Docent-guided tours are a fun way to encourage close observation through evidence-based inquiry to develop visual literacy and critical thinking skills in students of all ages. Our school tours are designed in connection with the New York State Learning Standards.
For your convenience, we have put together resources for the preparation of your class visits based on different tours.
Art Story (Pre-K and English Language Learners)
Art Story tours guide early readers and English language learners through interactive discussions using The Whole Book Approach developed by The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA. This technique leads children through careful investigations connecting images to words - developing vocabulary comprehension and listening skills. Each visit includes a docent-led tour connecting the story to artwork in the Museum galleries.
Highlights of the Museum (All Ages)
A general tour of our permanent collection is an enjoyable introduction for both adults and students. From "The Voyage of Life" series by Thomas Cole to contemporary works, students will leave with an appreciation of our arts collection. Docent guides will discuss the founding families, their philanthropy and impact on the local history of Utica, NY.
Students will examine history through the eyes of people who lived during key times in America's development. The Museum's American history tours can be tailored to your curriculum, and can include topics such as New York State history, childhood in Upstate New York, the Oneida Stone and the Oneida Indian Nation, and American history from pre-Revolution to the present.
Myths and Mysteries at the Museum (Middle and High School)
Our mythology tour explores representations of Greek and Roman myths and origin stories from around the world. Students connect their classroom readings to both traditional and contemporary interpretations of these ancient stories by viewing paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, and contemporary paintings.
STEAM Tour 1: Engineering and Design of the Philip Johnson Museum of Art (Grades 3-12)
Open your students’ eyes to a new way of interpreting science, technology, engineering and math through art. This tour introduces students to the postmodern elements of this award-winning 1960 art museum designed by the architect, Philip Johnson. Students will investigate the original design and compare archival photographs documenting the construction. Students learn about specific considerations Philip Johnson needed to address when designing a public art space and look at alternatives and changes made since the original construction.
STEAM Tour 2: The Color of Light (4th Grade)
This program investigates electromagnetic radiation and the properties of light looking at how artists use color and light in art. Students will participate in hands-on activities to understand the science behind pinhole cameras, the visible spectrum of light, mixing colored light in computer graphics and iridescence in art.
Special Exhibitions (Various Grade Levels)
Each year MWPAI brings exhibitions from national and international lenders offering students unique educational opportunities. Past exhibitions have encouraged close examination of American Indian artifacts from the Thaw collection at Fenimore Art Museum, French Impressionism and Egyptian artifacts from private collections. Teachers should watch for upcoming exhibitions or contact the School Programs Coordinator at MWPAI for current tour content and curricular connections.