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School Tour Topics

All tours can be modified for the age and grade levels of your students. Also, don’t see the tour that fits your curricular needs, let us know as we are happy to work with you on new tour ideas and specialized themes.


Social Studies

The wealth of insight and social commentary covered by the Cincinnati Art Museum’s permanent collection, which spans 6,000 years, touches all areas of human history. Study the development of different world cultures through their artistic achievements, trace cultural movements around the globe, and discover how political and social events have inspired twentieth and twenty-first century artists in America and abroad.


World Cultures and Traditions

Insight into the cultures of the world, from ancient times to the Near East, Africa, Asia, and United States are discovered through exploring works in the permanent collection that indicate diverse artistic traditions. Students gain a greater understanding of the customs, beliefs and traditions of cultures across the globe. Take a tour that surveys numerous world cultures and traditions or choose to focus on a specific region. Tour suggestions: Ancient Worlds of Egypt, China, Greece, Mesopotamia, and Rome; Art of Asia, American Art.

*In the future we look forward to having our African art and Native American art collections back on view. Please be patient with us during our museum renovations.

Suggested Optional Art Cart: Antiquities or Asian Treasure Chest


Families and Children

Throughout history young children and families have often been the subjects of paintings and sculptures. Whether a seated portrait or a scene of everyday life, works of art from a variety of time periods and cultures featuring families and children are the highlight of this tour.


From Sea to Shining Sea: American History through Art

Looking from America’s sea to shining sea, students investigate the exploration, colonization, and creation of the United States. Through close inspection of works in our American and Cincinnati Wing galleries, students discover the story of this great nation.


Ancient to Modern: World History through Art

The world comes alive through the artwork of both ancient and modern cultures. Students learn the traditions and customs of various civilizations by examining objects and artwork. Teachers may choose from an extensive selection of particular historic period: Ancient World, Renaissance, Baroque, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, Twentieth Century Art and Contemporary.

Suggested Optional Art Cart: Antiquities


The Story of Art in Cincinnati

Discover the deeply rooted visual arts traditions of Cincinnati by exploring works of art by local artists who have contributed to the cultural landscape of the Queen City. Hear these artists’ stories and how they passed their experience and knowledge on to younger generations.

Suggested Optional Art Cart: Painting; Sculpture; Ceramics/Furniture


Language Arts

Students evaluate how both visual and verbal communication is intertwined by learning about how artists and draw inspiration from as well as tell stories. Learn to "read" paintings from various cultures by decoding visual symbols, emotions, and expressions. Take an interdisciplinary approach by exploring the artistic significance of mythological, historical, and fictional narratives, and grasp the relationships between literature and art.


Reading and the Art Museum: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

This tour is based on E.L. Konigsburg’s Newbery Award winning book, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, as we imagine what Claudia and Jamie’s experience would be like if they ran away to the Cincinnati Art Museum. Join them on their journey of exploring six thousand years of art and culture.


Stories and Literature in Art

Learn about narratives behind works of art on this Stories and Literature in Art tour. This tour examines how artists from ancient times to the present have incorporated storytelling into their masterpieces and have also interpreted prose to visually communicate ideas, perspectives, and narratives.


Myths and Mythology

From the ancient world to the modern day, artists have often looked to mythology as a source to incorporate into their art. In this tour, students learn myths and mythology through looking at artwork from various cultures and historical periods.


Symbols and Meaning

Throughout history, artists have utilized symbols to visually communicate and give meaning to their artwork. On this tour, explore the use of symbols in numerous cultures throughout art history. By learning about these significant cultural symbols we can better understand what artist intended to relay to the viewer.


Foreign Languages

The visual language of art has the ability to transcend communication barriers. These foreign language tours encourage students to experience the art and culture of languages they speak fluently and/or are in the process of learning. Tours can be conducted in either English or one of the following foreign languages: French, Spanish, or German.


Foreign language tours cannot exceed twenty individuals and must be scheduled at least six weeks in advance. When booking your foreign language tour, please inform the Tour Coordinator of your students’ fluency level.


Math and Science

Looking to incorporate STEM (Science, technology, engineering and math) into your art museum visit? Try one of our math or science tours to discover how the arts connect to all STEM subjects and truly enrich your lesson plans. Examine the ways artists depict depth, space and form on a two-dimensional canvas and how geometry can be found in both paintings and sculptures. Learn how scientific discoveries have affected how artists depict their surrounding world. See images of animals in motion, at rest, and in their natural environments. Even discover imaginary creatures! With one of our math or science tours there are endless ways to bring into your museum visit STEM with the added “A” for art, thus creating “STEAM.”


Geometry in Art: Shapes, Angles, Lines and More!

Believe it or not, mathematics has often been reflected in works of art as is just a matter of discovering this interdisciplinary connection. This tour helps students learn the basics of geometry through examining both paintings and sculptures. Students explore the basic elements of works of art: lines, angles and geometric and organic shapes, plus much more.


Animals in Art

Animals have been found in artwork throughout history. This tour focuses on the symbolism and various meanings of animals found various cultures’ art from ancient to contemporary times.


Changes in Nature: Exploring Seasons and Weather

Art has reflected nature in a variety of ways over the centuries. From the weather and climate, to the tradition of landscape paintings, to current environmental concerns, this tour examines artists’ responses to their environment throughout history.


Visual Arts

Discover your inner artist. During these interactive tours, students develop an understanding of artists’ inspirations; vocabulary of line, shape, color, texture, and space; the variety of creative materials and tools; along with the challenges of interpreting and evaluating works of art.


The Elements of Art

Students on this tour learn the basic visual arts terminology. This tour can be adapted for students, ranging from beginning to advanced levels of knowledge.

Suggested Optional Art Cart: Painting; Sculpture; or Ceramics/Furniture


How Did They Do That?

How have artists created great works of art throughout time? We will discover the answers to this question as students learn about the process of creating paintings and sculptures through looking at both artwork and art-making tools. If you are interested in exploring one particular art medium, try one of our specialized How Did They Do That? Tours: Bronze, Marble/Stone, Plaster/Clay, Wood, Multimedia and Painting.

Suggested Optional Art Cart: Ceramics/Furniture; Painting; or Sculpture


Sculpture at the Cincinnati Art Museum

Examine the different media of sculpture. Students not only visit many types of three-dimensional artwork in the galleries, but also see the tools used by sculptors.

Suggested Optional Art Cart: Sculpture


Landscapes, Seascapes and More

Escape to places to learn about different climates and explore diverse cultures as we take a looks at landscapes, seascapes, and other works of art featuring the nature world from our permanent collection.


Who’s Looking At You: Portraits at the Cincinnati Art Museum

When looking at a portrait painting, ever wonder who’s looking back at you? On this in-depth tour, explore the practice of portrait painting. Students may even be asked to pose next to their favorite paintings!

Suggested Optional Art Cart: Painting


Early Childhood Tours: Through a Child’s Eyes

Through a Child’s Eyes is the Cincinnati Art Museum’s early childhood curriculum that explores ideas of community from a range of viewpoints. The curriculum consists of seven sequential learning units: three for pre-kindergarten and one each for kindergarten, first, second, and third grades. Each unit provides a central focus artwork, a focus book and a series of classroom activities that include a culminating art-making experience. To augment in-classroom lessons, teachers may choose to book a Through a Child’s Eyes tour at the Art Museum. Topics include:


Down on the Farm: Reading, Writing and Roosters

Grade: Pre-K


To Market, To Market: Feasting On Art

Grade: Pre-K


Let’s Celebrate through Dance

Grade: Pre-K


Family First: My Place in the Community

Grade: K


The Natural Community: Investigate and Conserve

Grade: 1


Why Do Communities Live on Water?

Grade: 2


The World Celebrates!

Grade: 3


For more information on Through a Child’s Eyes and to access the curriculum materials, visit


Interactive Art Carts

Art Carts offer a hands-on way to engage students during their museum experience as each Art Cart includes touchable objects that connect with genres of art being viewed. When scheduling your tour, ask to include an Art Cart for an additional interactive experience.


Art Cart Topics:



Study the seven stages of a painting, based on Frank Duveneck’s Still Life with Watermelon. View tools such as palettes, various brushes, and ingredients for making paint.



Explore wood carvings and ceramics through an up close investigation of the tools and materials used in both art forms.



Discover the details as well as the tools of the trade of sculpture and metal working. Learning about various raw materials such as: granite, limestone, and marble.



Listen to African music, play traditional instruments, feel cloths and textiles as well as look closely at a Chiwara headdress to more fully experience African culture.



View real objects from the ancient world, such as amulets from three hundred B.C. or a mummy bead necklace from six hundred B.C. to grasp a deeper understanding of what life was like during past periods of history.


Japanese Tea Ceremony

Learn about the ancient art of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, including the various accoutrements necessary to have a proper ceremony.


Asian Treasure Chest

Using the Asian Treasure Chest, students learn about the four treasures of the artist’s studio: brush, ink, paper (or silk), and an ink-trough.