Guest Guidelines

The MAH is committed to creating an environment that fosters inclusion and belonging and ensures the well-being of all our guests and employees.

A welcoming place for all.

We strive to make everyone who enters our space feel welcome, respected, comfortable, and safe. Any behaviors that interfere with these values will not be permitted in the museum, including but not limited to:

  • Behaviors that threaten, harass, abuse, or demean museum guests, volunteers, or staff members including discriminatory language or conduct
  • Behaviors that endanger the artwork, artifacts, collections, buildings, or grounds
  • Behaviors that impede the experience of others

In addition, the MAH has articulated a set of principles and values-based practices, also known as community agreements, that we ask all individuals to uphold when visiting the museum and other MAH spaces. These include:

  • Practicing respect
  • Keeping yourself and others accountable
  • Acknowledging and celebrating our differences
  • Holding space for reflection and active listening
  • Encouraging the sharing of ideas, questions, and experiences

Policies & FAQs

For the safety of our guests, staff, and community, the museum continues to encourage masking, social distancing when possible, hand hygiene, and other preventive measures. We will continue to monitor local, state, and CDC guidelines and update these health and safety measures as needed.

If you’re sick, please visit us another time.
For the safety of all guests and staff, anyone who is sick or has any sign of a respiratory illness should stay home. 

Please maintain a safe social distance.
Guests and staff are asked to practice social distancing whenever possible.

Please wash and sanitize your hands.
Hand sanitizing stations are located throughout the buildings, including at every entrance.

Please comply with staff requests.
We are monitoring capacity in the galleries to allow for appropriate social distancing. Guests are asked to comply with all MAH signage and personnel requests.

Find detailed information about our accessibility options here.

Service dogs and service dogs-in-training are welcome to visit. The dog must always be under physical or voice control of the handler and all other policies of the museum apply.

Animals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy and companionship are not considered service dogs and therefore are not allowed in the museum.

Pets are allowed outdoors in the Secret Garden and Abbott Square so long as they are always leashed and under the control of the handler. Please help keep our grounds clean by picking up after your pets.

For the safety of all guests and to protect our artworks, artifacts, and collections, all bags are subject to inspection at each entrance as well as anytime in the museum. We ask all guests to review the prohibited items list below before arriving to avoid delays.

A self-coat check area is available on the first floor near the museum’s entrance. Please note that items are left at the owner’s risk and the MAH is not liable for any belongings left behind.

The MAH welcomes families and patrons of all ages. To ensure the best experience for your family and other museum guests, we ask you to please adhere to the following:

  • Strollers are welcome in the museum and galleries. Some special exhibitions may restrict the use of strollers.
  • We welcome breastfeeding and bottle-feeding in all spaces. The museum does not provide any dedicated spaces for feeding.
  • Child carriers are allowed but the child must be positioned on the front. Children may not be carried on the back or shoulders.
  • All children under the age of 16 need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian over the age of 21.
  • Walk, do not run, while inside the museum. Running and the use of wheeled shoes is permitted on the outside grounds, but not inside the MAH.

Eating and drinking are not allowed in the galleries. Sealed food and drink containers are allowed if they are packed away inside a bag.

Did you forget something? Not to worry, we may have it in our lost and found. Please call (831) 429-1964 to see if we picked up your item. We hang on to most items for two months.

Media photography, press video, and documentary queries should be directed to

Please silence your mobile phone and limit conversation in the galleries. Free Wi-Fi is available for your convenience.

Handheld cameras, video cameras, and camera phones are welcome in all public spaces as well as in the galleries, subject to the following:

  • Photographs and videos are for personal use only and may not be sold.
  • Professional shoots, including wedding, engagement, and modeling, are not permitted, unless authorization is secured in advance by contacting
  • Natural light only; no flash or other supplemental light.
  • Selfie sticks are welcome in public outdoor spaces only. To protect the art and artifacts and for the safety and enjoyment of all guest, selfie sticks are not allowed inside.
  • Tripods, monopods, handheld microphones, and other external equipment are not permitted.
  • A safe distance of 24 inches must be maintained from all artwork, cases, platforms, and pedestals.

Some works of art in the galleries may be restricted; please pay attention to signage that prohibits photographs or video of individual works of art.

Photography and video of artworks on loan for changing exhibitions are sometimes prohibited by lenders. Please check at the entrances of changing exhibitions for any restrictions in those galleries. Where permitted, photography and video are subject to the same conditions described above. Outdoor sculptures and works of art displayed in the galleries may also be protected by copyright law.

Please note that guests to the MAH may be photographed, videotaped, or otherwise recorded. By attending, you grant the museum permission to use photographs and/or audiovisual recordings in which you appear for archival, documentary, publicity, advertising, or social media.

Images, audio, and video uploaded to social media are encouraged to be tagged with @santacruzmah.

The principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility apply to all aspects of the MAH’s operations. Verbally abusive, harassing, discriminatory, or threatening language, statements, or behavior toward MAH staff, volunteers, or other guests are prohibited.

Additionally, the following behavior is not permitted:

  • Do not touch art or historical objects or introduce any harmful foreign substance to the museum.
  • Do not enter any restricted areas, such as stepping beyond barriers or entering non-public spaces.
  • No smoking or vaping inside the museum. Smoking and vaping must be done outside and at least 20 feet from any door.
  • Do not consume chewing tobacco inside the museum.
  • Do not engage in any activity that disrupts the experience for other guests or the operation of the museum, including but not limited to:
    • Unauthorized performances or tours
    • Unauthorized solicitation or demonstration
    • Loud conversation, including in person or the use of speaker phone
  • Do not sit or stand on or lean over ledges or rails surrounding open-air balconies.
  • Please be mindful of others by always keeping doorways and hallways accessible.

We ask that the following items be left at home or in your vehicles:

  • Weapons, including guns and ammunition
  • Knives, box cutters, and scissors
  • Hazardous materials
  • Flowers, plants, feathers, and balloons
  • Flammable liquids
  • Permanent markers and spray paint
  • Bicycles and scooters (bikes can be secured at outside racks)
  • Oversized luggage
  • Electrically motorized boards known as ‘hoverboards’
  • External speakers or sound amplification devices
  • Anything designed for or capable of flight, such as drones
  • Photography equipment other than a handheld camera. This includes tripods, monopods, selfie sticks, lighting, or cabling
  • Art supplies other than graphite pencils and kneaded erasers

The MAH reserves the right to prohibit additional items with or without advance notice.

Multi-stall restrooms are located on each floor of the museum. All-gender restrooms are available on the second floor.

The MAH is committed to keeping you safe during your visit. If you need help, please locate the nearest employee. Anyone can report suspicious or hazardous situations to the MAH by calling (831) 429-1964 . Please do not call this number for information about an emergency.

While rare, there are circumstances under which the MAH may need to be evacuated. You may hear or see the fire alarm or any MAH staff. Please follow instructions and leave the building as quickly and safely as possible through marked exits.

The MAH may issue a lockdown or shelter-in-place order when a threat exists outside of the museum. When this occurs, staff will move guests away from exterior doors and windows. Please follow instructions from MAH staff or first responders.

Sketching in pencil, colored pencil, and charcoal pencil is encouraged. However, the use of ballpoint pens, crayons, pastel, charcoal, and wet media is not permitted. While sketching, please be mindful of other guests in the galleries.

If you are coming to sketch on your own, please bring a clipboard or lap board as floors, walls, or pedestals cannot be used for writing, sketching, or drawing.

Umbrellas may not be carried in the galleries. Please place them in your purse or bag, or leave at the self-coat coat upon entry.

Thank you in advance for your compliance and understanding as we continue to pursue the highest-quality guest experience. Please let us know if you have questions.

We also encourage you to engage with us about your MAH experience. Please share your feedback with any member of the Guest Services team or contact us at

Get Involved at the MAH

There are many ways to get involved with the MAH, from volunteering to donating to participating in events and more.