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

Registration for fall 2020 opens August 1, 2020.

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 value creativity, exploration, learning, and affirming and expanding who they can be. The program also explains how museums operate and what they have to offer. Museums come to life when people interact with art and with each other.

This multiple-visit program offers upper-level high school students tools for experiencing, understanding, and interpreting art. Participants will gain an insider’s view of how an art museum works. Sponsoring educators will have 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 choosing, 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 highlight 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 the students’ graphic design projects.

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

2020 Schedule

Available August 1, 2020

Thinking About Applying?

You don’t have to be the best artist at your school to excel in this program! An ideal candidate for Museum Makers is someone who identifies with one or more of the following:

  • 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; and/or
  • Enjoys creative expression and experimenting with art materials!

If you think you would be a good fit, talk to a teacher you know well about sponsoring you for the fall 2020 session.

Please review eligibility requirements, student responsibilities, and the sponsoring educator role before applying.

Eligibility Requirements

Museum Makers: Exploring Art and Museums is accessible, and everyone is encouraged to apply. Acceptance is based on a selective application process.

The program welcomes students from all schools in the Washington metropolitan area; only one student per school will be accepted. Students must be sponsored by an educator whose class or club they will be enrolled in during fall 2020. Qualified applicants will have taken one or more studio art or art history classes at the high school level.

Student Responsibilities

Secure nomination and sponsorship from a teacher whose class or club you will participate in during fall 2020.

Submit an application along with your sponsoring educator’s materials. Applications will be available August 1, 2020.

Attend the first session with your parent or guardian.

Plan ahead to ensure that you will be able to attend all seven sessions. Dates will be announced in August.

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

  • Essays are clearly written and reflect a high level of understanding and thoughtful consideration of the content.
  • The attendance policy is accepted: the student commits to attending all program dates. 
  • A complete application is submitted via email to [email protected]. Registration will open on August 1, 2020.  

Sponsoring Educator Roles

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.

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

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

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