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4–12 Collection Tours

Museum tours are designed as interactive lessons that encourage students to examine objects and ideas through a variety of activities including discussions, worksheets, and small-group work. Observation, critical thinking, problem solving, and literacy skills are incorporated in all lessons. These programs take place in the Museum’s permanent galleries. Lessons are 1 1/2 hours long except where noted. Expect to visit approximately four to six galleries during your tour.

All tours are appropriate for grades 4–12 (except where noted).

Correlations between Museum lessons and Academic Standards:
Pennsylvania State Standards | NJ State Standards | Common Core State Standards


Introductory Lessons

These lessons are ideal for a first visit or for a general introduction to broad aspects of the collection.

  • Learning to Look

    How can we learn to see more when we look at art? Students explore the Museum’s collection through activities and discussions focused on looking at, thinking about, and responding to works of art.
  • Around the World (grades 4–6)

    What can art tell us about different times and cultures? Students compare works of art and architecture to discover the common threads and unique qualities of a variety of cultures. Grades 4–6 will complete their own around-the-world travelogue.
  • Treasures of the Museum

    The Museum is filled with world-renowned works of art, from ancient Chinese tomb figures to knights in armor to worksby modern masters. This lesson invites students to explore a selection of masterpieces in the collection and introduces ways of examining and interpreting works of art from many times and places.
  • Critical Thinking through Art

    Exploring works of art naturally engages critical-thinking skills. In this lesson, students practice a variety of these skills, while they look at, think about, and discuss works of art.
  • Painters and Paintings

    Why do painters make the choices they do? How do they create their illusions or abstractions? This lesson explores changing styles in painting and our reactions to them. If you are studying specific artists, please let us know and we will try to include them.
  • The Artist and Society (grades 9–12)

    What does art reflect about the time in which it was created? Students examine how artists have chronicled, commented upon, and critiqued their societies.


Subject-Area Lessons

These lessons are designed to relate to classroom studies. If you do not see a lesson that connects with your studies, we can work with you to design a lesson that supports your curriculum.

  • American Art: From Colony to Nation

    What was art like in George Washington’s day? Students examine furniture and paintings, discuss styles and techniques, and explore what art can tell us about life in the colonial and federal periods.
  • Survey of American Art

    What are the important themes in American art? How are changes in American society reflected in its art? This lesson surveys the art in the American collections from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries.
  • African American Art

    What can works of art tell us about African American culture and history? During this tour, students explore a broad range of works by and about African Americans from the nineteenth century to the present.
  • Greek and Roman Mythology in Art

    Beginning with the Museum building, students explore how artists have interpreted the ideas and mythology of the classical world.
  • Medieval Art

    What can the architecture, sculpture, textiles, and armor of medieval Europe tell us about life in the Middle Ages? This lesson explores stylistic changes in medieval art and how they reveal an evolving society.
  • Arms and Armor

    Who used arms and armor? How were they made? This exploration of Renaissance armor includes the handling of some pieces.
  • Art of the Renaissance

    How did art of the Renaissance reflect ideas of that time? Students examine art from Italy and northern Europe to learn more about the art and beliefs of the day.
  • Medieval and Renaissance Art

    A combination of two lessons, Medieval Art and Art of the Renaissance, this offering is designed for classes studying both periods of European history.
  • Renaissance to Modern

    This lesson provides a chronological look at European artistic styles from the Renaissance to today. Students consider the strengths and challenges of each period, and evaluate their reactions to each style.
  • The Impressionist Era

    What made the art of the Impressionists so different? This lesson introduces students to work by notable nineteenth-century artists and may include Monet, Degas, Cassatt, Renoir, Cézanne, van Gogh, or others,and places them within the context of their time.
  • Modern and Contemporary Art

    What is modern art and what makes it look the way it does? This lesson explores changing styles and ideas in European and American art from Impressionism to Cubism to the art of today.
  • Islamic Art (1 hour)

    How does Islamic art reflect the ideas of Islamic culture? Examine rugs, tiles, architecture, and other objects from the Middle East, Europe, and Asia to learn about Islamic art, beliefs, and cross-cultural influences.
  • Art of Asia

    Students examine and compare the art of several Asian countries including China, Korea, and Japan, among others. Classes can take a general tour of Asian art or focus on a specific country.
  • Treasures of French, German, or Spanish Art (grades 9–12) (1 hour)

    Students studying French, German, or Spanish learn about that culture’s art. Tours range from medieval religious objects to contemporary paintings and sculptures.
  • Art and Math

    Students explore how artists from different eras and cultures used math concepts. The content is adjusted to fit the grade level of each class. Possible topics include pattern, symmetry, one-point perspective, and number series.
  • Discovering Science in Art

    Students explore some of the many connections between art and science. Content is adjusted to fit the grade level of each class. Possible topics include the five senses, nature, color theory, light, materials, and the influence of technological advancements on the history of art.
  • Art and Language Arts

    During this lesson, students uncover the “stories” told by works of art as they experiment with the different tools that writers and artists use to make an engaging work. Activities encourage careful observation, analysis, and discussion, and include creative, persuasive, and descriptive writing and poetry. This lesson can be adapted for English-language learners.
  • Art Speaks, a Target® Field Trip (Philadelphia public school grade 4 only)

    Philadelphia art museums developed this program to help fourth-grade students practice literacy skills while exploring works of art. Each class is sent a teacher’s notebook that includes an orientation DVD, teaching posters (one from each museum), and pre- and post-visit activities. During the museum lesson, students use a journal to record their responses to several works of art. Thanks to generous funding, Art Speaks museum admission and busing are free this school year.

    Supported by
    Additional support is provided by The Dow Chemical Company, TD Bank through the TD Charitable Foundation, the Hamilton Family Foundation, the Anne M. and Philip H. Glatfelter, III Family Foundation, and generous individual contributors
  • HERstory

    This lesson will explore women as artists and women as subjects. By analyzing works of art, students will learn about the changing roles and perspectives of women in society.
  • Clothing, Costume, and Culture

    Costumes, uniforms, waistcoats, gowns . . . clothing reflects the tastes, status, occupations, roles in a story, and time period of the person wearing them. Students will explore clothing and costume in historical and cultural contexts, and see how they influence the interpretation of a work of art.
  • Multiple-Visit Programs (grades K–12)

    The more you visit, the more you learn! These lessons offer an opportunity to explore classroom curriculum and the Museum’s collection in greater depth. You and a Museum teacher work together to create a two-, three-, or four-visit program that connects to your curriculum. Your class works with the same Museum teacher each visit. Students pay regular school admission fees for each visit.

Increase the impact of your Museum trip by having a pre- or post-visit distance learning lesson! Distance-learning lesson booked in conjunction with a field trip to the Museum are half price ($50). For details and lesson topics, please visit Distance Learning.


 

For more information, please contact The Division of Education by phone at 215-684-7580, by fax at 215-236-4063, or by e-mail at .

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