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Back to School! Field Trips at Crystal Bridges

As the new school season begins, educators might be thinking about field trips for their students. As an educator of a subject beyond art—such as math, science, or history, for example—it might seem like going to an art museum for a field trip doesn’t apply to the classroom curriculum. However, thanks to the Willard and Pat Walker School Visit Program, teachers and students studying every subject imaginable can explore concepts and ideas through the visual arts provided at the museum.

Scroll down to learn more about the school visit program and answers to some frequently asked questions.


What’s included in a school tour?

Field trips at Crystal Bridges are completely free to schools and include free student lunches and transportation reimbursement. Each visit begins with a guided tour through the galleries based on a specific tour curriculum. After the guided tour through the gallery, each field trip is accompanied by a hands-on learning activity and lunch in a nice spot where students can admire the nature that surrounds them.


What tours are offered?

There are so many opportunities to explore a class curriculum beyond art class at Crystal Bridges. From science to math to history, and even to emotional intelligence, the field trip curriculums offered at the museum are wide and varied to meet the needs of any classroom. Here are just a few examples of tours offered:


  • Me and My Museum – designed for young students, this tour explores what a museum is. Students will interact with the museum through conversation, movement, stories, and hands-on group activities.
  • The Writing is on the Wall: Stories in Art –  students learn how to “read” works of art by gathering clues about character, plot, and setting in paintings and sculptures.
  • Perseverance – students study historic events and explore characters who persevered through challenging moments in American history.
  • African American, Native American, and Latino American History – explore the galleries through the lens of different histories and cultures.
  • Art and Science – for science classes! Students practice scientific thinking to develop connections between science and visual art.
  • Art and Math – for math classes! Students explore mathematical concepts illustrated in paintings found at the museum.
  • Crystals in Art: Ancient to Today – this semester only (October 16 – December 20, 2019),  discover the geographic relevance of crystals in Arkansas, and the long and storied history of how crystal has captivated the imagination of artists and innovators across time.


Artworks for each tour are selected based on relevancy to the curriculum and what is going to foster the best conversations with students. Educators strive to build their tours looking at a wide variety of perspectives, across artist backgrounds as well as time periods.

To see a full list of school tours and the Arkansas State Standards they meet, click here.


Can I customize a school tour?

Oh boy, can you ever! Crystal Bridges offers a unique opportunity to educators to create customized gallery tours that can be as broad or specific as the needs of the classroom require. One of Crystal Bridges’ Museum Educators will work with the educator to come up with the curriculum in advance of the trip.

In the past, Museum Educator Raven Cook created a tour curriculum based on the themes of the novel, Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison, given to a group that was reading the book in English class.

In another case, a group of students from the UAMS School of Medicine wanted to take a customized tour of the galleries that would draw connections between art and medicine. Working with UAMS professors, Museum Educators developed a tour that examined medical tools, communication, and ethics in medicine, and even participated in a communication activity. The students paired up and one student looked at an artwork and described it to their partner, who then drew the description without looking at the painting.

Please allow for at least 3-4 weeks in advance of your trip to develop a customized tour. The Education department can be reached at [email protected].


Can I take my students through by themselves?

Yes! After the guided tour and lunch, teachers are able to take their students through the galleries or trails by themselves. This is also a great opportunity to explore artworks that are not offered on school tours, such as the Kusama Infinity Mirrored Room. Whatever your needs are, Crystal Bridges educators are happy to assist you to ensure your trip to the museum is both meaningful and educational.


To sign up your class or share the museum’s field trip program with a teacher in your life, you can find more information and a sign-up form here.


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