Discover Amazing Art: Your Guide to the Palm Springs Art Museum

Palm Springs, California has great weather and beautiful pools. But if you’re looking for something else to do besides swim, check out the Palm Springs Art Museum. It’s a giant treasure box that’s filled with paintings, sculptures, photos, and other cool creations!

The Palm Springs Art Museum focuses on:

  • California Art: Think of warm hues, desert landscapes, and unique ideas made by artists living in California.
  • Modern/Contemporary Art: This refers to recent art or pieces that have a very different or sometimes strange style. Some things will make you say “Whoa!”
  • Architecture & Design: Palm Springs is known for its mid-century designs. The museum digs deep into how things are designed — even everyday objects!
  • Glass Art: Beautiful glass sculptures that look like they could break if you touch them too hard… These masterpieces were created by skillful glassblowers.

A Journey Through Time: The Story of the Palm Springs Art Museum

In 1938, imagine a small desert town (Palm Springs was still being built!), but it had passion. A group of locals wanted a place to share their love for the desert. So they opened the Palm Springs Desert Museum! It had plants from the desert, artifacts from native tribes like Cahuilla, and led hiking adventures!

As Palm Springs grew so did this little museum — literally! They moved around downtown several times until finally staying in one spot in 1952 called the Town Hall Building. But then people started donating amazing landscape paintings and sculptures… It soon became crowded.

Then E. Stewart Williams came into play! He was a revolutionary architect who changed the way people saw buildings with his modern styles in his projects like the Frank Sinatra House. In the 60s, he designed a new building for the museum that people still admire today. And with its completion, there was finally room to add more modern art, sculptures, and works from California’s most creative people.

And it never stopped! In the 2000s, they changed their name to Palm Springs Art Museum to emphasize their focus on art. Then they opened the Architecture and Design Center in 2014 to show off what makes Palm Springs so stylish.

Three Unique Spots

The museum is divided into three places around Palm Springs:

  1. Main Museum: This is where you’ll find all of the main stuff! Walk through all of the galleries, catch a show at Annenberg Theater, or shop in their store for some cool art-themed goodies.
  2. Architecture and Design Center: Like figuring out how things work? Or love making your own creations? This spot combines both worlds as it tells Palm Springs’ architectural story and features exhibits along your tour.
  3. Sculpture Garden: If you need some fresh air after spending hours inside staring at paintings, walk around this desert garden filled with sculptures bigger than humans!

How to Get The Most Out of Your Trip

  • Scope the site out: Be sure to have a look at the website before you go ( You might see something that really catches your eye!
  • Thursday special: Get in for free by stopping by on a Thursday between 5 and 7 pm.
  • Ask about it: The people who work at the museum are passionate about art. Don’t hesitate to ask them anything if you’re curious!
  • Get hands on: If you time your visit right, there may be workshops where you can create your own art!


  • When is Palm Springs Art Museum free? Every Thursday, from 5-7 pm. Admission is also free for children under 18, active-duty military personnel and their families.
  • How long does it take to go through Palm Springs Art Museum? That depends entirely on how quickly (or slowly) you like to move. For someone detail oriented, expect 2-3 hours. Though, a quick scouter might be able to see the best bits in just one hour.
  • What’s the cost of Palm Springs Art Museum? Prices fluctuate so it’s always best to check online –
  • Whose house is behind Palm Springs Art Museum? Behind the main building is a historic place called McCallum Adobe. It’s got an interesting story of its own!

If you’re visiting Palm Springs, California for the first time then the art museum NEEDS to be on your list of places to visit. We recommend the next place you visit is the Palm Springs Air Museum.

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