School Group Museum Lessons

Interactive, skill-based exploration of the Museum galleries led by trained art educators

School Group Tours

Grounded in our collection of American art from the 18th century to the present, each Museum Lesson is centered on developing visual thinking skills and using language to understand works of art in PAFA’s galleries. Lessons are about 60 minutes long and meet significant goals in National Common Core curriculum standards.

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Pre-K through 12th Grade School Group Rates

General Admission $6.00 per student
Philadelphia School District and Charter Schools

$3.00 per student

Bus subsidies are available for Philadelphia School District schools on a first come first serve basis.

Available Museum Lessons

Special Exhibition: From the Schuylkill to the Hudson

June 28, 2019 - December 29, 2019

An overview of the PAFA’s expansive exhibition that investigates the underexplored traditions of landscape representation in Philadelphia from the Early American Republic to the Centennial Exhibition (1876) and how that corpus shaped the better-known Hudson River School. From the Schuylkill to the Hudson places special emphasis on representations of local waterways in order to showcase the manner in which these Philadelphia water views—whether of the Schuylkill, Wissahickon, or Delaware rivers—constituted some of the earliest and most influential sites within American visual culture.

Let's Look

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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Common Questions

Museum Etiquette

To help students prepare for their museum trip, we suggest to introduce them to our interactive guide on museum etiquette.

Launch the Interactive Guide

Group Size

Reservations up to 80 students. For larger groups, please inquire using the contact form below.


Lessons generally last for 60 minutes, with additional time for orientation. Art-making lessons generally last an additional 60 minutes. 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.


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 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.

Contact Us

PAFA offers programs for artists and art lovers of all ages and skill levels who want to learn about and make art.