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Thu: 1 PM–8 PM
Fri–Mon: 10 AM–5 PM
Tue–Wed: Closed
200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Swing by the Asian Art Museum to Celebrate the Year of the Monkey

Asian Art Museum welcomes the Lunar New Year with lion dance, musical performances and art activities

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Asian Art Museum Lunar New Year 2016

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 20, 2016—Visitors of all ages are invited to welcome the Year of the Monkey with a colorful program of music, dance, storytelling, art activities and more at the Asian Art Museum on Sunday, Jan. 31.

This popular annual celebration will include traditional and modern music performances, as well as dances presented by students from the Chinese American International School and the China Dance School and Theatre. The students will share a playful, self-arranged version of the lion dance, which is believed to scare away evil spirits and ensure a bright beginning to the year. Children’s book author Oliver Chin will read stories about Chinese zodiac animals and their characteristics, inviting audiences to reflect on their own personalities. To round out the day’s activities, visitors can have their names written in Chinese calligraphy and make a Lunar New Year-inspired art project developed and led by the museum’s Art Speak teen interns.

In addition, visitors born in the Year of the Monkey can receive a pair of VIP passes to the museum’s spring shows (until passes run out; limited quantity). Participants can also enter a special raffle drawing to win a museum membership. Monkeys must prove their birth year with a proper ID in order to be eligible for these perks.

Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, is the most celebrated holiday of the year in many parts of Asia. The exact date of Lunar New Year is calculated according to the lunar calendar, which is synchronized to lunar cycles. Each Lunar New Year corresponds to an animal in a cycle of twelve. In 2016, the Year of the Monkey starts on Monday, Feb. 8.

A complete schedule of activities is listed below. Programs are subject to change. For updates, please visit or call 415.581.3500. More information about Lunar New Year traditions is available on the museum’s website.


Sunday, Jan. 31 10:30 AM–4 PM
Free with museum admission

stART Tour
10:30–11 AM
Meet at the information desk
Promoting visual and verbal literacy for families with kids ages 3–6, the stART tour uses stories infused with playful actions to access the museum collection and introduce Lunar New Year and Asian cultures to early learners.

Hands-on Activities
11 AM–3 PM
North Court Through hands-on activities and interpretive materials, learn about Lunar New Year and art in the museum’s collection.

China Dance School Performance
12–12:45 PM
Samsung Hall
Students from San Francisco’s China Dance School and Theatre perform traditional and contemporary dances, including the Mongolian chopsticks dance, Han umbrella dance and traditional Tajik dance.

Chinese American International School Performance
1–1:45 PM
Samsung Hall
Enjoy traditional Chinese music while joining a playful student-arranged version of the lion dance, which is believed to scare away evil spirits and ensure a bright beginning to the year.

Lunar New Year Stories
1–1:45 PM
Meet at the information desk
Hear storytellers share tales about Lunar New Year.

Chinese Calligraphy
2–4 PM North
Court Have your name written in Chinese calligraphy.

Animals of Chinese Zodiac with Oliver Chin
3–3:45 PM
Resource Center Enjoy a charming story about the animals of the Chinese zodiac. The story, read by author Oliver Chin, highlights the symbolic spirit of the monkey and introduces characteristics of all twelve zodiac animals.

Lunar New Year Animal Hunt Gallery Guide
10–5 PM
Pick one up at the information desk
Learn about Lunar New Year and search the museum for zodiac animals. Pick up the gallery guide in South Court and begin the adventure on the third floor. Designed for kids ages 6 and older.

Explorer Packs
10 AM–5 PM
Pick one up at the information desk
Learn more about the elements of art by touring the museum’s collection with an Elements of Art Explorer Pack. Designed for kids age 5 and older, these nifty packs use props and playthings to introduce line, shape, color and texture to young visitors.

Art Cards
10 AM–5 PM
Pick one up at the information desk
Discover artworks and animals in the museum’s collection with Art Cards, designed for kids age 7 and older. Art Cards help families and kids engage with art by encouraging closer observation in a fun and playful way.


Family Fun Day at the Asian Art Museum
First and third Sundays, Feb. 7 and 21 10:30 AM–2:30 PM (10:30–11 AM stART Tour for kids ages 3–6; 11 AM–2:30 PM art making and self-guided activities) North Court, free with museum admission Explore art and ideas through immersive storytelling, fun gallery activities, creative art making and more during the museum’s Family Fun Day. Discover and play as a family! Themes and projects change regularly. In February, learn about Lunar New Year symbols for longevity, fortune and happiness with art projects inspired by the museum collection.


Take home a memory of the Lunar New Year celebration. The museum store will feature Lunar New Year–themed merchandise, including red envelopes, books about the Chinese zodiac for kids, and gift items from China.


Support for the Asian Art Museum’s Public Programs is provided by The Charles D. and Frances K. Field Fund, William Randolph Hearst Foundation, The Sato Foundation, The Joseph & Mercedes McMicking Foundation, Robert & Toni Bader Charitable Foundation, Dodge & Cox, and The Morrison & Foerster Foundation.


The Asian Art Museum–Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture is one of San Francisco’s premier arts institutions and home to a world-renowned collection of more than 18,000 Asian art treasures spanning 6,000 years of history. Through rich art experiences, centered on historic and contemporary artworks, the Asian Art Museum unlocks the past for visitors, bringing it to life while serving as a catalyst for new art, new creativity and new thinking.

Information: 415.581.3500 or

Location: 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Hours: The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 AM to 5 PM, with extended spring and summer evening hours on Thursdays until 9 PM. Closed Mondays, as well as New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

General Admission: FREE for museum members, $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (65+), college students with ID, and youths (13–17). FREE for children under 12 and SFUSD students with ID. General admission on Thursdays after 5 PM is $5 for all visitors (except those under 12, SFUSD students, and museum members, who are always admitted FREE). General admission is FREE to all on Target First Free Sundays (the first Sunday of every month). A surcharge may apply for admission to special exhibitions.

Access: The Asian Art Museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information regarding access: 415.581.3598; TDD: 415.861.2035.


Press Release Types: Programs & Events