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De Saisset Museum, Santa Clara

#5 of 7 in Museums in Santa Clara
Art Museum · Hidden Gem · History Museum
The de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University is the South Bay’s free Museum of art and history. The museum was founded adjacent to Mission Santa Clara de Asís on SCU's campus in 1955. It is currently one of three museums in the South Bay to hold accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums. Operated and supported by Santa Clara University, the de Saisset Museum also is privately funded and member-supported.

The de Saisset Museum collects, preserves, exhibits, and interprets objects of art and history for the educational and cultural enrichment of all people. The museum achieves its mission through an active program of exhibitions, collections, education programs, and publications. As an important resource for SCU, the de Saisset actively collaborates with the larger University community in order to foster the integration of diverse forms of learning.

The de Saisset presents 6 to 10 temporary exhibitions every year. Exhibitions highlight the diversity of our community, address issues of contemporary society, showcase the work of under-recognized or under-appreciated artists, and emphasize the strengths of the permanent collection. The museum also serves as the caretaker of the University's California History Collection, which is on permanent view.

Since its founding, the de Saisset's permanent collection has expanded to include more than 12,000 objects collected in six main areas: California history, Mission-era liturgical vestments, decorative arts, works on paper, painting & sculpture, and new media. The collection includes prints from the Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, 19th century, and Modernist periods. The museum has an extensive collection of contemporary works on paper, with a special emphasis on artists from the San Francisco Bay Area.

The de Saisset Museum offers a variety of educational programs including lectures, symposia, workshops, and family days. In addition, the de Saisset provides free docent tours of the California History Collection and Mission Santa Clara.


The de Saisset Museum supports Santa Clara University's goal of educating the whole person through a diverse and accessible range of exhibitions, collections, and educational programs that highlight the art and history of the San Francisco Bay Area and the local Santa Clara Valley. As a center of lifelong learning, the de Saisset Museum facilitates discovery, experience, and inspiration through engaging objects of art and history.

Core Values:

- The Museum will present exhibitions that highlight the diversity of our community (in age, gender, and ethnicity), feature a variety of media, offer a diverse representation of topics and viewpoints, showcase the work of recognized and under-recognized or under-appreciated artists, address issues of contemporary society, and highlight the strengths of our permanent collection.

- The Museum will continue the development, management, and preservation of the permanent collection, thereby creating an artistic and historic legacy for the community.

- The Museum will engage in University departmental collaborations, expanding the environment that fosters the integration of different forms of learning as well as the Jesuit ideals of reasoned and rigorous inquiry.

- The Museum will provide a welcoming and service-oriented atmosphere that encourages participation by diverse audiences.

- The Museum will nurture a sense of pride and ownership among its principals, including the University, advisory board, staff, members, donors, volunteers, and visitors.
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De Saisset Museum reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 3.5
16 reviews
  • A beautiful little building on an attractive campus with a nearby car park. Not a lot of art inside but one of the current exhibits (the InTouch Project) featured a vast collection of felt sculptures....  more »
  • Nice Ohlone history in the basement. A bit about the mission. Nothing outstanding. It appears students staff it.  more »
  • I came by twice to visit it, the sign said that they will reopen in September. However, I was able to go to the mission church and pray so it wasn't a wasted visit by any means  more »
  • Closed during the summer. When I called to ask when they reopen, I was told October!
  • Great historical museum, they're always mixing up exhibitions and shows with work from contemporary artists and classics, their permanent exhibit in the basement is fascinating.
  • Lovely art museum on the campus of Santa Clara University. Cool displays conveying history of the university and of the state. Don't miss the basement.
  • Intimate museum with current showings on first floor and very good local history exhibits below stairs.
  • Interesting displays and collections. Wonderful Ohlone and Santa Clara Mission artifacts. Nice walking through the SCU campus.

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