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

Volunteer as a Storyteller

Engage Children Through Stories and Art

What is carved on rocks will wear away in time;

What is told from mouth to mouth will live forever.

— Vietnamese saying



It is the storyteller’s ambition to ignite in each child a sense of awe and excitement. If the storyteller is truly successful, youngsters will bound out of the front door and down the steps, thinking the museum is a place like no other: a place of wonder and beauty, where they hope to return very soon (hopefully with parents in tow). Since 1994, this unique program has been vital to the Asian Art museum’s community outreach. We have served as many as 30,000+ young and adult visitors annually — free to the public!


The Art of Storytelling Across Asian Cultures

August 2024–July 2025


This class has been designed to teach storytelling skills and techniques to volunteers at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. The stories focus on folktales, legends, and myths from many countries across Asia. Using a child-sensitive approach, storytelling tours are offered for elementary school groups preschool groups, and families. The training will prepare volunteers to skillfully blend storytelling techniques with close-looking art strategies.



  • Training sessions will start on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2024 with graduation TBD in summer 2025
  • Training includes two sessions a month at the Asian Art Museum, on Thursdays 12:30 to 2:30 PM
  • On alternate weeks, trainees will individualize their study:
    • accompanying active Storytelling tours
    • practicing stories with Peer Coaches
    • participating in Storyteller events.
  • Training is led by a team of veteran Storytellers and the museum’s education staff



  • Come to an informational Open House:
    • Friday, May 17, 2024, 1 PM to 2:30 PM- on Zoom
    • Thursday, June 27, 2024, 1 PM to 2:30 PM- at the Museum
    • The June 27 Open House will include Storyteller-led mini-tour demos in the museum galleries
  • Watch our Storytellers animate the works of art in the museum’s collection with myths and folktales about gods, demons, tricksters, celebrations, and more. (See Storytelling examples on YouTube)



  • We seek a diverse range of people who enjoy being part of a team and seeing children’s faces light up when they are engaged
  • This opportunity may be perfect for you if you want to:
    • work with schoolchildren and families
    • learn how to tell engaging stories
    • celebrate and share Asian art and culture
    • ALL of the above!
  • No storytelling or art educator experience is needed! Come join our warm and inviting community of lifelong learners and friends.
  • Storytelling mostly happens at 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco CA 94102, sometimes online, and with occasional outreach at local schools and libraries.



  • Trainees must attend all onsite sessions and complete self-study assignments. Three absences from onsite sessions are permitted and missed sessions must be made up by arrangement.
  • Storytellers pay annual dues of $25. 
  • All Active Storytellers must also become members of the Asian Art Museum and renew annually (learn more about membership). Scholarships are available; no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
  • After graduation, Storytellers are expected to offer a two-year commitment to deliver 15 tours per year.
    • Tours are 60 to 75 minutes
    • Average two times a month during the school year
    • Tours take place on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, generally between the hours of 10 AM–2 PM
    • Graduates may also opt in for Public Storytelling tours on weeknights and weekends, usually on Thursday nights and the first Sunday of the month.



  • Please complete this Application for the Storytelling Training Program
  • Applications due by July 15, 2024
  • Group interviews at the museum will take place in July and August
  • This is the first training class for new Storytellers in five years, and space is limited. Act soon!

Please email [email protected] with any concerns or questions.

What are teachers saying?

“Where do you get such fantastic volunteers?”

“The tour was interactive and the students loved the stories and looking at the museum pieces that went with them.”

“Connecting with imagery and cultures that they know about was very supportive for my English language learners and special needs students, as well as being entertaining and fun for all students and parents as well.”

“This is my most favorite field trip every year – consistently top quality.”


What are our Storytellers saying?

“Sharing folktales in such a rich environment is a fun and rewarding experience. We get to bring the art alive through our stories. We’re always learning because every tour, whether it’s school groups, families, or adults is unique.”
— Linda Yemoto, Storyteller