The San Antonio Museum of Art. Photo by Scott Ball.

While many San Antonians refer to the San Antonio Museum of Art as “SAMA,” the Museum staff is concerned that people outside of San Antonio, especially tourists, draw no connection between the acronym and the Museum.

That is why on Wednesday, the marketing staff at the Museum of Art issued a request to local media to stop using the acronym when referring to the museum in published articles.

Director of Marketing Cary Marriott said the request is not a branding change, but more of a clarification.

“In terms of seeing it in a newspaper headline, some people don’t know what ‘SAMA’ is,” Marriott said. “We want to identify ourself as a museum of art.”

The Museum hopes to avoid confusion, she said, since the San Antonio Manufacturing Association claimed the acronym more than 100 years ago.

The Museum requests that on first reference, media should use the full name: “San Antonio Museum of Art.” Any subsequent references should use either “Museum” or “Museum of Art.” It says that if an acronym is necessary, it should read “SA Museum of Art.”

Whether the request will catch on outside the media circle is unsure, but the Museum of Art staff believes it will help strengthen their brand locally and beyond.

For the average San Antonian, however, the “SA Museum of Art” will always be “SAMA.”

*Top image: The San Antonio Museum of Art. Photo by Scott Ball.

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Camille Garcia is a journalist born and raised in San Antonio. She formerly worked at the ISF FORUM as assistant editor and reporter. Her email is

3 replies on “Museum of Art Sheds ‘SAMA' Acronym”

  1. I think its a good idea. SAMA sounds so 1980s. If its worth talking about, you can use the extra letters. Its not like they're trying to save ad cost by letter rates for a home ad in the paper or MLS listing. People don't say let's meet at the WM or the Mac-MAM

  2. I've lived here long enough to guess that SAMA refers to the art museum when I see it, but earlier this year I saw SAMA used for another organization. I don't remember which. And out-of-town visitors are likely to think that SAMA refers to San Antonio Metropolitan Area since acronyms have been used for major metropolitan areas census information for decades now.

  3. I actually preferred SAMA and will still refer to it as SAMA.

    I think the real issue is that it just needs a different unique name like McNay or Witte Museum.

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