Through inquiry-based discussion, docent-guided tours engage students in an active exchange of ideas about art, culture, and personal experiences. Students exercise observational, critical thinking, and visual literacy skills as they learn to look at and interpret works of art from our permanent collection and special exhibitions. Tours link the visual arts to various curricula, including language arts, history, science, social studies, and fine arts.
View the state and national curriculum standards addressed through our guided tour program.
To select a tour that aligns with your students’ interests, grade level, and curricular needs, browse our school tour themes then schedule your tour online! You may also call our Group Visit Associate at (860) 838-4046 to make a reservation.
Consider scheduling multiple visits, which offer an opportunity for students to build upon knowledge and skills established on previous tours. All teachers who book a tour will receive a complimentary Teacher Discovery Pass to explore the museum prior to their students’ visit to plan curricular connections to be made back in the classroom. Free Family Passes will also be distributed to all students who participate in a docent-guided tour to encourage a return visit with their families.
Hands On! (grades K–4)
Artistic themes, materials, and techniques stimulate imaginative thought and creative exploration in this program, which includes a 45-minute docent-guided tour and a related 45-minute studio art experience with our Resident Teaching Artist. All projects go home with students. Who says you can’t touch at an art museum?
Maximum capacity: 50 students/session
Fees: $5/student; FREE for students attending a school with a Hartford zip code
Call (860) 838-4046 to book this program.
The Great Shape Escape - SOLD OUT!
October 22, 24, 29, 31; November 6, 7, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 | 9:30 – 11am
Students act as detectives as they go in search of the museum’s missing shapes. Where have all our circles, squares, and triangles gone? Through careful investigation of art in the galleries, students will discover how artists arrange shapes and forms to construct meaning. They will explore this basic element of art as they create their own abstract sculptures in the art studio.
You’ve Reached Your Destination - SOLD OUT!
February 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26; March 5, 11, 18, 19 | 9:30 – 11am
March 4, 12, 25, 26 | 11am – 12:30pm
Students embark on a breathtaking road trip through our galleries as they learn how artists have depicted different locations near and far. Buckle your seat belts! All groups will make a pit stop at Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861–2008. In the art studio, students will put their creativity to the test as they build their own imaginary scenes.
Art and Writing Initiative: The 1,000 Words Experiment
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and judging by our dynamic collection, we believe it! Explore our Art and Writing Initiative, which provides educators with rich curriculum-based programming that develops a wide range of students’ literacy skills through carefully looking at and writing about art in our permanent collection.
Figuratively Speaking (grades 3-5)
Using the aesthetic and expressive qualities of figurative artworks, this program cultivates students’ narrative, descriptive, and expository writing skills while promoting state and national curriculum standards in the language and visual arts. Artworks viewed throughout the program serve as students’ texts to be closely observed, critically analyzed, and thoughtfully interpreted, and subsequently act as inspiration for their own compositions. Each grade-specific experience provides free pre and post museum visit lesson plans for both classroom and art room use and also includes a Figuratively Speaking Art and Writing tour. Learn more about our tour fees here.
Each instructional unit is designed for a specific grade level and focuses on one form of writing:
- Tell Me a Story (Narrative, Grade 3)
- Elaboration Nation (Descriptive, Grade 4)
- Similarities and Differences (Expository, Grade 5)
It is advised that teachers schedule their museum visit before administering the program’s lesson plans to students. Call our Group Visit Associate at (860) 838-4046 to reserve your tour. Mention that you are utilizing these curriculum materials when placing your call to receive a complimentary disc of images for classroom use.
Special Opportunities for Hartford Schools
Free Admission for Students
Students attending a school with a Hartford zip code enjoy free admission to the museum year-round.
Free Bus Program – Sold Out for 2014-15 School Year
Hartford teachers calling to reserve a docent-guided visit may request free busing to the museum. Call (860) 838-4046 to secure transportation. Buses are limited and are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Summer Scholarships for High School Students
We are pleased to partner with the Hartford Art School in providing scholarships for the 2015 Summer High School Visual Arts Portfolio Program on the campus of the University of Hartford. Scholarships are available to rising junior and senior student-artists enrolled at a Hartford high school who desire to enhance their artistic portfolios in preparation for college admissions. Scholarships cover tuition, art supplies, transportation, and a weekly stipend. For more information about the program and associated scholarships, and to receive application guidelines, call (860) 838-4170.
Museum on the Move: Art and Literacy Outreach Program (grade 4)
Developed collaboratively with Hartford Public Schools, this four-week outreach program explores landscapes from our permanent collection to improve students’ descriptive writing skills. Students learn to “read” and describe works of art through the use of art terminology in concert with their five senses and personal feelings. This program includes active group discussions and writing exercises in the classroom and art room, a docent-facilitated lesson at the school, a docent-guided visit at the museum, an art-making activity, and a built-in assessment tool. All lessons promote state and national curriculum standards in the language and visual arts. Busing and teacher curriculum materials are provided.
Eligible schools must be members of Hartford Performs, the arts education collaborative serving Hartford Public Schools. Please have your school voucher number available when making your reservation.
Download the Museum on the Move Student Workbook.
Hartford Youth Art Renaissance
April 25 – May 24, 2015
Creativity takes center stage in this inspiring exhibition produced in partnership with Hartford Public Schools. Join us as we celebrate the 42nd Hartford Youth Art Renaissance with a collection of artworks created by students in kindergarten through 12th grade on view at the museum and the Hartford Public Library downtown branch. An audio guide of students’ reflections on their masterpieces will accompany the installations. Come revel in the artistic excellence of Hartford youth and leave inspired!