FAQ - SAM - Seattle Art Museum
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​​Frequently Asked Questions

We’re here to help. Click through the sections below for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about SAM. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, contact our customer service center.

Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Collection


Should I order my tickets in advance?
We recommend you reserve your tickets in advance in order to guarantee entry.

Is my ticket valid all day? Am I able to leave and return?
At Seattle Art Museum, your ticket allows you all-day access to the SAM Collections and Installations. Access to Seeing Nature is limited to one entry per ticket.

Are there any discounts for admission?

  • SAM members always enjoy free admission to all galleries, including special exhibitions. Not a member? Join today!

  • Coupons are not accepted for Seeing Nature, including Entertainment Book or Chinook Book.

  • FLASH Card or Gold Card holders are eligible for a reduced price admission ticket of $5.

  • Seattle Public Library has a limited number of free passes to SAM that can be redeemed for all-access tickets at SAM.

  • SAM offers a limited number of free and discounted tickets to underserved communities.

  • Enjoy half-off tickets on the first Thursday of each month.

I’m a SAM member. How do I get my free tickets?

  • Reserve online in advance: To ensure your preferred day and time for visiting, we encourage you to order your complimentary tickets online in advance of your visit. Print your tickets at home or show your phone to bypass the Ticketing Desk and head straight into the galleries. Activate your online membership account using your membership ID number (found on your card) and your zip code. If you need assistance, contact membership@seattleartmuseum.org or 206.654.3210.

  • Purchase in person: Present your active membership card and photo ID at the member tickets/services counter. You may also purchase tickets for your guests at this time. SAM has a limited number of tickets available onsite every day. Because we love our members, you receive priority entry through the Member Services Ticket counter.

Are there special viewing opportunities for Members?
Yes! SAM Members are invited to preview Seeing Nature before it opens to the public during our Member Preview and Happy Hour on February 15, from 12-8 pm.

Can I use my member guest passes for Seeing Nature?
Individual/Dual/Family level members may use their onetime-use guest passes for $5 off tickets to Seeing Nature. Premier level or higher members may use their Premier or Contributors Circles guest passes for free admission. All guest passes must be filled out and redeemed onsite.


Will there be tours of Seeing Nature?
Yes. Public docent-led tours of Seeing Nature take place daily at 1:15 and 2:15 pm. Tours start at the entrance of the exhibition.

Gallery Policies for Seeing Nature

Can I take photos?
Non-flash photography is allowed inside the exhibition. Please share your photos with #SeeingNature. Video recording and tripods/selfie sticks are prohibited.

Can I use my cell phone?

  • Yes. Download the Layar smartphone app to access an augmented reality experience designed for Seeing Nature.

  • Call 206.332.8666 for low/no vision object descriptions of a select number of artworks in the SAM Collection and Seeing Nature.

Can I bring a stroller or wheelchair into the exhibition?
Wheelchairs and strollers are allowed and available at coat check to loan in exchange for you ID. Sorry, no reservations are accepted for these items.


How do I log in to my account? If you have ever purchased or reserved tickets on SAM’s website, you have an account in our system with assigned login information. Log in or recover your password. If you have never used the site to purchase or reserve tickets, even if you are a member, you will need to set up your account with your Member ID number. Set up your account.

Please note there can be only one user ID and password per membership (e.g. A family of four with a Family membership has only one user ID and password for their account). If another person under your membership has set-up an account, you will need their login information to access the site under your membership.

What if I’ve lost my membership card or it hasn’t arrived yet?
You can visit the museum anytime by showing your photo ID at the Ticketing Desk to verify your membership status. If you need a replacement card, please contact the SAM Customer Service Center using the online form.

  • New members: Your permanent membership card will arrive in 10–15 business days.

  • Renewing members: Please continue to use your existing membership card. Your card will be electronically updated within 24 hours of your online renewal. You will receive new expiration date stickers, to be used on your existing cards, in 10–15 business days.

Can someone else use my membership card?
Membership benefits are nontransferable. Whether ordering your tickets online or picking them up at the desk, you will be asked to present your active SAM membership card and photo ID.

I’m a reciprocal museum member. Do I get free admission?
The Seattle Art Museum participates in two reciprocity programs. Tickets for reciprocal members are only available onsite. View the complete list of reciprocal membership participants. Here's what you can expect when visiting the Seattle Art Museum

  • Free admission for cardholders and up to two guests

  • Free admission to special exhibitions

  • 10% discount at SAM Shop and TASTE Café

  • Discounts on films, concerts, and lecture tickets (Discounts for additional events will be given at the museum's discretion and may not apply to all SAM events)

Please present your active membership card with the appropriate reciprocal stickers to SAM’s Ticketing Desk to secure your ticket. Since you are a member of a different museum, we do not have access to your membership account and are unable to verify your membership status. We will be unable to provide you with reciprocal benefits, including free admission, if you do not have this information at time of purchase.

What if I’m an employee of a SAM corporate member?
Employees of SAM corporate members are eligible for member tickets to exhibitions and events. Visit the Ticketing Desk with one of your company’s membership cards and your company badge or reserve in advance via the corporate pass request. Clients, friends, and family are asked to pay standard admission prices.


What does "suggested admission" mean?
Admission to the SAM Collections and Installations is available by donation. Pricing is fixed for tickets that include the special exhibition.

Are there any discounts for admission?
SAM offers suggested donation pricing for visiting the SAM Collections & Installations (special exhibitions excluded).
We also provide discounted rates for students, seniors, and military with ID. SAM members and children (12 & under) are free. Admission the Olympic Sculpture Park is always free!
​Groups with 10 or more people receive a discounted rate if reserved in advance—please call 206.654.3112 or email us.
Free and discounted passes may be available for community organizations or colleges and universities.
SAM also participates in the City of Seattle’s Gold and FLASH card program, TeenTix, Bank of America’s Museums on Us (special exhibition surcharge may apply), and Blue Star Museums.

What is First Thursday?
On the First Thursday of each month, as part of Art Walk, SAM offers half-price admission to the special exhibition and free admission to the SAM Collections and Installations.

How do I access my account?
If you have ever purchased or reserved tickets on SAM’s website or been a SAM member, you have an account in our system with assigned login information. Recover your password.
If you have never used the site to purchase or reserve tickets, please set up your account.

What do I do if I lost my print-at-home tickets?
If you have lost your print-at-home tickets, you can reprint your tickets by logging-in to your online account and clicking “Purchase History” in “My Account Info” You can also visit the Admissions Desk at the museum and have your tickets reprinted by an Admission Representative.

What do I do if I didn’t receive a confirmation email?
Please start by checking your email account’s Junk Mail folder. Be sure to have your SAM account set-up to receive emails sent from boxoffice@seattleartmuseum.org before you purchase additional tickets.


Tour times and topics vary throughout the year. Tours are free with museum admission

Art Beyond Sight
Monthly tours of the museum’s collection to visitors with low or no visitors are available. Visit our Accessibility page for more details and tour dates.

People and Places at SAM: Exploring SAM’s Galleries
View creatively installed galleries and discuss outstanding artwork from SAM’s collections.

My Favorite Things
Seattle’s highly opinionated visual artists, dancers, curators, critics, and more are invited to select their favorite works of art in SAM’s galleries to discuss during these 30-minute tours.

Where can I find information on school tours?
Visit our Schools and Educator page for everything you need to know about K–12 school tours.

Do you offer private tours?
Yes! Our experienced guides can customize your experience of the museum. Groups pay a flat-rate fee in addition to discounted admission. Find out more.

Gallery Policies

Can I take photos?
Non-flash photography is permitted in most areas of the museum for personal, noncommercial use, with the following restrictions

  • No tripods or selfie sticks

  • No flash photography

  • No movie or video cameras or recordings

For press and other special photography, including filming and video projects, please contact SAM Public Relations. For images of artworks owned by SAM, please see Image Rights.

SAM reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to withhold or withdraw permission to photograph on its premises or to reproduce images of objects in its collection.

Photography is prohibited of artwork with this symbol:

no photography image

Does SAM have a coat check?
Seattle Art Museum and Asian Art Museum both provide complimentary coat check services. Please be prepared to check the following items prior to entering the museum galleries

  • Bags or other items larger than 11 x 15 in size

  • Backpacks or other items worn on the back of any size

  • Shopping bags

  • Umbrellas

  • Food and drink of any kind (including water and baby bottles)

  • Briefcases

  • Umbrellas of any size

  • Wet items including wet coats

The Seattle Art Museum also has items available for loan from Coat Check. Visitors are welcome to borrow a wheelchair, stroller, baby front-carrier, and seeing aids from Coat Check when they provide a picture ID. All items borrowed from Coat Check are available on a first-come-first-served basis and Coat Check does not accept reservations. SAM also provides plastic bags for your valuables upon request.

Please note: In the unlikely event your items are lost, damaged, misplaced, or stolen, the Seattle Art Museum cannot be held responsible.

Are strollers permitted in the galleries?
Yes. Single occupant strollers are permitted in the galleries. Multiple occupant strollers may be checked in Coat Check before accessing the galleries. The Seattle Art Museum provides a limited number of single occupant strollers and baby front-carriers available for loan on a first-come-first-served basis when visitors provide a picture ID.

Visit our Families page for more information about our kid-friendly spaces and family programs.

The Seattle Art Museum reserves the right to prohibit strollers in the galleries on high-volume days when galleries approach or reach capacity.

Can I sketch in the galleries?
Sketching with pencil, pastel, and charcoal is permitted in all galleries of the museum devoted to SAM’s collection. The use of ink, fountain pens, or watercolors is prohibited.

Is there seating in the galleries?
Benches and other seating are provided on each floor of the museum for your comfort.

What accommodations does SAM offer to make the museum accessible to all?
SAM strives to be accessible for all visitors and provides a variety of support services to assist with your visit. More information can be found on our Accessibility page.
Service animals are the only animals welcome in the museum.

Do you accommodate other languages on your tours?
American Sign Language is available for all public tours upon request with four weeks notice. Please email us, call 206.654.3137 (TTY), or 206.654.3123 (voice) for more information. Printed copies of the current audio tour may be available at the Ticketing Desk.
All printed materials are only available in English at this time.

What do I do if I lost something at the museum?
Report your lost article and we will let you know if it turns up.


​How do I check for availability or reserve an event space?
Contact the Facilities Marketing Manager by email or by phone at 206.654.3140. Space is available to reserve on a first-come, first-served basis up to 12 months in advance.

Can I stop by to view SAM spaces, and do I need to be escorted?
You are welcome to view the museum and PACCAR Pavilion public spaces any time during public hours. You do not need an escort and you’re not required to pay admission to preview the location for a future event. It’s a good idea to contact the Facilities Marketing Manager to double-check that the spaces you would like to view are not booked for an event during the time you want to visit.

Can I bring in an outside caterer for my event?
We partner with TASTE Events to provide exclusive catering at all SAM locations. All food and beverage arrangements must be made directly with TASTE Events.

What types of events are not allowed at SAM?
College dance events, auctions, and political events are not permitted at SAM. High school reunions and proms, however, are permitted.

If your question is not listed above, please email us at facilities@seattleartmuseum.org.​


How can I find out if a specific object or type of object is in the SAM collection?
Please take advantage of eMuseum, SAM's online collection system. It provides access to the nearly 25,000 objects in our holdings. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please email us at collection@seattleartmuseum.org.

Where can I find information about recent acquisitions?
See recent acquisitions​ or email ​us at collection@seattleartmuseum.org.

How can I get a copy of a label I saw in the galleries?
Please contact libraries@seattleartmuseum.org. If you need label text for an object not on view or you can’t find what you need with the libraries, please contact collection@seattleartmuseum.org.

How can I get an image of something I saw on view at SAM?
For scholarly papers and other publications, the Image Rights Department can license images of artworks and historic images of exhibitions and events.

How can I learn more about an artwork in my own collection?
SAM curatorial staff cannot offer such services. Electronic re​sources​ for appraisal, authentication, identification, and research have been identified by the library staff for public use.

How can artists get their work exhibited at one of SAM's locations?
The Seattle Art Museum does not accept unsolicited submissions of art except through the annual Betty Bowen Award.

How can I donate, sell, or lend artwork to the museum?
Please see the Art Submission Guidelines for complete details.​​​​​​​​​


Where can I find more information about the libraries at SAM?
The Seattle Art Museum has three libraries. Two research libraries: the Dorothy Stimson Bullitt Library (SAM downtown) and the McCaw Foundation Library (Asian Art Museum), and a lending library for educators: the Ann P. Wyckoff Teacher Resource Center (Asian Art Museum). The research libraries’ combined collection is over 45,000 volumes. The Ann P. Wyckoff Teacher Resource Center has over 4,000 resources.

Are the SAM Libraries open to the public?
SAM’s libraries are available for research by appointment only. Materials must be used in the library reading rooms. The McCaw Library will be closed during the Asian Art Museum renovation and the Ann P. Wyckoff Teacher Resource Center (TRC) will be closed beginning March 2, 2017.

Do library services carry a fee?
Most of the services we provide are free. Occasionally, there are very minimal charges. Patrons are assessed a fee of $0.10 per page for photocopies after the first 10 pages. Additionally, patrons must pay fees for postage (if applicable) and any other charges incurred by library staff on behalf of the patron. The majority of research requests cost less than $5.

Can the library authenticate or identify an object for me? If not, where should I go?
When possible, library staff can help you find helpful information about an object. We can also provide contact information for appraisal organizations that can appraise, authenticate, or positively identify art.

If your question is not listed above, please email us at libraries@seattleartmuseum.org.​​​​​​​