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Schools & Educators​​​

EXPAND YOUR CLASSROOM

New! Self-guided school visits at Seattle Art Museum and guided tours at Olympic Sculpture Park are back. See School Programs to learn more.

VISIT SAM

SAM loves educators! We offer free admission to educators year-round so that you can visit as often as you like. Request a Free Educator Pass by emailing educatorprograms@seattleartmuseum.org with your preferred date, time, and location. Remember to bring proof of school affiliation when you arrive. Remind your students and families that SAM is always pay what you will for general admission to the galleries.

FEATURED RESOURCES

Eyes on Asia: Art Education Videos »
Explore art from across the world's largest continent in this series of six videos that focus on diverse objects and provide opportunity for creative response. Led by SAM Educators and local leaders in art education, these videos are aligned with Washington state learning standards in Visual Art and English Language Arts.

Look & Make Lessons »
Find out all about artworks across SAM’s collections in these one-page, age-specific lesson plans. Each activity sheet includes background information about the artwork, questions to inspire closer looking, related media, and an art activity using basic materials. Available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

Collection Highlights »
Search SAM’s collection by culture, artist, and even medium. Not sure where to start? Check out collection highlights.

SAM Blog »
Go behind the scenes, hear directly from artists, read interviews, find art making activities, and get to know the SAM fam when you explore SAM Blog!

RECENT EXHIBITIONS

  • Make your Move Responding to Imogen Cunningham's Retrospective »
    Photography has become a common way that many of us document our everyday lives. With smartphones, this medium has become more accessible than ever. So what can we learn from the work of photographers like Imogen Cunningham who created their work across much of the 20th century and a range of subject matter? In partnership with South End Stories and Mr Santos Creations, this video features students from Baile Dior Studios as they explore the special exhibition Imogen Cunningham: A Retrospective, draw personal connections, and share their own work.

  • Video: Lift Every Voice: Responding to Lawrence's Struggle Series »
    Jacob Lawrence’s iconic series "Struggle: From the History of the American People" retells key moments in this country’s early history and centers the underrepresented contributions of Black Americans, Indigenous Americans, and women. Created in partnership with South End Stories and Mr Santos Creations, this video features insights from Seattle Public School students, past and present.

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SCHOOL PROGRAMS

Art Goes To School

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


Art of Empathy Live Virtual Tours

Self-Guided Visits

Virtual Tours bring the museum to you! SAM educators 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 and tours are free for public schools.

The Art of Empathy series is based on the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)’s Core Social Emotional Competencies. It is intended to be a two-part virtual tour program, or you can choose the tour that best suits your students' interests for a one-off lesson. For grades K-5, it’s recommended that Emotions & Self Management be booked before Relationships & Social Awareness

  • Art of Empathy: Emotions & Self Management
    This tour provides space to enhance your students’ well-being as they practice identifying and reflecting on emotions. Using the framework of Social-Emotional Learning, Museum Educators will virtually lead students through a dynamic presentation that includes drawing, movement, and breathwork activities. Students will engage in open discussion, inquiry, and close looking of high-resolution images of contemporary artworks from SAM’s global collection.

  • Art of Empathy: Relationships & Social Awareness 
    This tour offers a virtual way for your students to focus on social engagement through art. In examining high resolution images of artworks in SAM’s collection created by BIPOC or LGBTQ artists, students will be able to leverage their own voice, hear from others’ perspectives, and develop an understanding of historical and contemporary social issues. Small and full group open discussion promotes inquiry, respectful dialogue, and critical thinking skills.

    Grades K-12, 10-30 youth per tour. Free for public schools, $100 for private schools.

    REQUEST A VIRTUAL TOUR

  • Art of Empathy Educator Resource Guide
    Enhance your curriculum or virtual tour with the Art of Empathy Educator Resource Guide

OLYMPIC SCULPTURE PARK GUIDED TOURS

Self-Guided Visits

SAM’s school tours are object-focused and inquiry-based experiences for K-12 students. Led by trained guides, they encourage students to look closely, share personal perspectives, and build connections to their own lives and learning.

We are excited to announce the return of guided tours at the Olympic Sculpture Park, starting May 2022! Guided Tours are available Monday–Friday from 10:20am–11:40am for classes up to 35 students. Students will spend half their time with a SAM docent, and another half completing a self-guided art activity with teachers and chaperones.

To book your tour, please email schooltours@seattleartmuseum.org with the following information:

  • Your name

  • Email

  • Phone number (must be reachable on the day of your visit)

  • School name

  • Is this a Title I school?

  • Grade(s)

  • Number of students in your class

  • Preferred date or date range (must be at least three weeks from today)

SEATTLE ART MUSEUM Self-Guided Visits

Self-Guided Visits Self-guided visits are for educators who wish to customize their museum experience by leading their own tours through the galleries. All self-guided visit groups must register with the museum in advance.

We are excited to announce the return of self-guided visits at Seattle Art Museum, starting May 2022! Self-Guided Visits are available Wednesday–Friday from 10:20 AM–4:20 PM for classes up to 35 students.

To book your tour, please email schooltours@seattleartmuseum.org with the following information:

  • Your name

  • Email

  • Phone number (must be reachable on the day of your visit)

  • School name

  • Is this a Title I school?

  • Grade(s)

  • Number of students in your class

  • Preferred date or date range (must be at least three weeks from today)

Once your booking is complete, please ask about our self-guided resources for students, including a map with suggested tour stops, questions, and in-gallery activities!

BUS Subsidies

Subsidized School Programs

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 email us.

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.

2019–2020 SCHOOL TOURS & WORKSHOPS

Seattle Art Museum

Families from Around the World
Grades K–2

Artistic Elements
Grades K–4

Artistic Choices
Grades 5–12

Living Histories: Northwest Coast Native American Art
Grades 3–7

Art of Symmetry
Grades K–4

Perspective in Art
Grades 5–12

Olympic Sculpture Park

Drawing from Nature
Grades K–12

Seattle Asian Art Museum

(Tours begin March 2020)

Stories of Asian Art
Grades K–12

Book N​​ow​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Educator Programs

Educator Programs

Educators are at the center of learning and your significant contributions have profound effects on the learning of your students. SAM’s Educator Programs provide teachers with rich opportunities to relate the arts directly to your own lives and the lives of your students.


It has been a while since I really spent time to absorb, interpret, and discuss works of art, and I got so much out of bouncing ideas off of fellow educators. This workshop definitely got me thinking about ways of seeing and guiding that inquiry with students.

Middle School Educator

Educator Workshops & Institutes

Educator Workshops & Institutes

SAM’s virtual and on-site professional development workshops offer K–12 educators and administrators techniques and ideas for integrating popular culture, art, and cultural objects into classroom learning. Educators from all subject areas will gain strategies for connecting with SAM’s global collection, special exhibitions, and contemporary world issues.

All workshops include free resources and Washington State clock hours.

Educator Previews & OPEN HOUSES

Educator Previews

SAM celebrates educators! Join us for live music, curator talks, docent tours, art-making activities, and free resources at these exhibition sneak-peaks.​​​​​​​​​

THE ANN P. WYCKOFF Education RESOURCE CENTER

The Ann P. Wyckoff Teacher Resource Center

The Education Resource Center remains closed. Our Outreach Suitcases will remain on hiatus until further notice. However, you can still access many other resources online.

The Ann P. Wyckoff Education Resource Center (ERC), formerly known as the Teacher Resource Center (TRC), has moved to an expanded space at the Seattle Art Museum.

We'll continue to be a free lending library for educators with robust teaching toolkits and over 4,000 resources related to SAM’s global collections.

Learn More​​

SAM’s EDUCATIONAL COMMUNITY

​​SAM is expanding the role of cultural institutions in K–12 education through advocacy, collaboration, and the development of innovative partnerships and programs. See this work in action and learn how to become a collaborative partner with SAM.

Collaborative Partner Schools

Collaborative Partner Schools

Partner schools receive individualized resources designed to foster curiosity, provide professional development for educators, and expand entry points for the school community to grow and learn together. Partnership opportunities may include curricula and resources, professional development for a teaching team or the entire staff, and field trips to one of our three museum sites.

SAM’s programs and resources focus on inquiry-based observation and art-making and are designed to support K–12 learning across the curriculum. Equity is at the heart of what we do and we provide visual art based lessons that celebrate student voices, while supporting cultural understanding and social justice.

Let us know how we can support you and your students. For information about partnering with SAM, email us.

Seattle Public School District

SAM is committed to partnering with all Seattle Public Schools based on the needs of each school. From subsidized field trips to customized teacher professional development to translation services, SAM strives to be ​accessible for​ all SPS students and families.

Since the 2000s, SAM has partnered with schools around Seattle to develop arts-integrated lessons for teachers across subject areas. From projects focused on racial equity and environmental justice to Shakespeare, SAM has worked with staff and students to provide arts instruction for hundreds of K–12 students.

Recent SPS School Partnerships include

  • John Muir Elementary School

  • Maple Elementary School

  • Roxhill Elementary School

  • Hawthorne Elementary School

  • Beacon Hill International Elementary School

  • Wing Luke Elementary School

  • Orca K-8 School

  • Chief Sealth International High School

The Creative Advantage
Through a citywide partnership led by Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, the Creative Advantage’s goal is to make quality arts education accessible to every student in SPS, with a focus on lower-income communities and communities of color that have been shown to have less access to arts-learning opportunities. SAM is proud to partner with this initiative to provide professional development training and resources for schools and community organizations.

SAM has additionally provided resources, programming, and learning experiences for teachers and students at one of three museum locations and in the classroom through The Creative Advantage Pathways. For more information, visit Creative Advantage Seattle.

Eyes on Asia
Beginning in 2019, SAM created a program for upper elementary students throughout Seattle Public Schools focused on the recently renovated Seattle Asian Art Museum. In collaboration with SPS teacher advisors across different schools, SAM developed a curriculum focused on K–5 Literacy standards, as well as identity development and student voice. Although this program pivoted from in-person programs to videos and online resources in 2020–2022, we hope to reinstate museum visits to the Seattle Asian Art Museum as an annual experience for SPS students across the district. Through this partnership, teachers have received arts-integration professional development, curriculum for pre- and post-visit lessons, art kits, and more. This program is free and includes subsidized bussing for all schools.

Highline School District

SAM is proud to partner with the Highline School District to support student learning across grade levels. From specialized field trips for all second graders to Career Day Exploratory Field Trips, SAM is dedicated to fostering creativity, curiosity, and critical thinking skills for all K-12 students.

Since the 2000s, SAM has partnered with schools throughout Highline to create arts-integrated lessons for teachers across subject areas. Stemming from school partnerships, SAM has expanded to work with the Highline Community to provide multi-lingual resources, free museum passes to all students, families, and staff members, and busses for families to attend community programming at SAM.

Recent HPS School Partnerships include

  • Beverly Park Elementary School

  • Cedarhurst Elementary School

  • Evergreen High School

  • Hazel Valley Elementary School

  • Madrona Elementary School

  • Midway Elementary School

  • Southern Heights Elementary School

  • White Center Heights Elementary School

Drawing from Nature
Beginning in 2016, SAM created an annual program for all second graders throughout the Highline School District to receive an in-depth exploratory arts program. Working with teacher advisors, this program targets the social, emotional, and developmental stages of students while giving them a first-hand experience with art. Teachers receive arts-integration professional development with correlating state and national standards, and strategies to incorporate pre- and post-visit lesson plans into their curriculum. This program is free and includes subsided bussing for all schools.


Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

Learn more about Equity at SAM