Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, part of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
The California Palace of the Legion of Honor, part of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, comprising the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, is the largest public arts institution in the city of San Francisco and one of the largest art museums in California, United States.

With a total value of over $1 billion, the permanent collection of the Fine Arts Museums is organized into six areas, each with a curatorial staff. There are 150,000 objects in the permanent collection, of which 90% are digitally photographed and cataloged, and about 3,000 objects are on view at any one time.

Unlike most other major art museums, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco do not have a large endowment on which it can draw. As of June 2011, the endowment amounted to $120 million. The museums operate on an annual budget of about $55 million, most of which is funded by membership dues, ticket sales, donations and purchases in its stores[1] as well as contributed revenue (from philanthropic contributions and grants). They are run in a private-public partnership with the city of San Francisco, which owns the two museum buildings and covers about 23 percent of their operating expenses in the form of security guards and insurance premiums. In fiscal year 2012, the museum drew nearly 1.6 million visitors.[2]

In 2012, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Louvre signed an agreement that provides for collaborative exhibitions and the sharing of art works. The terms of the agreement will last five years, and create a partnership that will promote short- and long-term loans that will allow works from each collection to be seen in both cities, as well as joint publications, conservation projects and educational programs.[3]

On March 22, 2016, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco announced the appointment of Max Hollein as its director, taking over from Colin Bailey who left for the Morgan Library & Museum after a two-year term. Hollein's tenure began on June 1, 2016.[4]


  1. Geoffrey A. Fowler (August 4, 2011), Museum Invests in Crowd-Pleasers, Wall Street Journal
  2. Patricia Cohen (March 15, 2013), Turmoil at Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, The New York Times
  3. Allan Kozinn (November 15, 2012), Louvre and San Francisco Museums Sign Pact, The New York Times
  4. Jori Finkel (22 March 2016). "Fine Arts Museums in San Francisco Picks Max Hollein as Next Director". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 March 2016. In a surprising move, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco has gone beyond the United States for its next director, hiring Max Hollein away from the Städel Museum in Frankfurt.

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