Gallery Exploration Topics

COVID-19 Update: Due to ongoing complications related to the COVID-19 pandemic, on-site guided school tours are unavailable at this time. We welcome yout to register for a virtual learning session instead. 

Please note that all school groups (including self-guided groups) must register using the online form.

Bring your students to the CMA for an hour-long experience that sparks curiosity, challenges your students to consider the possibilities of art, and builds social-emotional skills by connecting them with artworks and each other.

Before You Register:

  • Please allow two weeks’ notice when registering for a program. Four weeks’ notice is required for special-request topics.
  • Tours are scheduled from Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Gallery Explorations are free of charge. To help the museum support its education programs, schools will receive an invoice with a $5 per student suggested donation. Any donation you contribute helps to ensure equitable learning opportunities for all. Please note that special-request topics have a fee of $100 per 25 students.
  • An adult chaperone for every 10 students must accompany each group.
  • Please note that lunch spaces at the museum are currently unavailable.
  • To help prepare your students for their upcoming visit, please view A Visit to the Museum, a social story and guide.
  • For more information, please email SchoolPrograms [at] clevelandart.org.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Students, take charge of your destiny (and your learning) by working with a CMA educator to determine where the tour goes and how you engage with artworks you see. Wherever the path may lead, you’ll use visual literacy to “read” works of art.

In this experience, students may do the following:

  • Express ideas about personal interests for learning and make choices based on those interests
  • Analyze an artwork using visual literacy in order to make meaning from a work of art
  • Demonstrate the ability to balance own needs with the needs of others in order to compromise and learn together as a group

Creativity and Problem-Solving

Investigate ways that artists have experimented and solved problems throughout time. Through design- and play-based activities in the galleries, practice using creativity to solve problems of your own.

In this experience, students may do the following:

  • Make observations, develop ideas, and compare their findings to that of others in the group
  • Create a prototype, sketch, or plan to demonstrate an idea
  • Develop a comfort with ambiguity in order to understand that there may be multiple possibilities, solutions, and ideas related to a challenge

Expressing Ideas

Discover how artists communicate ideas through their art in order to consider ways to express your own ideas.

In this experience, students may do the following:

  • Compare and contrast the differences between words and images in order to consider the messages artists convey
  • Analyze how art may communicate messages on cultural values
  • Examine artworks as primary sources to consider what they reveal about the time period or culture in which they were made

Human Connections

How can art be used as a tool for empathy and human connections across time and place? Discover ways that you and your students can make connections with human issues and experiences, enhance a sense of self in one’s community, and make personal connections with artworks, objects, and their makers.

In this experience, students may do the following:

  • Evaluate multiple opinions and viewpoints about artworks and historical events in order to acknowledge that people have a variety of perspectives on the world
  • Make connections between works of art and their personal lives in order to consider their place in time
  • Develop connections between others in the group as they engage in discussions of personal connections and opinions

Look and Discover

Explore the museum’s galleries through this general introductory tour designed to examine artworks from many time periods and cultures.

In this experience, students may do the following:

  • Become familiar with the spaces and artworks at the CMA Make observations and develop their own interpretations of artworks
  • Compare and contrast artworks across many time periods, cultures, and media

Play and Experimentation

Enjoy intentional and purposeful play in the galleries in order to use your imagination, try out ideas, and make discoveries.

In this experience, students may do the following:

  • Create their own explanations or ideas related to a work of art
  • Generate a story, movement, drawing, or other representation of their ideas
  • Compare and contrast the creative work and ideas of others

Social-Emotional Learning through Art

Explore ways art can support students’ social-emotional learning. Educators can choose between three tracks. Sessions may be booked individually or as a series.

  • Self-Awareness: Identify emotions and consider how the outside world impacts emotions we feel.
  • Self-Management: Discover artful thinking strategies that help students process their emotions. Students practice slow looking and coping techniques while viewing works of art. 
  • Social Awareness: Investigate a variety of cultures and perspectives and consider what we can learn from others.

Historic Connections

Use artworks from many time periods and places as primary sources and relate discoveries to your own lives. 

In this experience students may do the following: 

  • Examine, interpret, and critique artworks as primary sources
  • Compare objects across geographic locations, cultures, and times


Special Exhibitions

Experience one of the museum’s special exhibitions through an interactive guided experience. Please note that some special exhibitions are not available for school and group tours.

Special Request

Do you have a classroom project or theme that you want to explore at the museum? Register for a guided special-request experience. Please provide a brief summary of your project when registering.