Higher Education Offerings at the Collections Center

Higher education visits are currently paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see our Visitor Guidelines for information about visiting the museum.

The Collections Center, SFMOMA’s collections research center in South San Francisco, is home to the museum’s archives and houses much of the museum’s collection when not on public view. The Collections Center features a full-scale mock-up gallery, a conservation studio, a photo studio, and a flexible white box space for lectures, performances, and receptions. Higher education offerings at the Collections Center include tours as well as object study sessions taught by SFMOMA staff in collaboration with professors, offering students a deeper engagement with the museum’s collections. Access to the artworks and archives at the Collections Center is available to individual researchers and to college-level student groups by appointment.

Location: Collections Center, South San Francisco

Who You Can Meet

During Collections Center Tours groups can meet with staff from up to four of the five following areas.


SFMOMA’s Archives house the museum’s institutional records that date back to 1935. This includes documentation of exhibitions and educational activities and consists of paper-based documents, photographs, and audiovisual materials. The archivist will describe how they support the museum’s activities and mission through the maintenance and preservation of museum records.

Artwork Storage and Housing

Collections Center Preparators are responsible for storing thousands of objects of all unique sizes and needs. This not only includes finding or creating the perfect space for an object in storage but can also involve building a new crate, travel frame, or other housing. Preparators will share stories about recent storage and build projects. They will also explain SFMOMA’s approach to storage and how we find an object once it is stored.

Collection Information and Access

The Collections Information and Access department (better known as CIA) works interdepartmentally to develop the museum’s art documentation, maximizing access for staff and public benefit. CIA staff will highlight how the department photographs artworks and manages rights around using photographs in the museum’s programming.


The Conservation Studio provides space for staff to analyze and treat objects stored at the Collections Center. The space is ideal for large works and long term projects. Conservation staff will share stories about working collaboratively with artists and colleagues to treat works made with a variety of challenging materials.


Registration is responsible for the overall care of the collection through the implementation of policies and procedures that safeguard the art. Registration staff will discuss SFMOMA’s Loans Out program, explaining how they work closely with curatorial and conservation staff to vet loan requests and make decisions regarding art travel including crating, shipping, and courier arrangements.