Guided visits are conversation-driven learning experiences facilitated by SCMA's Student Museum Educators. These “SMEs” lead preK-12 students in guided conversations about works of art, encouraging them to look closely, share connections, and offer differing perspectives. These museum educators engage students through multiple learning modalities, and visits often include observational drawing, gallery games, movement, and written text in addition to dynamic questioning strategies. Our Smith College educators-in-training gain important teaching practice by leading learners in making meaningful connections to works of art. As ambassadors of the museum and college, they in turn serve as enthusiastic and passionate mentors and models for school-age children.
Each SCMA visit is customized to meet the needs of each group and aligned to Massachusetts state content standards and curriculum frameworks, especially in English Language Arts and History-Social Science. SCMA is a space where students are the agents of meaning making, gathering evidence from the works of art (visual texts) to support their interpretation. PreK-12 teachers are asked to share their learning objectives and potential curriculum connections when planning a school visit to assist museum educators in best meeting their needs.
One hour guided visits may be scheduled Tuesday–Friday 10:30AM & 11:30AM. Additional time slots may be available upon request pending educator availability. A 10:1 ratio of children to adult chaperones is required.
Self-guided visits may be scheduled for any time when the Museum is open to the public. Teachers are welcome to lead their own tours through the Museum or develop materials for students to use in the galleries. Gallery stools, clipboards and pencils are available to self-guided groups upon request.
Group Visit Guidelines
Please review the Museum Guidelines with your group prior to your visit. Chaperone Guidelines may be printed and distributed to the adults assisting with your field trip in advance or picked up at the front desk.
When making a reservation, preK-12 school groups can request a bus subsidy of up to $200 to defray transportation costs to the Museum. Each school can request the bus subsidy up to four times per school year. The subsidy is a reimbursement—teachers download the Bus Subsidy Form and send it in with the required documentation after the visit. Bus subsidy paperwork must be submitted within 3 months of a visit; incomplete paperwork may result in forfeit of the reimbursement. Funds are granted on a first-come, first served basis. Bus Subsidies are generously funded by Museum members and other contributors, and can take 6-8 weeks to process. If a preK-12 school visits both the Smith College Botanic Garden and the Art Museum for guided tours, the school may be eligible for Bus Subsidies from each institution and only needs to fill out a single form.
The Museum has no indoor areas available for group lunches. During mild weather, groups are encouraged to eat outdoors on campus lawns. Please be prepared to “pack in-pack out” lunches as there are no outdoor garbage receptacles on campus. Note that picnicking is NOT permitted in the Systematics Garden, Rock Garden, Capen Garden, the Overlook Garden or the Japanese Garden. Teachers who wish to have their school groups eat bag lunches in an indoor space on campus must contact Christina Duquette at the Smith College Office of Student Engagement during business hours at 413-585-2639 or firstname.lastname@example.org at least 7 days in advance of their visit to reserve a room. We recommend reserving an indoor space in case of inclement weather. Groups who wish to purchase lunch at the Campus Center Cafe should alert the staff at 413-585-2332. Cafe menus are available at www.smith.edu/campuscenter. Interested in exploring how your students might experience eating in a campus dining hall? Contact the Dining Services Office directly at 413-585-2300.
Lesson plans featuring works of art from SCMA’s permanent and changing galleries are available in our collection of Teacher Resources (Please note Rights and Usage). Art on view at the museum may rotate; contact us to find out if specific works of art will be available during your visit.
Consider supporting the Museum’s Education programs by becoming an Educator Member. Educator members enjoy all the benefits of membership, including free admission, and membership dues directly support the museum’s Bus Subsidy Program.
Teacher Advisory Group
PreK-12 educators are invited to join SCMA’s newly reformed Teacher Advisory Group (TAG), which meets approximately five times a year to preview upcoming exhibitions, tour current exhibitions, and provide valuable feedback to SCMA educators. Meetings are scheduled on Thursdays from 4 to 6:30 pm and include dinner. Teachers are eligible to receive an Educator level membership after attending three meetings and may request a certificate to document professional development hours. Enjoy a professional learning community of teachers from all grade levels and subject areas who are passionate about utilizing the resources of the museum. Email email@example.com for more information or visit the calendar for upcoming dates.