K–12 Programs

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Plan a field trip

Tours of the Smart Museum are available to all schools. Our staff works in close consultation with teachers to plan these docent-led or self-guided tours, tailoring each visit to ensure that they complement broader classroom lessons.

Learn more about our thematic tours below.

Schedule a visit today

Supporting teachers

Through professional development opportunities, teacher resources, and exhibition guides, the Smart Museum endeavors to equip teachers with the tools they need to make art central to learning.

Free professional development opportunities

The Smart offers free professional development workshops to Chicago area schools interested in integrating aspects of the Museum into their curriculum during the school year. These workshops are for teachers of all disciplines and grade levels and can be scheduled to coordinate with an in-service day either in your school or at the Smart Museum. The content and length of the workshop can be tailored to your school’s needs. Topics generally addressed may include teaching with objects, special exhibition themes, the Smart Museum permanent collection, arts integration, and the smARTkids website.

Space is limited. Please register in advance.

Tuesday, February 18, 5–8 pm
Educator Evening at the Smart
A drop-in session for teachers looking to incorporate museum visits into the classroom. Learn more »

Thursday, March 27, 4:30–7:30 pm
Teacher Workshop: Core Connections
Explore ways to integrate visual and performing arts into the curriculum. Presented in collaboration with Goodman Theater. Learn more »

Thursday, April 24, 5–7 pm
Arts, Agency, and Creativity in the Classroom
An informal art-making session and discussion for teachers. Learn more »

Saturday, May 31, 9:30 am–2:30 pm
Teacher Workshop: Material Culture and Artistic Exchange: From The Silk Road to Slow Dance
Get lesson plan ideas and explore themes of material culture, artistic expression, and cultural exchange during a cross-campus workshop at the Smart and Oriental Institute. Learn more »

Teacher resources

The Smart teams up with K–12 teachers from all disciplines as well as students in the University of Chicago's Urban Teacher Education Program to create lesson plans and thematic tours based off of our collection and exhibitions. Contact us to discuss how to fit a themed tour in to your classroom plans, or to develop a new, customized program for your class.

Browse plans and tours

Have an idea for a cross-disciplinary, arts-integrated lesson plan? Share your plan with us.


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Engaging classrooms

The Smart Museum’s sequential, multi-visit tour programs—Art in Focus for third graders and Smart Explorers for fifth graders—are the cornerstones of our educational initiatives.

Offered to public elementary schools on the South Side of Chicago, these programs are designed to integrate visual art into the classroom and enhance student literacy, critical thinking, observation, and communication skills through museum visits, classroom discussions, online activities, and art making.

Learn more

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Opera Mask

Performing Images
February 13–June 15, 2014

Exhibition showcases the vibrant imagery of Chinese opera, from scroll paintings to popular prints.

Learn more »

Envisioning China

UChicago Arts presents a diverse selection of art, film, music, conversations, and performances connected to the arts and cultural history of China during a five-month festival.

Learn more »

The University of Chicago smARTKids