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Breaking the Rules

Grades 9 through 12

The National Gallery of Art will offer a selection of in-person and virtual tours (using Zoom) for fall 2022.

Requests for all tours (October 3 – December 2) will be accepted from August 1 – November 4, 2022

What is modern about modern art? Students investigate the ways artists "break the rules" when they depart from realistic representation, use innovative techniques, and engage the viewer as a partner in the creation of meaning making.

Looking and Learning Skills

During four or five tour stops, students engage in activities—such as looking exercises, sketching, and small-group work—that foster conversations around works of art. The following skills are promoted:

• Making and articulating careful observations.
• Formulating questions that demonstrate curiosity and engagement.
• Exploring multiple viewpoints within the group.
• Comparing and connecting different works of art.
• Reasoning with evidence from the artworks themselves. 
• Developing new ideas about modern art.

Examples of Works Featured on Tour

In-Person Tour Information

Group size: Up to 60 students
Length: 75 minutes
Meeting Location: East Building Atrium

Additional Gallery Resources

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 an email confirmation in 10 business days.

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 is available to answer questions on Monday through Wednesday between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. (September through May). Please contact her at (202) 842-6249 [email protected].

Also see our Frequently Asked Questions about School Tours.

We greatly value your feedback about your school tour experience. Please submit this form to share your feedback.