School Tours Grades 3-12

Make the Gardner an unforgettable part of your students’ experience!

School tours at the Gardner Museum provide engaging opportunities for students to make personal connections to art, while also supporting curriculum goals. Our discussion based tours encourage close looking, critical inquiry, evidence based reasoning, and student teamwork. In addition to dynamic group discussions, the Gardner visit also offers opportunities for creative responses through writing and sketching. Each tour provides a general introduction to Isabella Stewart Gardner and the Museum's history, and focuses on three to five works of art in the Museum’s major galleries.

Please choose from one of the themes below for guided tours. All tours support Massachusetts Curriculum State Frameworks and the Common Core.

  • Fantastic Beasts (Grades 3 – 5)

    The Gardner is home to a variety of animals in art, both real and imaginary. In this interactive tour, students will encounter different creatures throughout the Museum in a variety of settings and media.

  • My Gardner (Grades 3 – 12)

    Students will personally connect with individual works of art and installations—and with each other—through close looking, collaborative problem-solving, and creative exploration.

  • Story Hunter (Grades 3 – 12)

    The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is full of narratives. Students will explore the ways in which stories from the classical past to the present—including ones students create on their own—can help us understand ourselves and the world.

  • Questions of Power (Grades 6 – 12)

    Students will investigate representations of power across time. They will consider questions such as: Who has power? Who doesn’t? How is power conveyed? Throughout the tour students will be invited to reflect on their own agency and voice.

  • Placemaking (Grades 9 – 12)

    In this experiential tour students will learn about Isabella Stewart Gardner as a placemaker, designer, and installation artist. Why did she create this Museum for ‘the education and enjoyment of the public forever’? How is her legacy interpreted today? How do we create and shape the places in our own lives?

  • Renaissance at the Gardner (Grades 9 – 12)

    Employing the skills of close looking, inquiry, and historical thinking, students will investigate the Renaissance within the context of European art and explore the influence of antiquity and medieval art. Questions to be considered include: Why was the Renaissance such a significant period? How are the considerable cultural and artistic shifts that happened during the Renaissance relevant today?

Self-Guided School Tours (High School Only)

Groups of 10 or fewer high school students may choose to visit the galleries on a self-guided tour. 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 must be accompanied by a chaperone while exploring the galleries.

Use the form below to schedule a group visit. Please note that appointments are required for all school groups visiting the Museum. If your group is larger than 10, you must do a guided tour. Modest fees are charged, including a $25 nonrefundable deposit for guided visits.

Contact information for Group Coordinator:
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Contact information for School
Contact information for Group Escort day-of visit (if different than Group Coordinator):
GUIDED SCHOOL TOURS ONLY - Please choose one of the following suggested themes for your tour:

Dates and times for tours at the Museum often book up quickly. All school groups must register at least three weeks in advance—registering early means your desired date and time are more likely to be available.

Your tour is confirmed once you receive an email stating your request has been processed and approved. Guided tours must submit a $25 nonrefundable deposit to complete the confirmation process. The balance may be paid in advance or upon arrival by cash, check, or credit card.

For questions about reservations, please email tours@isgm.org or call 617 278 5147Monday through Friday, 9 am–5 pm. 72 hours notice is required for cancellations or to change the date of your visit.

PLANNING YOUR SCHOOL GROUP VISIT

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. 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.

Fees

The fee for guided groups is $6 per student, which includes admission and a guided tour. The fee for self-guided groups is $4 per student, which includes admission only. Up to five teachers and chaperones are admitted free of charge. Additional chaperones are charged at the adult Museum admission rate.

Parking and Lunch

The Museum does not provide bus 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.