K-12 Resources

UMMA has a long tradition of service to K-12 students and educators of southeastern Michigan. Over 5,000 children visit the museum each year, most in class tours. Young students tour the Museum in small groups and are encouraged to discover their own relationship with the art.

UMMA Docent Tours

Academically enriching and great fun, docent-led tours enable K–12 students to understand art, history, culture, geography, and much more. Tours may also focus on a particular culture such as monuments of China, ceramics in Korea, or American history. Alternatively they may be thematic and address units like neighbors and communities, shapes and colors, friends and family. Explore our new menu of curricular offerings for tours that integrate classroom and gallery learning.

UMMA’s creative and experienced docents will always work with teachers to tailor tours to make them appropriate to the individual classroom curriculum. A docent will contact the classroom teacher to discuss the theme, content, and logistics of the tour.  Docent tours develop observation skills and visual literacy, confidence and critical thinking.

UMMA Docent tours are always free. Tours for school groups are available by request at least three weeks in advance. The Museum can accommodate up to sixty students in one visit.

Request Tour

Subsidies to defray school bus charges are available. Please see Bus Parking and Reimbursement.

UMMA's docent-guided school tours are supported by the Richard and Rosann Noel Fund for Museum Education, Toyota, the Dr. Albert Bennett UMMA Education Fund, and other generous donors.

UMMA Curriculum Based Tours



Shape Up! Colors and Shapes

Social Studies

Family Portraits: Who am I? What is a Family? 

1st Grade


Spring into Art! Weather, Seasons and Art
Art on the Move: The science of Motion Seen in Art

Social Studies

Cooperation Central: Getting Along 

2nd Grade


Art Rocks! You Need Rocks and Minerals to Make Art

Social Studies

My Community, My World: What is a Community? 

3rd Grade


Light it up! Properties of Light and its Cultural Symbolism

Social Studies

History Mysteries: Think like an (Art) Historian 

4th Grade


Material Matters: Properties of Matter are Important to Art

Social Studies

Regions of the United States: Explore Cultural and Geographic Differences


Write for understanding, Look for inspiration 

5th Grade


Science Sleuths: Use art to Practice the Scientific Method


Read A Single Shard, Explore the History and Science of Korean Ceramics

Social Studies

Picturing America: American History and Culture Through Art.
Based on NEH initiative.

All Grades

Teachers may request that writing be used as an activity in any tour but writing and literacy may also be the focus of a tour as in the 4th grade tour above. 

Self-Guided Tours

If you wish to lead a self-guided tour, please review carefully UMMA’s Museum Visit Guidelines before bringing a class to the museum. To ensure the best experience for all gallery visitors, we require that you schedule at least three weeks in advance. 

To best prepare your students for their visit, you may also wish to review what is in the galleries or check out UMMA’s public programs.  

Schedule Self-guided Tour

Red Circle: Designing Japan in Contemporary Posters
A Design Workshop for Teachers

Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 4:30-8 p.m.

Kazumasa Nagai, 'Ueno Zoo,' 1993, silkscreen. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Gift of DNP Foundation for Cultural Promotion, 2017/2.71. © Kazumasa Nagai, 2017In the 1980s, Japan’s strong economy was causing antagonism overseas. In response, three renowned Japanese artists—Ikko Tanaka, Shigeo Fukuda, and Kazumasa Nagai—took on the challenge of changing Japan’s global image through graphic design. These designers fostered creative relationships with the international design community creating lasting impact across geographic boundaries. The exhibition, Red Circle: Designing Japan in Contemporary Posters, features their work, and provides an exciting opportunity for educators to consider the principles of design for their own enrichment and teaching.

Participants will have a private tour of Red Circle with Susan Dine, Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow. They will also be introduced to the magnificently designed installation Cosmogonic Tattoos by the artist, Jim Cogswell, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, UM Stamps School of Art and Design. Finally, we will tie design ideas together with a hands-on exercise taught by Rebecca Cifaldi, with materials provided specifically for this event by Dick Blick.

As always, we will offer delectable light refreshments and send participants home with a head full of ideas and a folder full of resources for teaching.

  • Reservations: please email Grace Vandervliet at 
  • Registration: advance payment of $25 required. 
  • Three SCECHs available: please bring a check to cover $10 for official transcript fee 
  • Directions and parking information available 
  • Questions: please email Pam Reister at

Museum Visitor Guidelines

In order to make the UMMA experience a good one for everyone, we ask leaders of all groups to assure that students follow these guidelines. Please also be sure to share with chaperones.

Planning For Your Group

  • The Museum can accommodate up to sixty students in one visit.
  • Kindergartners may participate in a tour during the second semester of the academic year when they have settled into the routine of schooling.
  • Special needs students are welcome in the Museum and we can best accommodate their visit if you call ahead for any extra support you need.

Number of Chaperones

Elementary-age students must be accompanied by:

  • one adult chaperone per six children for K–2,
  • one per eight children for grades 3–5, and
  • one per ten for older students.

Protecting Works of Art

You will see many great original works of art when you visit the Museum. Please help us to protect them so that other visitors might enjoy them, too.

  • Please do not touch the works of art.
  • If writing, please use pencils in the Museum.
  • Please leave gum, food, and drinks behind—they are not allowed in the galleries.
  • We know there is a lot to see! Please walk rather than run.
  • You do not need to whisper. Visitors should enjoy talking, but not shouting, while in the Museum.

How to Be A Great Chaperone

We hope you enjoy your tour while focusing on your role as a chaperone to facilitate the best possible visit for students. This includes looking after the safety of objects and students. See above for safety of the art and below for hints on how to make the best possible visit.

  • UMMA tours are interactive and we don’t mind waiting for students to think and respond. We encourage chaperones to refrain from having side conversations or interrupting before the students have a chance to respond.
  • Please support the students by staying with your group and turning off cell phones.

A coatroom is available for use. Museum floor plans may help teachers plan routes through the Museum.

Directions to the Museum, Bus Loading, Unload, and Parking

For groups traveling to the Museum by bus, the drop off/pick up location is on South University from the westbound lane just before State Street. Groups may enter the Museum through either of the entrances on State Street.  This map of the immediate area may help you get oriented. Bus parking is available at Briarwood Mall which can be found by driving south on State Street.

Reimbursement Information

We recognize that the need for bus funds is great and in an effort to make our reimbursement dollars go farther we are offering a reimbursement up to the maximum charged by your school district, but not to exceed $100 per bus, per visit for docent led tours. In order to allow as many schools as possible to take advantage of this, we will offer a total reimbursement of $300 per school, per year. Be sure to request bus reimbursement funds when scheduling a docent tour with the Museum of Art. Bus reimbursement is not available for self-guided groups. 
Please follow these easy steps to receive payment.

  1. Be sure to request bus reimbursement funds when scheduling a docent tour with the Museum of Art.
  2. Follow your district’s procedure to schedule a bus as soon as you have made arrangements for a docent tour.
  3. When the tour is completed, submit an invoice from your transportation department along with a letter on your school letterhead to the Museum requesting reimbursement for the trip.
  4. You must include: the school's name and complete address, the teacher's name, the grade level, the date of the planned trip and the school tax ID number.
  5. Your request must be received within three months of the tour date to receive payment.
  6. Send invoice to: 
       Education Department
       The University of Michigan Museum of Art
       525 South State Street
       Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1354
  7. The University will send your school a check in 6 to 8 weeks of receipt of your invoice.

We look forward to seeing you and your class at the Museum of Art.

To schedule a tour or visit please click here. You will find space at the end of the request form to provide additional information about your request or ask questions.

We ask every teacher to review the Museum Visit Guidelines before bringing a class to the museum.You may also wish to get information on special exhibitions or check out UMMA’s public programs prior to your visit. UMMA also offers professional development in the form of teacher workshops several times a year.

K-12 Tours at UMMA

Let our staff work with you to create a custom tour with lasting impact.

"I had chills when I saw these pieces. Integrating arts experiences into the core content areas, and getting off campus to see art really, truly does get into their hearts and minds and enriches their worlds.

Thank you to the docents, for helping to make these experiences possible!"

High School Educator - Ypsilanti, MI