School Tour Themes

WHAT IS AMERICA? | Grades 4–12, one-hour

American History/American Studies Approach (Grades 4–12)
Throughout time artists have contributed to a visual record of history, depicting people, places, events, and ideas from multiple points of view. Students will discuss how artists interpret history through symbols and imagery and think critically as they construct their own interpretations of the past. This tour provides students with a perspective on American history using the collection as a visual timeline of primary source documents.

Studio Activities: Narrative Collection Collage, Curator for a Day

Language Arts Approach (Grades 4–12)
On this tour, students will discover the imaginative ways that artists weave narratives into their work and offer insights into what is America? In “reading” realistic and abstract artworks as stories to be told, students will consider character, setting, and plot, while citing visual evidence for their conclusions using Visual Thinking Strategies and other methods of inquiry.

Studio Component: Narrative Collection Collage, Curator for a Day, Poetry Workshop

Support for ‘What is America?’ is provided by the Warner Foundation/Susan and Jack Warner


On this tour students will view landscapes, seascapes and cityscapes from the 19th century through the present to discover imaginative ways that artists have responded to their environment, often weaving illuminating narratives into their work. In “reading” landscape paintings, students will consider character, setting, plot, tone and point of view while citing visual evidence for their conclusions using Visual Thinking Strategies and other methods of inquiry.

Studio Activities: Landscape Postcards, Cityscape Collage, Poetry Workshop


Students will learn how to look at artworks by searching for the elements of art that artists use to capture the world around them, including shape, color, texture, line, form, value, and space. Images to be explored may include works of art from the Colonial Period, the Hudson River School, Impressionism, and 20th-century masterpieces.

Studio Activities: Exquisite Corpse, Benches

WHAT IS ART? | (Grades 6–12)

On this tour students will learn how to analyze works in depth, from initial observations, to interpretations, to final value judgments. They will listen to and learn from each other, expressing and evaluating ideas about provocative artworks from the past and present, with an emphasis on modern and contemporary art and ideas.

Studio Activities: Exquisite Corpse

MATH-TERPIECES | (Grades 3–12, one-hour)

On this tour, students will view a variety of artworks in the Museum’s collection, from site-specific contemporary sculpture to Hudson River School landscapes and Colonial portraiture, to consider how artists have used problem solving, reasoning, measurement, estimation, geometry, patterns, and other mathematical concepts to aid in the creation of their artwork.

Studio Activities: Benches

SEASONS | (Pre-K–1st Grade, 30-minute tour, 30-minute art activity)

How does weather affect our lives? Join Museum Educators at NBMAA to answer this question, using visual analysis to identify differences between the four seasons in a variety of artworks. Through group discussion, students will learn how to look for clues to back up their interpretations. After the interactive tour, the class will visit the art studio to talk about the importance of matching our clothing to the weather outside.

Studio Activity: Puppet Self Portraits

Connections and Learning Standards

School tours are thematic by nature; the Education Department is happy to assist you in selecting an appropriate theme for your class from the options listed above. Please note that while each of your students may not see the same works of art during a guided visit, they will engage in similar conversations in the galleries. All of our tours are designed to align with a range of state and national learning standards. For more detailed information about connections to standards, please contact Jasmine DeJackome at [email protected].