Admission is always free Directions
Open today: 10:00 to 5:00

Museum Makers: Exploring Art and Museums (formerly High School Seminar)

image: Museum Makers: Exploring Art and Museums

Museum Makers: Exploring Art and Museums  (PDF 2.1MB)

Grades 11–12 or equivalent

The Museum Makers program brings together students with an affinity for art to make: friends, conversation, art, meaning, and a community. Museum makers are also the people whose job it is to operate the museum and share what it has to offer. Museum makers value creativity, exploring, learning, and affirming and expanding who they can be. Museums come to life when people interact with art and each other.

This multiple-visit program offers upper-level high school students tools for experiencing, understanding, and interpreting art. In the process, participants will gain an insider’s view of how an art museum works. Sponsoring educators gain an opportunity to mentor a student outside the classroom and connect with other art educators.

As part of a community of like-minded students, Museum Makers participants explore art through observation, sketching, in-gallery group discussions, independent research on a work of art of their choice, and visual journaling. Participants also learn about the intersection of art, graphic design, and visual communication and create a personal journal incorporating graphic design techniques. Behind-the-scenes visits with museum professionals introduce career possibilities, from curating and education to architecture and security. The program culminates with student-led public talks in the galleries and an exhibition of each student’s graphic design project.

Sessions meet for seven Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Completion of the program is dependent upon attendance at all seven sessions. Lunch will be provided.

2019 Schedule

October 12, 26
November 9, 16, 23
December 7, 14

Thinking About Applying?

An ideal candidate for Museum Makers is someone who identifies with one or more of the following qualities:

• Can’t get enough art classes
• Wonders how things are made
• Loves being in art museums
• Is fascinated by art and history
• Looks at art with an open mind
• Enjoys creative expression and experimenting with art materials

Keep in mind: You don’t have to be the best artist at your school to excel in this program! If you think you would be a good fit, talk to a teacher whom you know well about sponsoring you for the fall 2019 session of Museum Makers.

Please review eligibility requirements, Student Responsibilities, and Sponsoring Educator roles before applying.


Students must be sponsored by an educator whose class or club they will be enrolled in during fall 2019. Qualified applicants will have taken one or more studio art or art history classes at the high school level. Only one student per school will be accepted. Acceptance to the program is based on a selective application process. Museum Makers: Exploring Art and Museums welcomes students from all schools in the Washington metropolitan area.

Museum Makers: Exploring Art and Museums is accessible and everyone is encouraged to apply.

Student Responsibilities
Download Student Application (PDF 1MB)

  • Secure nomination and sponsorship from a teacher whose class or club you will participate in during fall 2019.
  • Submit an application along with your sponsoring educator’s materials by 5:00 p.m. on September 27, 2019.
  • Attend the first session with your parent or guardian.
  • Plan ahead to ensure that you will be able to attend all seven sessions:
    • October 12, 26
    • November 9, 16, 23
    • December 7, 14

Sponsoring Educator Roles
Download Educator Form (PDF 42KB)

  • Nominate a student who
    • is a highly motivated upper-level art or art history student;
    • has demonstrated a personal commitment to art and/or museums;
    • is able to meet the attendance requirements (see below); and
    • has parental support.
  • Discuss the components of the program with the student, including attendance, sketching, group discussion, graphic design, research, and presenting a public talk.
  • Coordinate submission of your student's application together with the Sponsoring Educator form by 5:00 p.m. on September 27, 2019.
  • Attend orientation at the National Gallery of Art on October 12, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30.
  • Meet regularly with your student once the program starts and assist the student with time management and individual assignment deadlines. 
  • Participate in an ongoing dialogue with program instructors via email.

The student application will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Essays are clearly written, reflecting thoughtful consideration of the content and a high level of understanding.
  • The attendance policy is accepted. 
  • The student is able to attend all program dates. 
  • A complete application is submitted via email to [email protected] by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 27, 2019.


High School Seminar Video (5:44)
Highlights from the 2014–2015 High School Seminar

25th Anniversary

On March 18, 2017, the High School Seminar program celebrated its 25th anniversary. View a slideshow of images from the event.

Contact Us

For more information, please call (202) 842-6683 or email museum educator Marjorie Johnson at [email protected].