Arts & Culture

First Timer's Guide to the Dallas Museum of Art

Everything you need to know before you go!

Dallas Museum of Art
Jennifer Simonson
Posted on Apr 13, 2022

Located in the heart of the Dallas Arts District, the Dallas Museum of Art is the crown jewel of the city's art scene. Dating back to 1903, the museum has grown from a small group of art aficionados at the Dallas Public Library into a 370,000-square-foot building that houses more than 25,000 pieces of art. The museum's vast collection represents a full range of world cultures spanning every time period from the third millennium BC to the present day. 

As one of the ten largest art museums in the country, your first time there can be a little intimidating. If you've never been to the Dallas Museum of Art, here are a few highlights you should know about before you go.



Every year the DMA hosts a wide array of traveling exhibitions so at any given time, there may be several special exhibitions on display. You can find what is currently at the museum by visiting the website. In addition to exhibitions, the museum boasts more than ten permanent collections that show off art from around the world. Here is a sampling of those collections.

The Keir Collection of Islamic Art Gallery: This private collection of Islamic art is currently on long-term loan to the Dallas Museum of Art. The exhibits selected works from the 18th and 19th centuries offer a view into artistic practices and production in Iran, India and the Ottoman Turkish lands during the beginning of the modern era.

Ancient and Native American Art: The works in this collection extend from northern Mexico through South America from 1500 BC until 1550 AD.

Art of the Americas: More than 4,000 pieces of art spanning 3,000 years represent the artists' achievements and cultural heritage of 16 counties in the Western Hemisphere.

Arts of Africa: Objects in the world-renowned African collection were chosen for both their visual appeal and cultural significance. In contrast to Western "art for art's sake," tradition-based African art served as an agent of religion, social stability or social control.

Asian Art: The museum's Asian art collection comprises a notable selection of Japanese and Chinese works along with Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian art. The works range from the first few centuries BC to modern day.

American and European Art: With a concentration of 18th and 19th-century works, DMA's collection of American and European art dances from paintings to sculptures to works on paper. Most notably the collections contain works by Vincent van Gogh, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Georgia O'Keeffe and Claude Monet.

Contemporary Art: The contemporary art collection is one of the museum's major holdings. It encompasses painting, sculpture, works off-paper, media-based works and installations.


Community Events:

The museum hosts an ever-changing slew of classes, workshops, films, lectures and concerts for kids, adults and families.

Arts and Letters Live: This literary and performing arts series is for all ages. The series combines literature with visual arts, music and film. The works are inspired by the museum's art collections and special exhibitions.

Talks and Tours: The array of talks and tours explores art from around the world with distinguished artists, scholars and artistic leaders.

Pop of Art: Each month the museum hosts an unexpected look at the museum's collection with a pop culture twist. 

Make and Take: A monthly causal arts-making series for adults that allows visitors to explore their creativity while highlighting a work of art in the museum's collection.




General admission to the museum is free, however, visitors are encouraged to reserve tickets online in advance. General admission tickets include the museum's collection galleries and most exhibits. Special exhibitions might require a paid ticket. The museum is closed on Mondays. It is open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily except for Fridays when it is opened until 9:00 p.m.



You can easily spend all day at the Dallas Museum of Art. If you do so, you will probably need a midday snack. The DMA Cafe offers farm-fresh selections made from locally grown produce. The menu includes light options such as a Quinoa Bowl and Southwest Caesar Salad as well as heartier options like the All-American Cheeseburger. The cafe also serves a selection of regional wines and beers. The DMA Cafe is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.