School Group Options and Reservations

To request a school group visit:

  1. Select from the options described below.
  2. Complete a Guided Tour Reservation Request or Self-Guided Visit Reservation Request. Requests must be received at least four weeks prior to your preferred dates.
  3. You will generally hear back from Group Sales within two business days. Once confirmed, prepare for your visit with a downloadable checklist, map, and information for chaperones.

Want to know more before booking? See Choose Your Experience and Admission and Payment for additional information.

Explore on Your Own

Teachers are invited to visit the MFA with their class for a self-directed experience. Students explore the galleries at their own pace with chaperones and can complete prepared assignments. Download and print the MFA’s self-guided visit activities to enrich your students’ visit. Mobile MFA Guides are also available for rent. Please refer to Protecting Visitors and the Artwork for guidelines on gallery capacities and other relevant information for all chaperones.

Summer Availability

June 15–October 14, 2019
Available daily.
10 am to closing, every 15 minutes.

School Year Availability

October 15, 2019–June 11, 2020
Available daily.
Mondays–Thursdays 11 am to closing, every 15 minutes.
Fridays–Sundays 10 am to closing, every 15 minutes.

Request a self-guided visit

Guided Tours of Special Exhibitions

Tour Availability (October 15, 2019–January 17, 2020)

Mondays–Thursdays 9:30 am (early entry), 10:30 am
Fridays 9:30 am (early entry)

Between 2500 BCE and 300 CE, many kingdoms flourished in what is today the Sudanese Nile Valley, a region known in antiquity as Kush and by modern scholars as Nubia. Nubian kings and queens controlled vast empires and trade networks, rivalling—and even for a brief time conquering—their more famous neighbors, the Egyptians. The MFA played a key role in excavations at ancient Nubian sites, and now has the largest, most important collection of Nubian art outside Khartoum. See exquisite jewels of Nubia’s queens, the nearly lifesize statue of King Senkamanisken from the sacred mountain of Gebel Barkal, the army of funerary figurines from the tomb of King Taharqa, the gold and silver treasure of King Aspelta, and the stele of King Tanyidamani. Consider the reasons for which Nubia remains unfamiliar to many Americans—including a shortage of written documentation from antiquity, the prejudices of early excavators, and propaganda from Nubia’s neighbor, and rival, Egypt—and learn about Nubia’s cultural significance to many in the African diaspora. Learn more about the exhibition. Tour capacity: 50 students. Note: A combined Ancient Nubia and Ancient Egypt tour is also available (with a capacity of 90 students), see below.

(Link to MA Curriculum Frameworks: HSS: 6.T1,T3c. Visual Arts: various.)

Special opportunity: Students seeing “Ancient Nubia Now” on a school visit will be invited to return with 4 free admission passes for adults. (Admission for return visits is free for youth 17 and under.)

Request an “Ancient Nubia Now” tour

Guided Tours across Collections

Summer Tour Availability

July 8–September 27, 2019
Mondays–Fridays 10 am–2 pm, every 30 minutes

School Year Tour Availability

October 15, 2019–June 11, 2020
Mondays–Thursdays 10 am, 11 am–2 pm, every 30 minutes
Fridays 9:30 am (early entry)

The Discovering the MFA tour is ideal for first-time visitors or classes interested in a cross-cultural approach to art. Explore a variety of objects from across the Museum’s major collection areas, in different media throughout the ages. Students will look closely and discuss works of art in a fun and engaging way.

(Link to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: Various)

Request a guided tour

School Year Tour Availability

October 15, 2019–June 11, 2020
Mondays–Thursdays 9:45 am (early entry)
Fridays 9:30 am (early entry)

This tour offers an introduction to the Museum for early childhood grades, using the lens of “collections” as a means of learning more about museums, and specifically the MFA. The Museum is comprised of collections, from all of the artworks housed within the Museum to individual galleries and displays. Through this tour, students gain a deeper understanding of how museums function as collections and are able to apply this knowledge through developmentally appropriate gallery activities and discussions.

(Link to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: Various, including English Language Arts RL.1, RL.3, SL.1, SL.3-4)

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School Year Tour Availability

October 15, 2019–June 11, 2020
Mondays–Thursdays 9:45 (early entry), 10:45 am

This cross-collection tour is designed specifically for Spanish language students learning about the rich cultural heritage of the Spanish-speaking world. Students explore works from medieval Spain through colonization in the Americas to the 20th-century, up to the diverse work of contemporary Spanish-speaking artists. Students encounter original works of art by Velázquez, Kahlo, Picasso, El Greco, and more. This tour is conducted in English.

(Link to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: HSS: 6.T5, WH I, WH II. Visual Arts: various)

What Artists Do Option

After viewing portraits of people from around the world, students create a self-portrait inspired by artists like Velázquez, Kahlo, or Picasso.

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Guided Tours of Art of the Americas

Summer Tour Availability

July 8–September 27, 2019
Mondays–Fridays 10 am–2 pm, every 30 minutes

School Year Tour Availability

October 15, 2019–June 11, 2020
Mondays–Thursdays 10 am, 11 am–2 pm, every 30 minutes
Fridays 9:30 am (early entry)

Explore a selection of works of art that demonstrate diverse experiences across times and places in the Americas. Consider how artists used the tools available to them to reflect their cultural moment. In this tour, students get a taste of the variety of objects, cultures, and time periods represented in the Art of the Americas Wing. This tour is recommended for students in grades 3–12.

(Link to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: HSS: Gr. 3-5, 6.T5, US I, US II. Visual Arts: various.)

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School Year Tour Availability

October 15, 2019–June 11, 2020
Mondays–Thursdays 9:30 (early entry), 10:30 am

Explore the impact of industrialization, westward expansion, the Civil War, immigration, and the American role in international relations in the 1800s and early 1900s. See examples of painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the time period that reflects those changes. Also consider how images contribute to the development of a national identity and mythmaking. Students consider which stories make it to the headlines of history and which are overlooked, stories that can be uncovered through observation and additional information. Recommended for high school classes studying United States history and culture of the 19th and 20th centuries.

(Link to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: HSS: US I, US II. Visual Arts: various.)

What Artists Do Option

The United States identity includes languages, food, fashion, style, art, and music from many cultures. Students mix images from print with acrylic paint on canvas to create their own artwork connected to identity.

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School Year Tour Availability

October 15, 2019–June 11, 2020
Mondays–Thursdays 9:30 (early entry), 10:30 am

Engage with works of art spanning ancient civilizations to the late 18th century, including works created by the Olmec, the Maya, and other indigenous groups of the Americas. Trace the impact of European imposition and conquest through engaging with the visual arts of the Spanish and British colonies. See evidence of how colonizers adapted and altered artistic practices and iconography of the ancient Americas to suit their missions. Students have the opportunity to see sculpture, decorative arts, and painting. This tour is recommended for students in grades 3–12 who are interested in the history and culture of the early Americas.

(Link to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: HSS: Gr. 4, Gr. 5, 6.T5, USI.T1, WHI.T3. Visual Arts: various.)

What Artists Do Option

Artists across time and cultures in the Americas used clay to make practical, beautiful vessels to carry water and store food, developing different designs and images for decoration. Students build clay objects in the style of Native Americans or the early colonists.

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School Year Tour Availability

October 15, 2019–June 11, 2020
Mondays–Thursdays 9:30 (early entry), 10:30 am

Encounter the portraits from your textbooks on the walls of the Museum. Consider what these images meant when they were made and what they mean to us now. Students see original works of art from the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries that bring history to life—from the smallest details of everyday life in the colonies to illustrations of major milestones on the path to independence. They will ultimately come to understand that those who write and illustrate history—and those who have the power and financial means to commission works of art—determine whose stories are told.

(Link to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: HSS: Gr. 3, USI.T1. Visual Arts: various.)

What Artists Do Option

After viewing portraits on the tour, students paint their own self-portrait. Students consider what they can communicate through their portrait through their choice of pose, setting, clothing, and attributes.

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School Year Tour Availability

October 15, 2019–June 11, 2020
Mondays–Thursdays 10 am

Museums do not show us every side to every story. However, museums can teach us how to consider how even a single object can reveal a multitude of narratives. High school students can bring their critical reading skills from the classroom to explore what a work of art intends to reveal to its viewers as well as its unintentional messages. Students should be prepared to discuss how images perpetuate and undermine dominant cultural narratives about race, gender, and class. This tour focuses on North America and may include works of art spanning from the 17th century to the present. Please note this tour is specifically for high school students.

(Link to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: HSS: US I, US II. Visual Arts: various.)

Request a guided tour

Guided Tours of Art of the Ancient World

School Year Tour Availability

October 15, 2019–January 17, 2020
Mondays–Thursdays 9:30 (early entry), 10:30 am
Fridays 9:30 am (early entry)

The MFA’s Egyptian and Nubian collections are among the largest and most comprehensive in the world. This tour introduces students to these remarkable ancient civilizations and considers the complex exchange of culture, ideas, and commerce among the many kingdoms flourishing along the Nile. Students explore what the ancient Nubians and Egyptians valued and believed by examining depictions of pharaohs and other leaders, artifacts from daily life, and funerary objects including mummies and shawabtys (figurines). Recommended for elementary and middle school classes studying the ancient world. Connects directly to the new grade 6 MA History and Social Science Framework. Students visit both the first-floor ancient Egypt galleries and the special exhibition “Ancient Nubia Now.” Tour capacity: 90 students.

(Links to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks HSS: 6.T1,T3c. Visual Arts: various.)

What Artists Do Option

The ancient Egyptians and Nubians were well prepared for their trip to the afterlife. Students create in clay a favorite object they would bring to the afterlife.

Special opportunity: Students seeing “Ancient Nubia Now” on a school visit will be invited to return with 4 free admission passes for adults. (Admission for return visits is free for youth 17 and under.)

Request a guided tour

School Year Tour Availability

January 21–June 11, 2020
Mondays–Thursdays 9:30 (early entry), 10:30 am
Fridays 9:30 am (early entry)

The MFA’s Egyptian collection is among the largest and most comprehensive in the world. This tour introduces students to this remarkable ancient civilization. Students explore what the Ancient Egyptians valued and believed by examining depictions of pharaohs and other leaders, artifacts from daily life, and funerary objects including mummies and shawabtys (figurines). This tour is recommended for elementary and middle school classes studying the ancient world and connects directly to the new grade 6 MA History and Social Science Framework. Students visit the first-floor ancient Egypt galleries. Tour capacity: 50 students.

(Link to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: HSS: 6.T1,T3c. Visual Arts: various.)

What Artists Do Option

The ancient Egyptians were well prepared for their trip to the afterlife. Students create in clay a favorite object they would bring to the afterlife.

Request a guided tour

Guided Tours of Art of Asia

School Year Tour Availability

October 15, 2019–June 11, 2020
Mondays–Thursdays 10:15 am

Look closely to learn how art reflects the time, culture, and religions in which it was made. This highlights tour offers an overview of the art of Asia on view at the MFA: India, China, Korea, Japan, and the Middle East through Islamic, Buddhist, and Hindu art, as well as a range of secular objects from as far back as the 13th century BCE to the present day.

(Link to MA Curriculum Frameworks: HSS: 7.T1,T2; WHI.T1-4; WHII. Visual Arts: various.)

What Artists Do Option

Students use clay to make a decorative object or sculpture inspired by the culture, religion, or time period of one of the regions they just explored.

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School Year Tour Availability

October 15, 2019–June 11, 2020
Mondays–Thursdays 10:15 am

See how trade transformed cultures, bringing Buddhism to “the east” and Chinese style to “the west,” while examining objects reflecting the wide variety of people, animals, goods, artistic styles, technology, cultures, and religious beliefs of the Silk Road at its zenith in 1500 to 1600 BCE.

(Link to MA Curriculum Frameworks: HSS: 6.T3g; 7.T1b,2b; WHI.T1,T3. Visual Arts: various.)

What Artists Do Option

With mixed media and collage, students make an illustrated map of their travels, including places, objects, cultures, temples, and palaces.

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School Year Tour Availability

October 15, 2019–June 11, 2020
Mondays–Thursdays 10:15 am

Explore the MFA’s rich collection of Chinese art, spanning from the Bronze Age to the present day, to learn the role of continuity and tradition in Chinese culture, and how technological innovations, as well as Buddhism influenced art. Between October 2019 and March 2020 this tour will include the exhibition “Weng Family Collection of Chinese Painting: Family and Friends.” Please note: the recreated Ming Dynasty house and courtyard that students may have visited in past years is no longer on view.

(Link to MA Curriculum Frameworks: HSS: 7.T1-2; WHI.T3-4. Visual Arts: various.)

What Artists Do Option

With mixed media and collage, students make an illustrated map of their travels, including places, objects, cultures, temples, and palaces.

Request a guided tour

Guided Tours of the Art of Europe

School Year Tour Availability

October 15, 2019–June 11, 2020
Mondays–Thursdays 9:45 (early entry), 10:45 am

The Small Kingdoms to Emerging Nations tour includes 12th through 17th century art reflecting how European culture acquired practices and forms rooted in church and state. Students look at and talk about paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts from this time period such as princely portraits, luxury goods, monks, and stories from mythology.

(Link to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: HSS World History I)

What Artists Do Option

Inspired by 12th-century paintings, students paint a tempera panel in bright colors and gold paint.

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School Year Tour Availability

October 15, 2019–June 11, 2020
Mondays–Thursdays 9:45 (early entry), 10:45 am

The Enlightenment to Modernism tour includes 18th through mid 20th century art illustrating the emergence of modern Europe through art that reflects this time period. Students look at and talk about sculpture, decorative arts, and paintings—including the MFA’s unparalleled Impressionist collection.

(Link to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: HSS World History II)

What Artists Do Option

Students look at 18th-century sculpture, then build a clay bust of a current important figure in the manner of 18th century busts, create a self-portrait, or a bust of a friend.

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School Year Tour Availability

October 15, 2019–June 11, 2020
Mondays–Thursdays 9:45 (early entry), 10:45 am

The French Art tour includes 17th through 20th century art, covering a number of artistic styles, including but not limited to Classicism, French Rococo, Romanticism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Pointillism, and Cubism. Students discuss socio-political factors and the influence of other cultures on French art. This is an English language tour.

(Link to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: HSS World History I, World History II, Foreign Languages Cultures Strand)

What Artists Do Option

Original Cubist works serve as inspiration to create Cubist assemblages or paintings.

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Guided Tours of Contemporary Art and Photography

School Year Tour Availability

October 15, 2019–June 11, 2020
Mondays–Thursdays 10:15 am

During this Contemporary art tour, students engage in lively discussion as they experience a range of works of art in the Contemporary galleries in the Linde Family Wing. They see how contemporary artists use unconventional materials, innovative techniques, and new technologies. They also explore how Contemporary art reflects today’s rapidly changing world and often redefines our ideas of what "art" can be.

(Link to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: Visual Arts: various.)

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School Year Tour Availability

October 15, 2019–June 11, 2020
Mondays–Thursdays 10:15 am

This tour highlights photographic art with a focus on selected works from the MFA’s exhibitions on photography. Students explore the photography as an art form and discuss artists in terms of photographic intent, styles and techniques used to express the intent. Students engage in conversations about composition, light, and movement in this medium. Recommended for all ages interested in photography and design.

(Link to Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: Visual Arts: various.)

Request a guided tour

Hands-On Art Making

What Artists Do

This two-part program combines a guided tour with a related art-making activity. The first hour is a guided tour you select, led by a Gallery Instructor. In the second hour, a Studio Art Instructor encourages students to reflect on what they saw in the galleries and make their own work of art to take home. Activities are designed to help students better understand the creative process and include working with clay, painting on canvas, collage, or ink brush painting.

In the tour descriptions above, tours with a What Artists Do option list the related activity. To request a reservation for a What Artists Do program:

  1. Select your tour.
  2. Submit a Guided Tour Reservation Request.
  3. Choose the What Artists Do component for an additional $8 per student. Note: this cost is not covered by the MFA’s waived admission programs. What Artists Do is available for groups of up to 60 students.