de Saisset Museum

South Bay's free museum of art and history

California History Docent Tours

Tours begin promptly at 10 a.m. and last until roughly 11:30 a.m. Each tour commences with a brief PowerPoint overview of the history of Santa Clara Valley from the pre-contact era through present day. Our California History docents then guide small groups of 15 through the remainder of the tour, sharing their knowledge and expertise of Mission history. Half of the tour takes place in the de Saisset Museum's permanent California History exhibition and features historical artifacts from pre-contact through the Mission era. The other half of the tour includes the Santa Clara Mission, St. Francis Chapel, Mission Gardens, and the Adobe Wall. Based on the visiting group's area of interest, the docents will vary the emphasis of each tour, adapting and tailoring the experience to fit the group's needs.



  • Tour time: Tours are scheduled Tuesday - Friday at 10 a.m. during regularly scheduled exhibitions—advanced reservations are required. Please check our exhibitions schedule to determine when the Museum is scheduled to be open to the public. For those groups who cannot make the 10 a.m. tour time, exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis—please call the Museum at 408.554.4528 to inquire.
  • Group size: Tours are limited to groups greater than 10 and fewer than 60. Unfortunately, we cannot make exceptions and will be unable to accommodate groups larger than 60 due to the capacity restraints of the Museum facility. If your group exceeds the 60 person maximum, we suggest you divide your group and select several tour dates in order to include everyone in your party.
  • Tour requests: To request a tour, please contact the de Saisset Museum at or at 408.554.4528. Upon receipt of your tour request, the Museum will work with you to book a tour date. Tours cannot be fully confirmed until docents have an opportunity to sign up, which often does not occur until a month or two before the selected tour date. Once docents sign up, a confirmation letter will be sent to the tour group's primary contact (classroom teacher, group leader, etc.). The lead docent for the tour will contact this individual the week prior to the tour to determine what kind of emphasis your group would prefer for the tour.  If for some reason the Museum is unable to secure docents for your tour, your group will be contacted to select another tour date.


  • Coordinate chaperones: The de Saisset Museum requries one adult chaperone per 10 students. Chaperones must remain with the group during the entire tour and must be responsible for monitoring the group's behavior.
  • Prepare nametags: Please provide each student, chaperone, and teacher with a visible nametag to assist our docents with dialogue throughout the tour.
  • Organize groups: Please divide larger groups of tour participants into smaller groups of 15 or fewer. Each group will be assigned a docent upon arrival.


If possible, please leave all personal belongings on the bus or in private vehicles. The Museum has a small storage area available (your docent will identify it) where lunches can be kept during the tour.

On the tour:

  • All food, drink, and gum are prohibited while in the Museum and Mission Church.
  • Flash photography is prohibited in the Museum and Mission Church during the tour.
  • Please refrain from touching the artwork or artifacts in the Museum and Mission, unless otherwise instructed by the docent.
  • Please refrain from running or engaging in loud or boisterous activities while on the tour and within the Museum and Mission in general.
  • Please be mindful of the sacredness of the Mission Church as an active place of worship; there may be individuals in the Mission during your tour so please respect their quiet time of prayer or reflection.
  • Please encourage students to use restrooms before arriving for the tour as the Museum's restroom facilities are limited. Please chaperone students in the restroom should they travel in large groups.

After the tour:

  • There are limited picnic facilities available on campus. Docents can point out designated picnic areas. Please note that unfortunately there is no seating available—groups will need to sit on the ground.
  • All picnic areas are outdoors, however there is a covered area at the Adobe Wall available on rainy days.
  • Please remember that being on a university campus, classes are in session and are within earshot of these picnic areas. Kindly monitor your group's volume.
  • Please dispose of picnic trash responsibly.