SAM offers programs designed to engage students of all ages in deep looking, critical thinking, and creative art making. Through free tours for all public schools and bus subsidies for Title I Schools we aim to ensure that cost is never a barrier to an authentic art experience.
These inspiring, adaptable programs build direct connections between works of art, classroom curriculum, and students’ own experiences and backgrounds.
Thank you so much for a wonderful day! This was truly one of the most organized and age-appropriate fields trips I have ever taken my class on. I hope I can do it again next year.
–Elementary School Teacher
GUIDED SCHOOL TOURS
SAM’s school tours are image-focused and inquiry-based experiences for K–12 students. One portion of the museum visit will be led by trained guides, they encourage students to look closely, share personal perspectives, and build connections to their own lives and learning. Then teachers and chaperones will lead art activities in the galleries to give students an opportunity to get creative and learn together with classmates.
Check out our
How to Visit SAM video before your guided tour!
Seattle Art Museum
Artistic Elements: In this tour, K–3 students explore the basic elements of art—such as line, shape, color, and texture—while looking at global art from SAM’s collection. Through working independently and together, students learn how artists use these elements to communicate narratives, opinions, and lessons with viewers. Artistic Elements involves a guided or self-guided tour alongside an independent art activity in the galleries.
Artistic Choices: What choices are part of an artist’s process? Who decides if an object is art? In this tour, students in grades 5–12 investigate and critique works of art from artists of varying eras and cultures who work with different materials and scales. Contextual information enriches dialogue and deepens students’ personal connections and students reflect on how these techniques and concepts can be applied to their own art-making.
Art of Empathy: Art has the power to elicit empathy! In this tour, K–12 students develop close-looking and observational skills that can be applied to recognizing, labeling, and describing emotions. Students engage with artworks from varying times, cultures, and artists that give insight into communities and experiences outside of their own. This tour involves a guided tour and a self-guided art activity in the galleries.
Olympic Sculpture Park
Seattle Asian Art Museum
School tours will return to the Seattle Asian Art Museum in January 2023.
To learn more about in-gallery art activities led by teachers and chaperones, visit
School Tour Resources.
Please note: we are unable to offer art studio workshops for students during the 2022-23 school year. Teachers and chaperones will be asked to lead a guided art activity in the galleries while the other half of their group completes the docent-led tour.
Self-Guided School Tours
Self-guided visits are for educators who wish to customize their museum experience by leading their own tours through the galleries. Available at all three SAM sites, all self-guided visit groups must register with the museum in advance.
To learn more about self-guided activities students can use in the galleries, visit
School Tour Resources.
SAM wants all students and educators to experience creative learning opportunities, regardless of barriers of transportation. We provide bus subsidies for schools with 40% or more students on free or reduced-price lunch programs. For inquiries regarding bus subsidies, please
We are not able to accept new virtual tour reservations between January-March 2023. All current reservations will be honored. Please check back in April 2023 for more updated booking information.
Virtual Tours bring the museum to you! A SAM Educator will guide students through close looking, discussion, movement, and sketching connected with high resolution images of objects from SAM’s global collection. Each tour is 30-60 minutes and can be implemented in a fully remote setting, or in a classroom with a projector. Scheduling is flexible. Grades K-12, 10-30 youth per tour. Free for public schools, $100 for private schools.
Art of Empathy Virtual Tour
The Art of Empathy series is based on the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)’s Core Social Emotional Competencies. This dynamic presentation will include drawing, breathwork, open discussions, and close-looking of artworks from SAM's global collection.
Enhance your curriculum or virtual tour with the
Art of Empathy Educator Resource Guide
The Seattle Art Museum strives to be accessible for all visitors and provides a variety of support services to assist with your visit. Find more information on Accessibility
email us to request accommodations during your visit.
Support for K-12 programs during the 2021–2022 school year is provided by the BNSF Railway Foundation, the Foster Foundation, the Freeman Foundation, and Nordstrom. Partial, sustained support for SAM’s K-12 programs is provided by an endowment established in 1999 by a National Endowment for the Humanities challenge grant and the generous contributions of matching donors, including the Ann P. Wyckoff Education Endowment. The William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the Seattle Art Museum has supported SAM K–12 programs since 1994.