School Group Museum Tours and Art Lessons
Grounded in our collection of American art from the 18th century to the present, each Museum Tour is centered on developing visual thinking skills and using language to understand works of art in PAFA’s galleries. Each tour meets significant goals in the National Common Core curriculum standards.
Fill out the IN PERSON SCHOOL TOUR REQUEST FORM to reserve your spot!
Designed to complement and deepen the Museum Tours, Art Lessons offer hands-on experience with different artistic media and include instruction and materials. Aligned with National Visual Arts Standards they enhance art-making vocabulary and skills and engage students in creative self-expression.
Tours and lessons are about 75 minutes and must be scheduled in advance. Reservations are up to 80 students. For larger groups please inquire.
For more information or questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215 972-2054
Pre-K through 12th Grade School Group Rates
FREE admission for 1 chaperone for every 10 students. Additional chaperones pay student Museum admission rate
Bus Subsidies For Philadelphia School District
Free buses are available for Philadelphia public and charter schools, due to the generous contributions of donors. Funding is available on a first come first serve basis.
Inquire about the free bus when booking the tour. Please note that teachers are required to book their own bus using PAFA generated code authorized in your registration confirmation materials.
Available Museum Tours
Art, Science, and the Environment
Explore the American landscape through the eyes of artists and learn about seasons, nature, weather patterns, and how humans interact with the natural environment.
American History in Art
Build on student learning in Social Studies and United States’ history by discussing paintings of William Penn, George Washington, Charles Willson Peale and other early American icons.
How to Talk about Contemporary Art
Discover the ways artists use unique materials and techniques to translate important social and cultural issues into their art. Students will use visual and cognitive skills to develop their own arguments and interpretations.
An introductory tour to an art museum for early learners. Students will learn about museum manners, look at works of art, and discuss elements of color, line, and shape. Storytelling, interactive activities, and art-making give students a variety of tools to engage with PAFA's collection for the first time. (Recommended for Pre-K to 1st Grade, Special Needs & Autistic Support classes)
Masterpieces of the Museum
PAFA’s permanent collection tells the story of American Art through many objects in its 200-year history. This multidisciplinary tour offers an overview of different time periods and artistic mediums and discussions lean towards art movements, Philadelphia and American history, and artistic motivations.
Race, Gender, and Diversity in Art
Observe and discuss the diversity of American artists in PAFA’s collection. This tour addresses important themes such as American history, race, social justice, and gender, and how a museum challenges dominant narratives in our society.
Storytelling in Art
Through writing prompts and discussion questions, students will explore the concept of narrative in works of art. Students will learn about the artist as an “author” and the different points of view, characters, moods and settings in a story.
Women in Art
Examine the diverse body of work created by women artists from the 19th century to the present, including works from the Linda Lee Alter Collection. Students will have discussions about equality in the art world as well as the personal themes, motivations, and inspirations of each artist.
Available Art Lessons
Through experimentation and play, students work with two different mediums and uncover how they react with each other. Whether it’s waxed-based crayons with watercolor or painting over collaged materials, students will work in stages to produce a completed image.
Learn about the principles of composition and practice key drawing skills like shading, perspective, and value. Instructors may focus on still life objects, portraits, or human figures.
Experience the process of relief printing using a matrix, paper, ink, and brayer. Students design and print their own pieces to bring home.
Cast Hall Drawing (Grades 9-12 only, limited to 30 students)
Sketch from casts of famous sculptures from antiquity to the present in PAFA’s unique and prized Historic Cast Hall. Availability is limited.
To help students prepare for their museum trip, we suggest to introduce them to our interactive guide on museum etiquette.
Reservations up to 80 students. For larger groups, please inquire using the contact form below or emailing email@example.com.
Tours and Lessons generally last for 75 minutes, with additional time for arrival and orientation. Arriving 10 minutes prior to the start of your tour time guarantees the time for introductions, restrooms, and dividing groups.
The museum regrets that it has no formal space for school groups to eat lunch. In accommodating weather, Lenfest Plaza just outside, Love Park, and Dilworth Plaza offer good alternatives.
Subsidized transportation is available for Philadelphia School District and Charter Schools. Bus subsidy is requested at the time of the reservation,
School groups are required to bring 1 chaperone for every 10 students, however with recent changes to the Pennsylvania State requirements for all chaperones to have background checks and clearances, PAFA understands the financial burden this can have on Parents and Guardians. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire in regards to this policy should your school find it difficult to have this ratio. Chaperones are admitted free of charge. (Additional chaperones are welcome and will be charged student museum admission rate.)
High school groups are welcome to self-guide after making a reservation. Self-guiding students must be with a chaperone at all times.
School of Fine Arts Admissions Tours
High school groups are welcome to book an Admissions tour with the Academy of Fine Arts. Contact the Admissions Office to arrange.
PAFA offers programs for artists and art lovers of all ages and skill levels who want to learn about and make art.