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
School Group Fees:
$7.50/student and $5/chaperone
School Groups with Hartford Zip Code:
$5/student and FREE for chaperones
Call (860) 838-4046 to book this program.
Theme: The Grand Tour
October 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30; November 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20
9:30 – 11 am
*Now offered in the Spring!*
March 11, 18, 30; April 1, 20, 27; May 18, 25; June 1, 3
9:30 – 11 am
Students travel back in time to the age of the Grand Tour, when studious observers of art and culture journeyed across Europe as an educational rite of passage. With a cicerone, or guide, groups will explore our newly reinstalled galleries of European art, visiting Britain, France, Italy, and Germany along the way. Back in the United States, students will act as curators as they create a gallery installation using miniature artworks inspired by their travels.
Art and Writing Initiative (Grades 3-5)
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)
This program cultivates students’ narrative, descriptive, and expository writing skills while promoting state and national curriculum standards in the language and visual arts. 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.
Partnership with Connecticut’s Old State House
Separated by just one city block, the Wadsworth Atheneum and Connecticut’s Old State House represent the vibrant civic, cultural, and artistic history of our community.
The Place Where You Live Multisite Visit (Grades 3-12)
Wednesday-Friday; 9:30 am-3:30 pm
Students embrace the messages found in objects and architecture illustrating local and state history as they discover their place within this cultural narrative. Visits include hour-long tours at both the Wadsworth Atheneum and the Old State House.
Wadsworth Atheneum: Connecticut People and Places, or American Art
Old State House: These Walls Do Talk: Art at the Old State House
School Group Fees:
$4/student or chaperone (Wadsworth Atheneum) plus $3/student (Old State House)
School Groups with Hartford Zip Code:
Hartford Schools may call to see if they qualify for free admission.
Call (860) 838-4046 to reserve your visit today. Teachers should plan for this program to last 2.5 hours.
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 2015-16 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 2016 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. 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.
43rd Hartford Youth Art Renaissance
April 30–May 29, 2016
Creativity takes center stage in this inspiring exhibition produced in partnership with Hartford Public Schools. Join us as we celebrate 43rd Hartford Youth Art Renaissance with a collection of over 100 exemplary artworks created by students in kindergarten through grade 12 on view at the museum and Hartford Public Library Downtown, located at 500 Main Street, Hartford. An audio guide of select students’ reflections on their masterpieces will accompany the installations. Come revel in the artistic excellence of Hartford youth and leave inspired!