Teacher Professional Development

Free Workshops

Work with other teachers and MFA educators to explore ways of enlivening the classroom using Museum objects as teaching tools. Prepare for your upcoming school group visit to the MFA. Our workshops typically feature a slide presentation by a curator or guest speaker, followed by time in the galleries with Gallery Instructors. All are designed to address Curriculum Framework requirements.

We regret that we can no longer offer Professional Development Points for attendance at workshops.

Online registration is required, at least 24 hours before the workshop date. There is a non-refundable processing fee of $3 per teacher per workshop.

Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer
October 14, 2015, 4–7 pm

This groundbreaking exhibition reflects the ways in which 17th-century Dutch paintings represent the various socioeconomic groups of the new Dutch Republic, from the Princes of Orange to the most indigent. Featuring 75 portraits, genre scenes, landscapes, and seascapes from both American and European collections, the exhibition examines the way that different social classes were depicted by such artists as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Jan Steen, Pieter de Hooch, Gerard ter Borch, and Gabriel Metsu. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to explore the exhibition with the curator, look closely at works of art on display, and discuss possible connections with their World History or Visual Arts curricula.

(Link to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: Arts Connections Strand Standards 6–10; HSS: World History II)


Effective Museum Field Trips: Strategies for Success
November 11, 2015, 1-4 pm
Please note earlier time due to school holiday

Are you planning to bring your students to the MFA this year? Looking for some fresh ideas for how to structure an engaging visit? Want to prepare your students for their visit using Museum’s online resources  This workshop is the perfect place to start! Members of the Museum’s education department and teachers from local schools will share their experiences through both presentations and hands-on activities in the galleries. Whether you are a first-time field trip organizer, or someone who has led trips for many years, this workshop is an excellent way to prepare yourself and your students for a memorable experience.

(Link to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: various)


Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia
December 9, 2015, 4-7 pm

Made in the Americas is the first large-scale, Pan-American exhibition to examine the profound influence of Asia on the arts of the colonial Americas. Featuring nearly 100 of the most extraordinary objects produced in the colonies, this exhibition explores the rich, complex story of how craftsmen throughout the hemisphere adapted Asian styles in a range of materials—from furniture to silverwork, textiles, ceramics, and painting. Learn about how you can use this exhibition in your social studies curriculum, including both United States and World History, and explore how works of art in our collection demonstrate the many ways that artists around the world influence each others’ work.

(Link to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: Arts Connections Strand Standards 6–10; HSS: US History I; World History II)


Teaching with Objects: Using VTS and Guided Inquiry with Works of Art
January 13, 2016, 4-7 pm

The MFA uses two different methodologies for teaching students about works of art in its collection: Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) a research-based teaching method that improves critical thinking and language skills through discussions of visual images, and guided inquiry, a way of exploring works of art that both questioning techniques and information to focus students’ looking. This hands-on session will give participants the opportunity to experience both strategies with works of art in our collection, and discuss the best ways to implement them with students.

(Link to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: various)


Professional Teacher Membership Discount

Pre-K through grade 12 teachers can receive a $30 discount on membership and enjoy all the benefits of membership. Proof of active teaching status is required to receive discount; visit any MFA ticket desk and present your school ID, letter from the principal or head on school letterhead, or current MTA card. Please note: discount is available in person only; mailed requests will not be honored.


Teacher Professional Development Programs are funded in part by The Rabb/Goldberg/Cahners Fund for Teacher Resources.

MFA for Educators is made possible through the generous support of the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.