San Jose Museums Tour, San Jose

San Jose Museums Tour (Self Guided), San Jose

The capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose is full of discovery and innovation. Also, steeped in history – established since 1777 – the city has born witness to numerous chapters of American past. When it comes to culture, education and recreation, the local museums are a perfect destination for solo adventurers new to the area.

Here, among other things, you can:
- get hands-on with technology at the Tech Museum of Innovation – dedicated to promoting the development of technology and showcasing its history; suitable for all ages; replete with a host of interactive exhibits and other exciting features;

- browse through collections of visual masterpieces at the San Jose Museum of Art – a popular spot for art and cultural enthusiasts; focused on modern and contemporary art, particularly that originated from or dealing with California;

- fuel your creative spirit from a unique experience in the complex world of textile art at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles;

- learn about Japanese-Americans’ way of life, culture, and art at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose – detailing the history of Japanese-Americans during the early- to mid-20th century, throughout World War II and thereafter;

- and so much more.

If you take keen interest in any (or all) of these activities and feel like a modern-day explorer, anxious to visit the diverse and most fascinating museums of San Jose, feel free to embark on this self-guided walking tour for a great day out!
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San Jose Museums Tour Map

Guide Name: San Jose Museums Tour
Guide Location: USA » San Jose (See other walking tours in San Jose)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Author: AlexanderA
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose
  • San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles
  • Tech Museum of Innovation
  • San Jose Museum of Art
  • Japanese American Museum of San Jose
Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose

1) Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose (must see)

Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose (CDM) is located on Woz Way in downtown San Jose. Woz Way is named after Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer, whose nickname is "Woz," and who was the single largest private donor during the original capital campaign that funded the Museum.

Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose has been ranked by Child Magazine as one of the top 10 children’s museums in the U.S. and ranked by the London Observer as one of the top 5 science centers in the world. It opened its doors in 1990, and over 6 million visitors have attended. The Museum builds and displays interactive exhibits that they believe respond to children's diverse educational needs. The 52,000-square-foot purple building was designed by Mexico City-based architect Ricardo Legorreta.

The Museum’s signature programs such as BioSITE and Discovery Youth encompass the broad themes of community, connections and creativity. These programs are intended to provide facilitated, focused, and sustained learning. The Museum’s goal is to create interactive exhibits that invite self-directed, open-ended explorations.

The Discovery Museum was designed by the world famous Mexican Architect Ricardo Legorreta. The building exemplifies his use of color, light, shadows, and water. The violet colors change from light blues to dark purples, depending on the shadows, time of year, and angle of the sun through what seem to be stragetically placed windows. This building give the City of San José two world-class structures of significant architectural importance.

Operation hours: Monday – Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm; Sunday: 12 – 5 pm.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles

2) San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles

The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles is an art museum in Downtown San Jose founded in 1977. It is the first in the United States devoted solely to quilts and textiles as an art form. Holdings include a permanent collection of over 550 quilts, garments and ethnic textiles, emphasizing artists of the 20th- and 21st-century, and a research library with over 500 books concerning the history and techniques of the craft.The Museum of Quilts & Textiles had its beginnings as the American Museum of Quilts and Related Arts, founded in Los Altos, California by the Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association in 1977.

It was incorporated in 1986 as a nonprofit public benefit museum, managed by a board of trustees. It relocated several times until it moved into its 13,000 sq ft (1,200 m2) permanent home in San Jose’s SoFA (South First Area) Arts District in 2005.The Museum provides exhibitions from around the world, focusing on the way people of many cultures use textiles to make their voices heard. Many of the artists on exhibit at the Museum incorporate modern technology into the basic traditions of fiber art. Exhibitions and individual installations typically remain on view 3 months.

Operation hours: Wednesday - Friday: 11 am - 4 pm; Saturday & Sunday: 11 am - 3 pm.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Tech Museum of Innovation

3) Tech Museum of Innovation (must see)

The Tech Interactive is a science and technology center perfect for all ages, with lots of hands-on activities. Some of the exhibits include exhibitions dedicated to biology, computer technology, and robotics. Many have hands-on features to help make learning even more engaging.

Experiences include a VR experience based on bird flight and a genetics-related experience courtesy of Stanford Tech. These experiences help visitors get the most from their encounters. One of the most significant advantages that these experiences offer is an easy way to appeal to visitors of all ages and making learning more fun.

This science center has an IMAX theater where you can see films in an unforgettable experience. Some of the companies that feature their films here include MacGillivray Freeman and National Geographic, with genres ranging from wildlife to space. There is also a cafe featuring sandwiches to go and offering indoor and patio seating.

Operation hours: Monday – Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm.
San Jose Museum of Art

4) San Jose Museum of Art

The San Jose Museum of Art is an art museum in Downtown San Jose founded in 1969. It hosts a large permanent collection emphasizing West Coast artists of the 20th- and 21st-century. The museum's historic wing was originally designed by architect Willoughby J. Edbrooke and built as the San Jose post office in 1892, then served as the city's library from 1937 to 1969. The "New Wing", comprising the majority of the current exhibition space, opened in 1991. Many of the changing exhibitions at the San Jose Museum of Art focus on the West Coast and California.

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, a great many exhibitions are centered on the intersection of art and technology. Exhibitions and individual installations typically remain on view between 4 to 6 months. The collection includes more than 2,000 works in a variety of media, including sculpture, paintings, prints, digital media, photographs, and drawings by artists such as Robert Arneson, Milton Avery, Gregory Barsamian, Joan Brown, and many more.

In 2007 the San Jose Museum of Art won the prestigious MUSE award from the American Association of Museums Technology Committee.

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 11 am – 5 pm.
Japanese American Museum of San Jose

5) Japanese American Museum of San Jose

The Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj) is located at 535 N. Fifth Street in San Jose, in the heart of Japantown. The museum's mission is to collect, preserve, and share Japanese American art, history, and culture with an emphasis on the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. The JAMsj was established in November 1987. It grew out of a 1984-86 research project on Japanese American farmers in the Santa Clara Valley. The farming project collected family histories, historical photographs, private memoirs and other unpublished documents and led to the development of a curriculum package on Japanese American history, which was adopted for use by the San Jose Unified and Eastside Union High School Districts.

JAMsj's workshop on developing family histories provided documentary materials and photos included in the award-winning book Japanese Legacy: Farming and Community Life in California's Santa Clara Valley (1985) co-authored by Timothy J. Lukes, Ph.D. and Gary Y. Okihiro, Ph.D.

The museum started in the historic Issei Memorial Building (formerly the Kuwabara Hospital) with the help and support of the Japanese American Citizens League, San Jose Chapter. In 2002, the name changed from Japanese American Resource Center/Museum (JARC/M) to Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj) to better reflect the museum's archival focus. JAMsj now occupies the former residence of Tokio Ishikawa, M.D. two doors south on North Fifth Street. The original JAMsj building was demolished in 2008. The new museum re-opened in October, 2010.

Operation hours: Thursday – Sunday: 12 – 4 pm.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

Walking Tours in San Jose, California

Create Your Own Walk in San Jose

Create Your Own Walk in San Jose

Creating your own self-guided walk in San Jose is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
San Jose Public Art Walking Tour

San Jose Public Art Walking Tour

This walking tour, “Public Art as Resistance in San José,” highlights the history of resistance and public art in downtown San José and begins on the urban university campus, San José State University. Starting from the first two works of art on campus, you’ll find that these 12 works of public art are among many in this area. However, this particular walking tour considers how San...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.0 Km or 3.7 Miles
San Jose Downtown Walking Tour

San Jose Downtown Walking Tour

San Jose is California's third-largest city and the second-largest city in Northern California. From 1849 to 1851, San Jose served as the state's first capital, which is still a local source of pride. The city has formally incorporated in 1850 and has been a center of innovation from the late 19th century, starting with agriculture and food processing.

During World War II, several...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles