Due to the evolving situation with COVID-19 and our efforts to keep our community as safe as possible, all Amherst College buildings are closed to visitors until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to welcoming you back as soon as we are able.

Photograph of an artist using a roller to spread ink and paint on paper; children and families watch the demonstration.
Local artist Chelvanaya Gabriel leads an art-making workshop at the Mead's Community Day. Fall 2019.

About K–12 Programs

The Mead offers customized gallery experiences of the art on view developed by our museum education staff and/or our Student Museum Educators. All guided tours are free; however, at least two weeks’ advance registration is required via our group visit form. If any students require additional accommodations please let us know in advance, so we can make sure all visitors' needs are included and accounted for.

Use the links below to learn about our K-12 program offerings and read on for more information about our learning approach and values. 

Learning Approach & Values

We Value:

Inquiry, Discussion, and Action

We understand that everyone learns differently, so our tours offer a large range of teaching strategies. We facilitate student-driven conversations around artworks using a combination of Harvard Project Zero’s Visible Thinking and Artful Thinking strategies accompanied by various hands-on and multimodal activities, such as movement, improv, drawing, and writing. The Artful Thinking framework encompasses six thinking dispositions to explore works of art: Questioning & Investigating, Observing & Describing, Comparing & Connecting, Finding Complexity, Exploring Viewpoints, Reasoning. Each disposition uses a Visible Thinking routine, that extends and deepens students’ thinking. Students will develop skills in visual analysis, community building, and risk-taking while having fun!

Trauma-Informed Approach

We want students to connect our conversations around art to current events, histories, personal experiences, and imagined futures. We understand that not everyone has had welcoming experience/s in art museums, so our educators take care to use language that accounts for multiple experiences and encourages students to bring their full selves to the conversation. We expect visiting teachers and students to bring the same attention to care in return. We want to share what we know, but also admit what we don’t know, and most importantly foster a brave space where we listen to and learn from each other.  

 Three to Five Objects on a Tour 

We believe in spending time with objects and doing deeper dives to uncover more! We typically devote ten to fifteen minutes to one artwork, which includes discussion and a short activity. We always aim to include artworks that represent multiple media, such as photography, painting, and sculpture. All objects are selected around a common theme (see available themes).

Building on and connecting with national and state learning standards

Our tour plans supplement and expand on classroom curricula and support:

  • National Core Arts Learning Standards (emphasis on Responding, Connecting)
  • Massachusetts Department of Education Frameworks for Art (2019)
  • English Language Arts and Literacy (2017)