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Every Picture Tells a Story

Grades 2 through 12

We will offer a selection of in-person and virtual field trips (using Zoom) for winter/spring 2024.

Requests for winter/spring field trips (January 8 – May 31, 2024) will be accepted from December 1, 2023 – April 5, 2024.

Uncover the many stories that works of art tell. During this field trip, students will learn to "read" works of art by considering multiple perspectives, characters, settings, and plots. They will engage in activities to imaginatively create narratives and dialogues inspired by the works of art.

George Catlin, Boy Chief - Ojibbeway, 18431843

George Catlin, Boy Chief - Ojibbeway, 1843, oil on canvas, Paul Mellon Collection, 1965.16.349

Looking and Learning Skills

During four or five field trip stops in the galleries, students engage in activities—such as looking exercises, small-group work, creative writing, and sketching—that foster conversations about works of art. On this field trip, students will practice the following skills:

  • Making and articulating careful observations.
  • Formulating questions that demonstrate curiosity and engagement.
  • Examining paintings from the perspectives of peers, the artists, and the people in the paintings.
  • Comparing and connecting different paintings.
  • Reasoning with evidence from the works of art themselves—developing narratives based on what is seen in the work of art.
  • Taking new ideas learned from the field trip and connecting them to prior knowledge and experience.

In-Person Field Trip Information

Group Size: Up to 90 students
Length: 60 minutes for grade 3; 75 minutes for grades 4 through 12
Meeting Location: West Building Rotunda

Virtual Field Trip Information

Length: 60 minutes

Important Scheduling Information

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

Once your field trip has been scheduled, you will receive an email confirmation within ten business days.

Title I Bus Stipends

Funding for the cost of bus transportation is available for Title I schools that participate in our docent-led school field trips. For more information, please get in touch with Deirdre Palmer at [email protected] or (202) 842-6880, or use the application form.

Examples of Works Featured on this Field Trip

Additional National Gallery Resources

Related Resources