Student Group Visits


We invite you to expand your knowledge by exploring the world of art! We offer interactive, multidisciplinary programs for students in grades Pre-K – 12 that complement the Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools. Come explore with us!


Request a Student Group Visit or Tour Request an Early Childhood Group Visit or Tour


Our 10 am, 11 am, and noon guided student tour slots are full through March 12, 2018. If you would like to request a guided tour, please select potential visit dates that occur after  March 12, 2018. If you would like to book a self-directed visit for dates before March 12th, please use our request form and select Self-directed Visit. Thank you.



We are no longer accepting Terracotta Army guided student tour requests. All of these slots have been filled and are no longer available. Please do not submit a guided tour request for the exhibition.

We are only booking self-directed visits of the Terracotta Army exhibition. If you would like to book a self-directed visit, please submit a Terracotta Self-directed Request Form. Please click on the Terracotta Army tab to find the form link.

2017 – 2018 School Year Tours

All tours must be booked at least three weeks in advance and are based on docent and gallery availability.

SOL- Based Permanent Collection Tours for K-12

Student tours of VMFA’s permanent collection are FREE and run 50 minutes each.  Select tours are 90 minutes.

Offered the following days and times:
Mon – noon
Tues – Fri, 10 am, 11 am, noon
Sat – Sun 11 am, noon

Later times during the day may be available upon request.  All tour capacities are based on docent and gallery availability.

Please visit the Learn page to find resources related to your tour.


The Great Outdoors
Artists are keen observers of nature!  Safari through ancient to modern galleries and investigate pictorial environments to find many unique plants, animals, birds and insects.
Maximum 50 students

Picture This!
See how artists have portrayed stories and historical events from the past to the present.  Examine symbols and their meanings while viewing portraits, landscapes, sculptures and more!
Maximum 50 students

Past and Present
Explore, compare and contrast lifestyles of the past and present in this journey through time and place in VMFA’s galleries.
Maximum 50 students

China and Egypt
Explore the fascinating world of ancient Egypt and China!  Examine the importance of writing, art and artifacts used in daily life and beyond!
Maximum 35 students

See related Resource Set!

Greece & Rome
Discover the worlds of the ancient Greeks and Romans and the contributions they have made globally.  Delve into the beginnings of the Olympic Games, daily life, pottery and rich mythology.
Maximum 35 students

See related Resource Set!

West African Kingdoms
Find evidence of power, wealth, family and symbols from several West African cultural groups.  Travel ancient trade routes, discuss natural resources, and see the spectacle of royalty on this tour through our African galleries.
Maximum 35 students

See related Resource Set!

Greece, Rome and Mali!
Cross Continents to explore three ancient and powerful cultures!  Learn how geographical location and environment helped shape ways of life such as trade, culture and politics.
Maximum 50 students

See related Resource Set!

A Taste of the Ancient World

Sample art from the ancient cultures of China, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Mali. Please note, this may only cover one object from each culture due to time limitations.
Maximum 60 students

See related Resource Set!

Very Virginia
Discover Virginia’s rich history through art!  Students will discuss important people, places and things that reflect the significance of the Commonwealth.
Maximum 35 students

Voyage U.S.A.
What does freedom look like?  On this tour students will investigate how American artists have used their work to grapple with issues such as independence, the abolition of slavery, and women’s rights.
Maximum 35 students

Culture Cruise
Get your passports ready for this cruise around the world!  Students will visit North and   South America, Europe, and India.
Maximum 50 students

Student Highlights Tour
Learn about VMFA and its extensive collection of art!  Students will see art that spans over 6000 years of history and represents many different cultures.
Maximum 60 students

The Write Stuff
Turn your thoughts and impressions about works of art into similes, sensory reactions, haikus and cinquains.  It’s all about what YOU think on this poetic journey.

Customize your writing adventure through VMFA’s galleries by focusing on one of the following:

  • Adjectives, similes, and metaphors
  • Sensory reactions
  • Poetry

Grades 6-12, Maximum 30 students

Art History 101 
Students will explore art from ancient to contemporary times in order to expand geographical and international thinking, engage in historical knowledge, and compare and contrast cultural contexts.
Grades 6-12, Maximum 50 students

Reading a Work of Art
We can learn to read a visual image just as we read the printed word.  Using keen observation skills and dynamic discussion students will think critically about works of art with their newly acquired language of art.
Grades 6-12, Maximum 35 students

Sketch It!
No sketching experience?  No problem!  Join this docent-facilitated gallery experience as you examine works of art through sketching exercises.  Through various prompts, students will hone observation skills, generate and communicate ideas, and reflect on what they are seeing.

Teachers, this program lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes (available at 10 am and Noon based on docent and gallery availability).  The success of this experience is based on student participation.  Please prepare your students for sketching and an open dialogue. 

Maximum 30 students

The VMFA Experience

Engage with works of art in a new way in the galleries!  Facilitated by a docent guide, students will participate in a series of activities that will lead to observation, critical thinking, discussion and discovery!  This gallery experience is guided by student reflection, group work, and imagination.

Teachers, this program lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes (available only at 10 am and Noon based on docent and gallery availability).  The success of this experience is largely based on student participation.  Please prepare your students for an open dialogue.

Grades 3-12, Maximum of 30 students


Special Exhibition Tours
To arrange a Student Group Visit for Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China please visit the tab titled “Terracotta”.


Early Childhood Group Visits

Group visits provide young learners with a meaningful introduction to VMFA’s rich environment. Age-appropriate activities and sensory-focused experiences foster an early appreciation for art and self-expression while supporting classroom learning.

2 & 3 year olds: Toddlers will delight in playful music and movement activities, an interactive story, a short gallery walk, and a process-based art project.

4 & 5 year olds: Preschoolers’ natural curiosity and sense of wonder will guide them through an exploratory introduction, an interactive gallery tour, and a hands-on art project.

Tour Info

All Group Visits are $10 per child. A maximum of 24 children and 6 adults can be accommodated. Minimum of 10 children per visit. Scholarships are available based upon need; please contact the Early Childhood Educator for more information.

Each visit lasts 90 minutes and focuses on a theme of your choice – listed below.

Please have 1 adult chaperone for every 5 students (limit of 6 chaperones per group of 24; no additional children or visitors permitted). Tour capacities are based on gallery availability and materials provided.

Day + Time

Mondays, Tuesdays, or Fridays, 10 – 11:30 am
Arrival and departure times are not included. Please plan accordingly.


Please check in at the security desk upon entering the Student Group Entrance and give the total number of students and adults. April Heitchue (or a designated VMFA staff person) will be there to walk your group to the Art Education Center where you will begin the program.

Reservations + Registration

To schedule your preschool’s group visit, please call April Heitchue, Early Childhood Programs Educator, at 804.340.1564 or email, no less than 3 weeks prior to your requested date. Payments of $10 per child are to be made in advance, once reservations have been confirmed. Reservations are subject to availability.

Please have the following information ready:

  • School name, address, and phone number
  • Contact person or teacher’s name, e-mail address, and cell phone number
  • Theme of interest
  • Number of students and ages
  • Date for Request, plus an alternate date(s), if possible


Fees are nonrefundable for cancellations made within 24 hours of your scheduled visit.


Early Childhood Group Visit themes and lessons are designed to accommodate different learning styles, and are based upon Virginia’s Foundation Blocks for Early Learning.

Illuminate and Create
Discover light shining through spaces, materials, and art at VMFA, while exploring science and the elements of art.

1-2-3-4-5 Senses!
Activate all five of your senses as you explore VMFA’s campus and participate in an exploratory studio art project.

Nature’s Palette
Investigate nature’s many colors and textures, view seasonal works of art in the galleries, and use natural materials in a studio art project.

Shapely Sculptures
Make a masterpiece by mixing math with art. Search for shapes in paintings and sculptures, then learn how shapes add up to make a 3D creation.

Early childhood programs are generously supported by Bob and Anna Lou Schaberg.

Guided Tours for College Students

Permanent Collection Tours

All college student tours of VMFA’s permanent collection — guided and self-directed — are FREE. College Groups may arrange a group tour for our permanent galleries based on permanent collection areas such as:

African Art
American Art
Decorative Arts
East Asian or South Asian Art
Or other galleries listed on our gallery map. For a copy of our map click here.

Fees may apply for tours of the museum’s special exhibitions.

Reservations: Request a tour online or by phone 804.340.1575 (Mon–Fri: 8:30 am–4:30 pm) no less than three weeks in advance; tours subject to Docent and gallery availability.

Check out other VMFA College programs.

Request a College Student Group Visit or Tour

Special Exhibition Tours

Coming Soon, please check back.

Self-Directed Student Group Visits

Explore VMFA’s extensive collection on your own!

Permanent Collection Visits for FREE

Students: K12
Available visit times: SatWed, 10 am5 pm; ThuFri, 10 am9 pm

Request a group visit online or by phone at 804.340.1419 (MonFri, 8:30 am4:30 pm) at least two to three weeks in advance to ensure gallery availability. Questions? Email us at

Check out our options for self-directed visits and gallery activities on our NEW Educational Resources website!

Request a Student Group Visit or Tour

Special Exhibition Tours

To arrange a Student Group Visit for Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China please visit the tab titled “Terracotta”.

Guided tour and self-directed visit information for Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China.


Discover the mysteries of ancient China. Featuring more than 120 works – many excavated from the burial site of China’s first emperor – this exhibition includes life-size terracotta figures, arms and armor, bronze vessels, jade ornaments, ceramics, and more that date from 770 BC to the end of the Qin dynasty in 206 BC.



Self-directed Visit Information

Self-directed visits of Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China are available Saturday, November 18, 2017 – Sunday, March 11, 2018).

Group tickets are $10 per student.  A minimum of 10 students is required.  We offer one complimentary chaperone ticket per 10 students; additional chaperones will pay the $16 group rate.  Reservations are subject to ticket availability.

Self-directed tours must be booked at least three weeks in advance and payment is due no later than 14 days prior to the date of your visit.

Please use the Terracotta Self-directed Visit Request Form to reserve tickets for the exhibition.

Terracotta Self-directed Visit Request Form