Education

School and Teacher Programs at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum provide opportunities for students to make meaningful connections to art. Our teaching methods use questions to engage students while layering contextual information with students’ observations. Professionally trained museum teachers facilitate every guided school group’s experience.

Dates and times for tours at the Museum are often reserved quickly. All groups must register at least four weeks in advance—registering early also means your desired date and time are more likely to be available. For reservations, please contact the Education Department at tours@isgm.org, or by calling 617 278 5147.

FOR ALL GROUPS

Registration

All groups must register at least four weeks in advance by calling 617 278 5147, Monday through Friday, 9 am–5 pm, or by emailing tours@isgm.org. Unregistered groups may be denied entry to the Museum. Group reservations are not confirmed over the phone. The Tour Manager must receive a completed registration form and a $25 nonrefundable deposit in order to complete the confirmation process. All student groups are strongly encouraged to visit the Gardner Museum on a guided gallery experience.

Should your group need to cancel or change the date of its visit, please call 617 278 5147 or email tours@isgm.org. 72 hours notice is required.

Parking and Lunch

The Museum does not provide parking. In addition to metered street parking, several parking lots and garages are located nearby. Buses must find their own parking.

The Museum cannot accommodate student groups for lunch. Weather permitting, the public parks along the Fenway may be used for a picnic.

FOR GROUPS OF 10 OR MORE: GUIDED TOURS

Groups of 10 or more are required to be guided by a museum teacher. Guided tours are conducted by professionally trained museum teachers who are specifically assigned to your group. A museum teacher will contact you prior to your arrival to discuss the details of your visit.

Museum teachers provide a general introduction to Isabella Gardner and the Museum's history, and facilitate discussions of approximately five works of art in the Museum’s major galleries. Rather than attempting to show students many objects, we emphasize deeper looking and conversations about a few objects during the tour. In addition to rich, dynamic discussions, the Gardner visit also offers opportunities for independent responses through writing and sketching.

Group Size and Chaperones

Due to the intimate nature of the Museum’s galleries, a maximum of 60 students per tour reservation time is allowed for guided groups. Students are divided into groups of 15 or fewer. Any group with more than 10 students and chaperones must be guided.

One chaperone is required for every 10 students in a guided school group. Chaperones should familiarize themselves and their students with the Museum guidelines sent with the visit confirmation and help Museum staff with their enforcement.

Times and Fees for Guided Tours

Guided visits may be scheduled Monday, Wednesday through Saturday at the following arrival times: 11:15 am, 12:30 pm, 1:45 pm, and 3:15 pm; we are regularly closed on Tuesdays. The Museum cannot guarantee extended tours to accommodate late arrivals.

Fee for guided groups is $6 per student, which includes admission and guided tour.

To reserve your visit, please include a $25 nonrefundable deposit at the time of booking by check or credit card only. The balance may be paid upon arrival, by cash, check, or credit card.

Please note: Up to five teachers and chaperones are admitted free of charge. Additional chaperones are charged at the adult rate.

Themes for Guided Tours

Tours are organized around a general theme and are designed to be grade-specific. The following themes are suggested. Please choose from one of these when booking your tour, or discuss additional ideas with the Tour Manager. Suggested themes:

Thinking Through Art (grades 3-12): Museum teachers encourage students to observe, talk and think about art through open-ended questions. Rather than lecturing, museum teachers empower students to use their critical thinking skills to discover the meaning behind each work of art. This interactive experience employs the Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) method.

Stories in Art (grades 3-8): Discover the varied stories in the collection.

People and Places (grades 3-5): Encounter memorable characters and settings in works of art.

Images of Power (grades 6-12): Explore issues of identity, status and power, with a focus on selected portraits.

Exploring the Italian Renaissance (grades 6-12): Discuss masterpieces by Italian artists and learn about the artistic revolution of the Renaissance in Italy.

Spanish Painting (grades 6-12): Expand your study of Spanish art and culture by exploring the Museum's collection.

FOR GROUPS OF 10 OR FEWER: SELF-GUIDED TOURS

Groups of 10 or fewer may choose to visit the galleries on their own, though all student groups are strongly encouraged to visit the Gardner Museum on a guided gallery experience. Due to the intimate nature of the Museum's galleries, self-guided groups must be divided into groups of 5 or fewer and each group of students must be accompanied by a chaperone.

Times and Fees for Self-Guided Tours

Self-guided visits may be scheduled Monday and Wednesday through Saturday at the following arrival times: 11:30 am, 12:45 pm, 2:15 pm, and 3:30 pm; we are regularly closed on Tuesdays.

Fee for self-guided groups is $4 per student, which includes admission only.

To reserve your visit, please include a $25 nonrefundable deposit at the time of booking by check or credit card only. The balance may be paid upon arrival, by cash, check, or credit card.

Please note: Up to five teachers and chaperones are admitted free of charge. Additional chaperones are charged at the adult rate.