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American Art
Grades 4 through 12

Requests for winter/spring tours (January 7 – June 7, 2019) will be accepted from December 3, 2018 – May 3, 2019.

How does art send messages about a nation and its identity? During this tour, students explore the historical and cultural connections among selected works of American art.

Looking and Learning Skills

During four or five tour stops in the galleries, students engage in activities—such as looking exercises, and working in small groups—that foster conversations about works of art. On this tour, students will practice the following skills:
• Using works of art as primary sources on American art and society.
• Making and articulating careful observations.
• Formulating questions that demonstrate curiosity and engagement.
• Comparing and connecting different works of art.
• Connecting new ideas learned from the tour to prior knowledge and experience.

Examples of Works Featured on Tour

Logistical Information

Group Size: Offered at 12:30 p.m. for up to 90 students; up to 60 students for 2:15 p.m. tours
Length: 75 minutes for grades 4 through 12
Meeting Location: West Building Rotunda

Additional Gallery Resources

Art in the Classroom Poster
Shaw Memorial by Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Download poster (PDF 685kb)

The poster offers information and activities to encourage students to consider the perspectives of a famous regiment of African American Civil War soldiers through careful looking at art images and use of creative-writing prompts. It explores the artistic challenges of creating a meaningful memorial and tasks students with conceptualizing their own memorials.

Learn more about how the poster links to Common Core State Standards (PDF 71KB).

Tour Request Form

Important Information

Tours must be scheduled at least four weeks in advance. Groups must contain at least 15 students.

Once your tour has been scheduled, you will receive a confirmation letter via e-mail in 10 business days (14 days for Spanish-language tours).

Pre-Visit Information

Watch a video (grades 1-4) or download a presentation (grades 4-12) (PPT, 4MB) to show your students what to expect on their tour. Please review museum policies, location, parking, accessibility, security, lunch options, and other important visitor information.


Our tour scheduler, Jennifer Cross, is available to answer questions Monday through Wednesday (September through May). Please contact her at (202) 842-6249 or [email protected].

Also see our Frequently Asked Questions about School Tours.


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