Details: 2.2. Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson or moral; 3.2. Recount stories, including fables, folktales and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: 4.7. Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text; 4.9. Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics and patterns of events in stories, myths and traditional literature from different cultures.

Stories from South and Southeast Asia

The vivid artifacts in the South and Southeast Asia galleries invoke stories from the great hero epic of Prince Rama, the life of the Buddha and folktales from  India, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Tuesdays–Fridays, 9:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m. or 12:30 p.m.
Program lasts about 60 minutes
Maximum 40 students, Grades K–6

Common Core Standards:
Key Ideas and Details: 2.2. Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson or moral; 3.2. Recount stories, including fables, folktales and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: 4.7. Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text; 4.9. Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics and patterns of events in stories, myths and traditional literature from different cultures.

Inquiry-Based Tours (Grades 4–12)

Art, culture and history come alive through student-centered gallery tours and activities.

Brushpainting: Nature in Art

Explore references to nature on a tour of East Asian brushpainting in the galleries. Then apply these observations in a hands-on class on traditional brushstroke techniques.

Program lasts about 90 minutes
Maximum 35 students

Free Muni youth passes available upon request for students attending the brushpainting program. Passes cannot be used on Bart or cable cars.

Common Core Standards: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas 6.7 Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.

Content Standards (California): History/Social Science: 7.3.6, 7.5.1.Visual/Performing Arts: 4.4.4 Identify and describe how various cultures define and value art differently. 7.1.4 Analyze and describe how the elements of art and the principles of design contribute to the expressive qualities of their own works of art. 4.1.5, 5.1.1, 6.3.2, 7.1.3, 7.4.3 .

Samurai: Real and Imagined

Samurai: Real and Imagined

Explore the life of the Japanese samurai. Students can try on a samurai helmet, view a tearoom and participate in a simulated tea gathering.

Program lasts about 80 minutes
Maximum 35 students

Samurai: Sword and Brush

Students explore works of art from medieval Japan and make their own work of art in a hands-on brushpainting workshop.

Program lasts about 100 minutes
For groups of 40–60 students (two classes) only

Content Standards (California): History/Social Science: 7.5. Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious and social structures of the civilizations of Medieval Japan.

Museum Highlights: Great Works

Museum docents lead students on a gallery tour through multiple regions of Asia, highlighting some of the great works of art in the the museum’s collection. This tour does not include special exhibition galleries.

Tuesdays–Fridays, 9:45 a.m. or 12:30 p.m.
Program lasts about 75 minutes
Maximum 60 students

Ancient China

See how writing developed, learn about 3,000-year-old bronze technologies, and draw conclusions about how beliefs and ideas spread throughout ancient China. Compare your discoveries to your own daily life.

Tuesdays–Thursdays, 9:45 a.m. or 12:30 p.m.
Program lasts about 80 minutes
Maximum 35 students

Content Standards (California): History/Social Science: 6.6. Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious and social structures of the early civilizations of China.

Beliefs Made Visible: Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic Art

Discover how artworks from South Asia, Southeast Asia, West Asia and the Himalayas reveal belief systems addressing universal concerns. Students will engage in hands-on activities incorporating close looking, movement, meditation and drawing to learn about three of the major world religions.

Tuesdays–Thursdays, 9:45 a.m. or 12:30 p.m.
Program lasts about 1 hour 45 minutes
Maximum 35 students

Content Standards (California): History/Social Science: 6.5. Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious and social structures of the civilizations of India. 7.2 Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious and social structures of the civilizations of Islam in the Middle Ages.

Silk and Spice Roads

Travel along these trade routes to discover how technologies, traditions and luxuries were exchanged and assimilated into local cultures. Students will debate the benefits and dangers of land and maritime trade, barter for and become experts in objects they choose, and see which ideas and innovations are still important today.

Tuesdays–Thursdays, 9:45 a.m. or 12:30 p.m.
Program lasts about 80 minutes
Maximum 35 students

Content Standards (California): History/Social Science: 6.6.7. Cite the significance of the trans-Eurasian “silk roads” in the period of the Han dynasty and Roman empire and their locations. 6.6.8. Describe the diffusion of Buddhism northward to China during the Han dynasty. 7.3. Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious and social structures of the civilizations of China in the Middle Ages.

Buddhism Across Asia

Through art investigations and storytelling, learn about the life and teachings of the Buddha and trace the spread of Buddhism throughout Asia.

Tuesdays–Thursdays, 12:30 p.m.
Program lasts about 100 minutes
Student number is limited to 35

Availabilty is limited.

Special Exhibition School Tours

Special exhibition tours are free with preregistration.

Please email schools@asianart.org for further information about upcoming exhibitions.

All school programs are free with pre-registration.

Guided tours must be booked at least 8 weeks in advance.

Upcoming Storytelling Tour Events

Organizers & Sponsors

The Asian Art Museum Storyteller Program is generously supported by the Kimball Foundation. 

The Asian Art Museum Docent Program is generously supported by the Dhanam Foundation and Society for Asian Art.