Tours

Docent Tours

If you are interested in a free public tour please call the museum to see if a Docent is available. We try and offer Docent-led tours most weekends from April through October between 11 AM – 3 PM and would be delighted to speak with you about the current exhibition and show you around. (Check the ‘Plan Your Visit‘ page for days we are closed.)

Virtual Museum Tours

Virtual, Docent-led group tours of our Museum are now available for groups of 10 or more

  • Virtual tours last approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour and are held via Zoom.
  • Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and share insights and impressions.
  • Tours are available for groups of five or more, Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 4pm.
  • Tours have a suggested donation of $12 per person.

Please note that tour requests should be made at least two weeks prior to desired tour date.

Virtual Tour: World War Bonsai: Remembrance & Resilience

Resilience is remarkable but not unusual in the natural world. Trees exhibit resilience all the time; even in harsh conditions, they grow, they heal, they persevere.

But inevitably, every tree gives way to natural cycles of death, decomposition, and renewal. The art of bonsai so celebrates these cycles that even dead bonsai are exhibited; so great is the reverence for the accumulation of daily care by each devoted artist whose lives intertwine with the trees.

Such devoted care requires patience and attention–a sense of mental peace brought to, or cultivated through, the practice–as well as time, space, and resources. In short, everything a bonsai artist needs becomes less predictable or impossible to procure in wartime. Yet, that bonsai has been practiced during wartime –sometimes even secretly –, speaks to the power of the art to ground and uplift.

Learning the biographical stories of bonsai artists working in the World War II era paired with those artists’ living legacies, we discover a powerful and inspiring untold history. We encounter bonsai as displays of patriotic loyalty and subversive acts of defiance. We find assertions of cultural identity and the sheltering comfort of community. We witness bonsai artists’ adaptability and resilience amid loss, grief, humiliation, and despair that allowed them to keep going and start over. We see the art of bonsai as a bridge to greater cultural appreciation and reconciliation that inspired generations of bonsai artists all over the world.

As you view this exhibition, consider: what might have happened to the art of bonsai if World War II had never occurred?

IN-PERSON GROUP TOURS

Groups of 5 people or more can request a tour guide in advance at the link below.

  • In-person guided tours are available Tuesday through Saturday at either 11am or 1pm.
  • There is a fee of $12 per person plus an additional $25 to book the tour.
  • These group tours are geared toward those 16 and older. If you are looking to book a tour for students or children younger than 16, please see our Field Trips page.

Please note that tour requests should be made at least two weeks prior to desired tour date.

AUDIO TOURS

Learn more about the art of bonsai, its origins, and stories about trees in our collection. Listen on your smartphone while you are visiting the Museum or from anywhere. Audio Tours are currently available in English and Chinese (Mandarin). Additional languages will be added soon.

If you are listening to the tour remotely, you can see images of the bonsai included in the tour by exploring our collection search page, here.

中文語音導覽。 您可以在手機上傾聽。以數字開頭的音軌是指我們的收藏編號,您可以在盆栽下方的標牌上找到。請在盆栽名牌處尋找  [icon](語音)標記。當您參觀藝術館的時候,您可以按任何順序傾聽沒有數字的音軌。如需幫助,請諮詢工作人員 。

開始享受您的旅程吧!