Plan Your School Group Visit

Essential Resources

For Your Students

Plan to show the video Your Visit to the MFA (4 min.) that gives students a great preview of what to expect on their visit.

For Educators and Group Leaders

Please review the short slideshow Field Trip 101 with useful tips and guidelines so you and your students have a great visit.

Printable Tips and Guidelines

If you would like a printable version of tips, guidelines, directions, parking, and information about lunch reservations, download Preparing for Your School Group Visit (PDF).

Before Your Visit

If your group is running late, please call MFA Group Sales at 617-369-3310.

For questions or to request changes to your reservation, please contact MFA Group Sales at groups@mfa.org or 617-369-3310.

Detailed information about getting to the Linde Family Wing Schools and Groups Entrance, transportation and traffic, and checking in can be found at Prepare for your School Group Arrival.

For all groups, the Museum requires at least one adult chaperone for every 10 students. Note that the Museum cannot admit groups without the minimum number of chaperones. All chaperones must be at least 18 years old and cannot be a student at your school.

Divide students into their smaller groups before you arrive to streamline entry.

As students explore the galleries and discover works of art, chaperones are encouraged to engage with them, ask questions, and help enforce Museum policies.

Chaperones must stay with their smaller groups at all times. If a student gets separated from the group, staff will bring them to the Linde Family Wing Schools and Groups Entrance.

The MFA is committed to accessibility for all visitors. Any additional staff or chaperones attending to assist students with disabilities are admitted for free. To inform the Museum of any access needs, such as using elevators, Assistive Listening Devices, or sighted guides, contact MFA Group Sales at 617-369-3310 or groups@mfa.org prior to your scheduled visit. Advance notice for sighted guides for students who are blind or have low vision, ASL interpreters for students who are Deaf, or other accommodations is appreciated and will ensure we can meet the request.

The Museum is wheelchair accessible. Manual wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Assistive-listening devices are available on request.

To give us advance notice and for further access information, please call 617-369-3189 or e-mail access@mfa.org. We will help you make all necessary arrangements.

If for any reason you are not able to visit the Museum, please call 617-369-3310 to alert MFA Group Sales as soon as possible.

Inclement Weather

We realize that cancellations due to unexpected school closures may occur on short notice. If you must cancel your visit due to a school closure, please notify Group Sales as soon as possible. It is also sometimes necessary for the MFA to close unexpectedly due to inclement weather. If bad weather is expected in the Boston area on the date of your visit, please check mfa.org or call 617-267-9300 x0 to confirm whether the Museum is open to visitors for the day. Groups will not be billed for visits canceled due to Museum closure or significant inclement weather.

Visit the MFA yourself—K–12 teachers receive free admission with proof of active teaching status in a school, afterschool, or community setting in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The Museum also offers a $30 discount on membership for teachers. Visit any MFA ticket desk and present your current teacher ID or a letter from the principal or director on letterhead. (These offers are not valid for additional chaperones on School Group Visits. Retired teachers and home school educators are not eligible.)

You can also use the floor plan, collections search, and list of special exhibitions to map out areas for your students and chaperones to visit. Be ready to adjust your plans and visit alternative galleries. Some galleries can get crowded and works of art you planned to see might not be on view.

You may also want to:

All groups receive a confirmation e-mail from MFA Group Sales with important details about the visit once your date is secured.

Be sure to save the confirmation e-mail and have access to it when you arrive at the museum.

As your visit approaches, groups will also be asked to respond to the following:

  • Within a month of your visit, you will receive an e-mail from School Programs staff asking for final confirmation of the number of students and chaperones and reminding you of key resources for planning your visit.
  • For guided groups, the Gallery Instructor organizing your tour will send you an e-mail approximately two weeks prior to your visit to find out more about your students, your goals, and any assignments planned. We appreciate your responding to this e-mail communication in a timely manner so we can prepare the tour with consideration of your learning goals.
  • For self-guided groups, you will receive a pre-visit questionnaire designed to find out more about your students, your goals, and any assignments planned.

During Your Visit

To help preserve the art, keep everyone safe, and have the best possible visit, keep the following guidelines in mind.

Stick with your group.

For safety, chaperones need to be with their smaller groups at all times. If a student gets separated from the group, staff will bring them to the Linde Family Wing Schools and Groups Entrance.

Don’t get too close to the art.

Stay at least 12 inches (an arm’s length) from all art and display cases. The oils on hands can darken paint, stain wood and marble, damage fabric and paper, and eat away at metal. If someone gets too close, a beeping sound might go off as a reminder to step back.

Take it slow.

Take time to look at everything around you, and please walk—don’t run—in the Museum. We don’t want anyone to fall down or bump into a work of artwork by accident.

Share your ideas.

Have lively discussions, and use quieter voices.

Don’t eat or drink in the galleries.

It’s okay to carry water in a closed bottle to have later.

Get creative with pencils and notebooks.

Use pencil only to draw or write (not markers or pens) and clipboards or notebooks to use as writing surfaces (avoid leaning on walls, cases, or displays).

Take a break.

A change of pace can help the overall experience, especially if your group stays at the Museum for more than 90 minutes. Often you can find a quiet gallery that is not too busy for your group to gather, rest, and regroup.

Consider coming back later if a gallery is crowded.

If a gallery is at capacity, a security guard or other member of MFA staff may advise you to wait before entering.

Take photos without a flash.

Feel free to take photos unless you see a sign posted. If you’re on a guided tour, ask your guide about good times to take photos.

We’re here to help.

Sharf Visitor Center is a great place to stop by if you have any questions during your visit, and guards and any other staff you see are happy to help as well. Security guards are throughout the Museum to keep visitors and the artwork safe. Please follow and respect any instructions they give.

To visit the shop, students need to be with their chaperones and in their smaller group of less than ten. Unaccompanied student groups aren’t allowed in the shops. Please have one group from your school visit a shop at a time.

There are restrooms and water fountains near the Linde Family Wing Schools and Groups Entrance and in various locations throughout the Museum. Chaperones and group leaders will get a map and key information when they arrive.

A large bank of restrooms next to Sharf Visitor Center is great for groups. Gallery Instructors and Museum staff can help you find your way.

After Your Visit

We hope you and your students have a meaningful visit to the MFA and continue your learning and discussion back in the classroom. Use MFA for Educators to revisit works of art and themes from your tour. We also encourage you to share photographs and stories from your visit through social media using #mfaBoston, in accordance with your school’s policies.

We greatly value your feedback and invite you to complete a survey about your experience. You will receive a link to the survey via e-mail the week following your tour, and upon completion, will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of three $100 gift cards to the MFA Shops and online store.

If you have any immediate concerns, please e-mail us at feedback@mfa.org.

Remind your students that they can return to the MFA. Admission is free outside of school hours for kids 17 and under, and admission is voluntary on Wednesday evenings after 4 pm!

Check our Program Calendar and come back for a performance, tour, lecture, film, and more.

Join us for Teacher Professional Development to explore ways of enlivening your classroom using Museum objects as teaching tools. Register for one of our teacher workshops on the second Wednesday of the month, 4 to 6 pm, or contact teacherresources@mfa.org to plan a customized workshop for your school or district.