Museum Tours for Schools and Homeschool Groups

Our education staff is excited to support you in creating a program that connects with your classroom curriculum and enhances your visit. At the KIA, we offer tours tailored to each age group; each experience is inspired by the current exhibition and/or permanent collection.

Educators and students from all school districts are welcomed for our one-hour tour. Our volunteer docents are extensively trained to engage students of all ages in exploring art, building vocabulary through discussion, and allowing the students to express their own points of view.

School Tour Details

Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled tour to allow for time to go to the bathroom, take off coats, and get coordinated.

Tours are one hour long. If you elect to include an ArtLab as part of your visit, your visit will be two hours long. We can also build transition times into your experience, making your visit a little longer than two hours.

School tour hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 am to 4 pm (We can potentially accommodate school tours outside of these hours for an additional security fee of $25 per gallery attendant per hour).

We can accept up to 60 students at a time, and require one chaperone per every ten students.

Please schedule your tour three to four weeks in advance.

Grades Pre-K – First

Museum Moods

Our feelings are the guide for this tour as we look for works of art which convey certain moods and discuss how artists use color, gesture, and more to illustrate emotion. Designed for students in PreK-first grade, this tour will provide opportunities for students to explore feelings—both their own, and those conveyed through artworks in the galleries. This tour will foster excitement, empathy, and provide some new ways to explore feelings through art. We will read the book The Color Monster by Anna Llenas (available in both English and Spanish) and explore the galleries. For added fun, sign up to do the art project and have something special to take back to class!

40-Minute Tour and Story — Free
1-Hour Tour, Story, and Art Project — $2 per student

Grades 1 – 2

Colors, Shapes, and Patterns

Colors, Shapes, and Patterns are often called the “building blocks of art.” This tour, designed for first and second graders, will provide an introduction for students to start looking and understanding how works of art are created. Students will explore the galleries and learn more about the elements of art. They will be asked to think about how different artists combine these elements, including colors, lines, shapes, textures, and patterns, in new ways to create one-of-a-kind artworks.

Grades 3 – 5

Stories Told Through Art

On this tour, students will ask “who, what, where, when, and why” in order to discover the stories told in artworks across the KIA’s galleries. Who is the figure in that portrait—and what can we learn about them based on what we see? Where is this landscape—and what action might be set in this location? When was this painting made—and how would it look different today? These are just some of the questions students will consider during this imaginative, story-filled tour.

All Grades

Unveiling American Genius

Come explore our permanent collection of American Geniuses! This exhibition explores the artists who have helped shape the American story using three themes: Discovering U.S.: People and Places, Design and Purpose, and Rediscovering Abstraction. No matter if your students are studying art, engineering, language, or history, there is something for your class to discover and explore!   

Special Exhibitions

The KIA hosts several special exhibitions every year. To see what special exhibitions are on display, please visit When booking your tour, please indicate which exhibition you would like to see.

Visual Thinking Strategies

Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is a visual literacy skill that is designed to transform the way that students (and people) think and learn using artworks. It is based on three questions:

  • What is going on in this picture?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What more can you find?

These three questions will help students dive more deeply into an artwork and notice things they didn’t see before. Please note that this tour will not provide any background information about a work of art, but will instead focus on developing visual literacy, communication, and critical thinking skills. More information about the artworks discussed can be provided after the tour is complete.


Add a hands-on ArtLab experience to your tour.

Add an ArtLab workshop to any tour to extend your students’ museum experience, and connect it to your classroom work. Students will spend an hour in the studio making art with professional artist-educators who will cultivate their personal, unique vision to create an original artwork using a variety of techniques and materials. The students will exercise their creative and critical thinking skills, analytical skills, and increase their visual literacy using the language of art. (2 hour total visit)

Each tour theme has their own unique ArtLab. For more information, please chat with our Museum Education team!

ArtLab workshops are $5/student. Currently, grades 3 and 4 can experience a free ArtLab thanks to grant funding!

Sponsored by


Qualifying Kalamazoo County K-8 school groups pay only $25 of bus costs. Find information here about KRESA/EFA’s great offer.