Inside the Newly Transformed SFMOMA

Modern art fans rejoice! After three years of shutting its doors with a promise to return even bigger and better, the internationally recognized San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which serves as the epicenter of all things art, photography and film, will officially unveil its newly expanded collection and location on Saturday, May 14. 

The museum is offering free admission on opening day. The catch? All visitors must have a ticket via the museum’s online reservation system, which is currently sold out. But rest assured, even if you don’t have a ticket, you do still have the opportunity to join the ribbon-cutting festivities with city dignitaries at 8:30 a.m. that morning.

Whether you were lucky enough to score an online ticket for the grand opening celebration or you’re waiting a bit until the crowds die down, there’s a lot to look forward to. Here’s a look at some of the most anticipated museum highlights in store.

The New Building
According to insider’s, SFMOMA’s striking new home and its carefully laid out design might be just as wonderful as the art itself! The new building was designed by international firm Snohetta to specifically exhibit the museum’s expanded collection. Reaching 10 stories high, the new building rises above SoMa and takes the form of a futuristic building—thanks to its 800 unique panels that ripple and shift with the light and reflect all that the city has to offer. 

The Largest Living Wall
While San Francisco is known as the city that has it all, there’s no denying that urban living can still feel a little claustrophobic at times, especially in a city where concrete rules and luscious greenery is a hot commodity. That’s what makes the museum’s dramatic 150-foot living wall, which graces the third floor terrace all the more unique. As the largest wall of its kind and with stretches of green that resemble a mini Golden Gate Park, it's promised to be one of the most underrated museum highlights. 

New Artwork
Today, SFMOMA’s artwork collection has grown to 33,000, thanks to over 1,000 pieces made available from the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection — a remarkable assemblage of masterworks that began as decoration for bare Gap walls — in addition to the museum’s Campaign for Art, which committed 3,000 works from over 230 individuals associated with the museum.

Capturing Photography and Film
Those interested in photography can check out the third floor and visit the Pritzker Center for Photography, the largest gallery and research space devoted to photography among art museums in the nation. Also new to the museum is a film program titled Modern Cinema, which will be featured in the newly renovated Phyllis Wattis Theater. 

An Age of Technology
Aiming to embody a 21st century art museum, SFMOMA will also be premiering a new app that guides guests through galleries with commentary from a wide range of personalities including Martin Starr and Kumail Nanjiani of HBO’s Silicon Valley as well as players from the San Francisco Giants.

A Taste of Culinary Arts
Starting in June, the museum will team up with Corey Lee, chef-owner of the Michelin three-star restaurant Benu, and Monsieur Benjamin for the museum’s destination eatery. The restaurant will feature a rotating menu of dishes contributed by an all-star list of 80 international chefs including Rene Redzepi, David Chang, and Alice Waters. If you're looking for a quick bite to eat, you can head over to Cafe 5, which serves up a contemporary cafe menu adjacent to the sunny fifth floor sculpture garden or the museum's Sightglass outpost, a hip coffee bar located on the third floor.

SFMOMA will be open to the public seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Labor Day, with extended hours until 9 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission ticket prices are as follows: General admission $25, Seniors (65 & older) $22, Ages 19-24 $19, Ages 18 & Under Free. Membership starts at $100. For more information, visit

Mary Ann Montano