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School Programs

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School Programs


School Group reservations must be made at least three weeks in advance. Groups without a scheduled appointment may not be able to enter the museum.

Scheduling your visit is easy!

  1.  Pick your school program: the museum offers school tours, studio programs, multi-site visits, and art and literacy programs.
  2.  Have your information ready, including the title of the program you would like to book, number of students and chaperones, any learning objectives you might have, and three possible visit dates.
  3.  Make your reservation online using our School and Youth Group Reservation form or call our Group Visit Supervisor (860) 838-4046.
  4.  Once your visit has been scheduled, you will receive a confirmation email with your visit details.
  5.  Prepare for your visit by using your Teacher Discovery Pass to explore the museum’s collections and make curricular connections before your class visit.

Hours & Fees

School Tours Hours & Fees:
Wednesday through Friday
Docent-guided: 9:30 am to 3:30 pm
Galleries open for self-guided touring beginning at noon

School Groups: $5/student or chaperone
FREE for Hartford and CREC School Groups
FREE for East Hartford and Manchester Public School Groups

Studio Programs Hours & Fees
September-June, Wednesday-Friday
School Hours: 9:30-11am or 10-11:30am
After School Hours: 4:30-6pm

School Group Fees: $7.50/student and $5/chaperone
FREE for Hartford School and Youth Groups
FREE for East Hartford and Manchester Public School Groups

A $3 surcharge is added to all admission prices during our two annual fundraisers, Fine Art & Flowers and Festival of Trees & Traditions. Guided tours for groups are not available during these events.

Chaperones

At least 1 teacher or chaperone is required per 15 students. For self-guided groups, at least 1 teacher or chaperone per 10 students. For PreK and summer visits, at least 1 teacher or chaperone (age 18 or older) per 7 students. Groups arriving without the designated number of chaperones will not be admitted.

Lunch Facilities

The museum does not currently have lunch facilities for brown-bag lunches. Weather permitting, we suggest Burr Mall, immediately adjacent to the museum. In inclement weather, the State House Square Food Court can also accommodate large groups. Depending on availability and group size, the Untitled Café may be able to accommodate reservations to purchase lunch. If you are interested in making a lunch reservation at the café, call our Group Visit Supervisor at (860) 838-4046. Remember, groups are welcome to leave the museum for lunch and return to explore the galleries for free on the same day!

Free Passes

All teachers who book a tour will receive a complimentary Teacher Discovery Pass to explore the museum prior to their students’ visit. 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.

Tips & Visit Guidelines

  • No backpacks or bags larger and 14″ x 18″ are allowed in the galleries. If possible, we suggest students leave backpacks and large bags behind. A limited number of free lockers are available for storing backpacks, available first-come, first-served.
  • Only pencils are allowed in the galleries.
  • Artwork in the permanent collection galleries may be photographed during your visit for personal, non-commercial use only. Flash, tripods, and video are not permitted. Photography and video in special exhibitions are not permitted.
  • If, on the day of your tour, you need to cancel or are running late, please call the Visitor Services Manager at (860)838-4076. Groups arriving more than 15 minutes late are not guaranteed their scheduled tour.

School Tours

School tours introduce students to the museum through inquiry-based discussions with a trained museum docent. 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 connect the visual arts to various subject areas, including language arts, history, science, and social studies, and can be customized to fit your curricular needs! Make your reservation online using our School and Youth Group Reservation form.

School Tours Hours & Fees
Wednesday through Friday
Docent-guided: 9:30 am to 3:30 pm
Galleries open for self-guided touring beginning at noon

School Groups: $5/student or chaperone
FREE for Hartford and CREC School Groups
FREE for East Hartford and Manchester Public School Groups
A $3 surcharge is added to all admission prices during our two annual fundraisers, Fine Art & Flowers and Festival of Trees & Traditions. Guided tours for groups are not available during these events.

Tour themes are available for PreK–12 school groups. All tours are one hour unless otherwise noted. View the state and national curriculum standards addressed through our school tour program.

Story Time | Grades PreK & K
Connect reading and art through this tour designed for our youngest student visitors.
Tours for PreK and Kindergarten groups are 45 minutes.

Learning to Look | Grades K–8
This tour introduces students to the museum experience as they explore the elements of art through close looking and discussion.
Tours for Kindergarten groups are 45 minutes.

Step into the Story | Grades K–12
Students learn to “read” and interpret works of art through character, setting, and plot.
Tours for Kindergarten groups are 45 minutes.

Connecticut People & Places | Grades 3–8
Examining works of art as historical evidence, students learn about Connecticut’s rich history and culture.

American Art | Grades 3–12
Students use critical thinking skills to interpret American paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts from the Colonial period through today. Curricular connections include the American Revolution and Colonial America.

European Art | Grades 3–12
Students use critical thinking skills to interpret European paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts from the Medieval era through the early 20th century.

Myths, Stories, and Legends | Grades 3–12
Students explore myths and legends from Greece, Rome, Egypt, Asia, and America in both ancient and modern artworks.

Looking to Write | Grades 3–12
Strengthen student writing with this tour that pairs close looking and discussion with a brief writing activity.
Looking to Write tours are 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Artwise | Grades 9–12
Students decode visual imagery, explore innovations in art, discuss the context of artworks, and experience the museum in this “Learning to Look” tour for high school students.

Self-Guided Visits | Grades PreK–12
Teachers may lead their groups in the galleries, but docent-guided tours have priority. Teachers are requested to identify the galleries where they will tour and divide students into groups with one teacher or chaperone per 10 students. For more information call (860) 838-4046.

Studio Programs

Want a hands-on museum experience? Our Studio Programs combine a 45 minute docent-guided tour with a related 45 minute art-making activity with our Resident Teaching Artist. Choose from the themes below! Make your reservation online using our School and Youth Group Reservation form.

Capacity (unless otherwise noted)
50 students per session during school hours
25 students per session during after-school hours

Studio Programs Hours & Fees
October–June, Wednesday–Friday
School Hours: 9:30–11 am or 10–11:30 am
After School Hours: 4:30–6 pm

School Group Fees: $7.50/student and $5/chaperone
FREE for Hartford School and After-School Youth Groups
FREE for East Hartford and Manchester Public School Groups

Animals in Art | Grades PreK-2
Students discover animal imagery in works of art from around the world and create their own animal art using modeling clay.

Color My World | Grades PreK-2
Students explore the elements of art in the galleries; the exploration continues in our studio where students create their own garden collage using a variety of colors, shapes, and textures.

Be the Curator | Grades 3–5
Students explore landscapes, portraits, and still life paintings in the galleries and try their hand at curating their own museum “wall.”

Making Myths | Grades 3–5
Students view works depicting myths from ancient Greece, Rome, and Asia and illustrate their own myth on a two-dimensional vase.

Art and Poetry | Grades 6–12
Students compose color poems inspired by a work of art. Using watercolors, students create abstract paintings that use color to evoke a mood.

Studio Photography | Grades 6–12
Students learn how artists use light and composition to create powerful works of art. In the studio, students apply these tools and collaborate to produce their own photographs. Capacity: 30 students during school hours; 15 during after-school hours.

STEAM: Sketch Like a Scientist! | Grades 6–12
Students will explore the intersection of science and art in still life paintings. The studio portion will take place in the museum’s Cabinet of Art and Curiosity, where students will sketch from insect and sea life specimens. Capacity: 30 students during school hours; 15 during after-school hours.

Art and Writing Program (Grades 3–5)

The Art and Writing Program is FREE for all participants.
FREE busing is available for Hartford schools on a first-come, first-served basis.

Strengthen student literacy skills through art! The Art and Writing Program is a four-part art and literacy curriculum that connects the visual and language arts. Download the Teacher Curriculum Resource for this program here.

Each grade unit focuses on one form of writing and combines art and classroom instruction with an Art and Writing: Classroom Extension Tour at the museum for a deeper learning experience:

  • Tell Me a Story: Grade 3 (Narrative)
  • Detail Detectives: Grade 4 (Descriptive)
  • Compare and Contrast: Grade 5 (Expository)

To participate in the Art and Writing Program, make a reservation using our School and Youth Group Reservation form to reserve your Art and Writing: Classroom Extension Tour. We suggest booking your tour before implementing the first lesson. Teachers who register for the program will receive a hard-copy of the Teacher Curriculum Resource, a disc of program images, and full-color posters of the artworks utilized in the program.

Call (860) 838-4170 to find out more about this program.
Call (860) 838-4046 to inquire about free buses.

Museum on the Move: Art and Literacy Outreach Program (Grade 4)

Museum on the Move is FREE for all participating Hartford Public Schools.
Busing and program materials will be provided.

Museum on the Move is a six-part outreach program available exclusively to Hartford Public Schools. This program includes active group discussions and writing exercises in the classroom and art room, a docent-facilitated lesson at your school, a docent-guided visit at the museum, an art-making activity, and a built-in assessment tool. Teachers must register for Museum on the Move through the Hartford Performs Program Database. Please have your school voucher number ready when making your reservation. Click here to download the Museum on the Move student workbook.

Partnership with the Connecticut Science Center

Explore the connections between art and science in this double feature field trip! Tour the Connecticut Science Center and the Wadsworth Atheneum on the same day for one low price. Select from two tour options to best fit our curriculum and student needs:

Learning to Look/Artwise (Grades K-12):
This tour introduces students to the museum experience as they explore the elements of art through close looking and discussion.

Looking Like a Scientist (Grades 6-12):
What do the visual arts and sciences have in common? Both require close observation and brave innovation! Students explore the connections between art and science in this tour designed for secondary students.

Partnership with Connecticut’s Old State House

The Place Where You Live Multisite Visit (grades 3–12)
Students explore Connecticut’s material history through the objects and architecture at Connecticut’s Old State House and the Wadsworth Atheneum. Each tour is one hour long.

Connecticut’s Old State House
These Walls Do Talk: Art at the Old State House
Students use visual clues to understand the role history played in the art and architecture of the Old State House, the site’s significance as the birthplace of democracy, and its connection to ancient Greece and Rome.

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Select from the following tour themes:

Connecticut People and Places
Students experience Connecticut’s rich history and culture through the events, people, places, and ideas depicted and interpreted in works of art in the museum’s collection, many of which were made by Connecticut artists.

American Art
Students learn to look at visual imagery through an exploration of American paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts representing the colonial period, the Revolutionary and the Civil Wars, westward expansion, the early twentieth century, and the contemporary moment.

New! Partnership with Hartford Stage

Act out Art! (Grades 6-12)
Bring the visual arts to life with this multi-site program that combines a theater workshop with a tour of the museum’s special exhibition Gorey’s Worlds. During the theater workshop, a Hartford Stage teaching artist will lead students through an on-your-feet exploration of the themes of Gorey’s art. This program will only be offered in spring 2018; capacity is limited.

Hartford Free Bus Program—SOLD OUT for the 2017-18 School Year
Hartford schools booking a docent-guided tour or studio program 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.

Art and Writing Free Bus Program
Hartford schools participating in the Art and Writing Program 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.

East Hartford and Manchester Free Bus and Admission Program
East Hartford and Manchester Public Schools booking a docent-guided tour or studio program may request free busing AND free admission to the museum. Call (860) 838-4046 to secure transportation. Buses are limited and are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.