School Tours


The Basics


What Happens in the Galleries?

In general, school tours are facilitated using three approaches to ensure that a variety of learning styles are met.  Docents, which are volunteer tour guides, are specially trained to facilitate an interactive experience for students.  Typically, we have one docent for every ten students.  

Students will visit three galleries for twenty-minutes each during their one-hour tour.  Each stop will highlight a different approach.  An approach is simply a way to interact with the art. 


Three Approaches:

My student’s #1 complaint is that they couldn’t stay longer and keep sketching in the galleries.
— Abbey Potter, teacher, Chatfield Art Club

1. Longer Look

Group conversation for 20 minutes at one artwork. Students will be seated and encouraged to look, listen to others and contribute to the conversation.

Outcomes of the Dialogical Approach include:

  • Dialogue can intensify our affection for an artwork

  • Bridging Skills: brings students together across differences; celebrates diversity and encourages unexpected connections

  • Learn to recognize the value of their peers’ contributions

  • Learn what matters to others

  • A shared vocabulary develops among the group

  • Dialogue expands everyone’s experience of the object

2. Alone Time

Just like it sounds, students will be given 20 minutes to allow time and space to reflect on and absorb the artworks at their own pace.  Many times, we will ask students to select and artwork of their choosing and sketch, write, or just enjoy!

Outcomes of the Alone Time Approach:

  • Can improve psychological well being.

  • Allows students to connect with an artwork personally.

  • Alone time can play a restorative role by creating a sense of peace of calm.

  • Alone time can maximize perceptual and cognitive organization.

3. Docent’s Choice

Because the MMAM exhibits up to 10 temporary exhibitions per year, there are many opportunities to connect to curriculum in different ways.  Depending on the exhibition and students’ ages, docents select an activity or approach that they think will best suit the needs of their group.

Examples of some “Docent Choice Activities” might include

  • Individual Gallery Activities

  • Small Group/Pair Approaches

  • Storytelling

  • Docent facilitated discussion