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Schools & Educators​​​


Programming for the 2020–2021 school year has shifted. Below are SAM's remote learning opportunities for educators to use in their virtual classrooms and professional development through a range of lesson plans, reading lists, and videos.

Art of Empathy Live Virtual Tours

The series is based on the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)’s Core Social Emotional Competencies. The series 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. Each tour is 30-60 minutes in length and scheduling is flexible.

  • 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.

  • Reflections and Contrast: Responding to Imogen Cunningham’s Photography
    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.

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



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.

Educator Resource Guides & Lists »
Support art learning and integration with online resources provided through our Education Resource Center.

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!

Are you a parent or caregiver looking for more live, virtual learning opportunities? Check out our Virtual Family Fun Workshops!

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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Art Goes To School

Capacity limitations prevent us from offering our typical school tours for the 2020–2021 year. You can learn more about opportunities for live virtual tours and other remote learning above.

SAM offers programs, both at the museum’s three sites and in the classroom, 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 1 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 Tours & Art Workshops

Guided Tours & Art Workshops

SAM now offers free tours to all public schools! This initiative deepens SAM's ongoing commitment to equitable art access. We also continue to offer bus subsidies for Title 1 schools. 

SAM’s school tours are image-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. Art workshops give students an opportunity to get creative and work in our art studio alongside professional Teaching Artists.

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. Available at all three SAM sites, all self-guided visit groups must register with the museum in advance.

Art Goes To School

School Programs

Led by SAM Teaching Artists, Art Goes to School engages students in interactive art-making workshops that can be held in conjunction with a museum visit or as a stand-alone creative experience in your classroom. Contact the School Tours Coordinator for requests more than 20 miles away from the museum.

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 in the 2019–2020 school year, please email SAM’s School Tours Coordinator or call 206.654.1383.

Support for K-12 programs during the 2020-2021 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.


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

We are not currently offering our typical programs, described below. Virtual professional development opportunities are listed under Coming Up.

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.

We offer free admission to educators year-round so that you can visit as often as you like! Please bring your school ID, business card, or proof of employment as an educator (teacher, librarian, administrator, professor, out-of-school educator, homeschool teacher, etc.). If you do not have proof of ID, contact us!

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 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.

Teacher In-Service Training

Teacher In-Service Training

SAM offers customized trainings for groups of educators, held either at the museum or off-site. Workshops include topics such as 21st-century skills, art integration, and cultural competency.

Educator Previews

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 Teacher Resource Center

Education Resource Center has been closed as part of our ongoing response to the coronavirus, however you can still access many of our 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 and is now open!

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 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

  • 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.

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 acknowledges that we are on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish and the customary territories of the Suquamish and Muckleshoot Peoples. As a cultural and educational institution, we honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future. We also acknowledge the urban Native peoples from many Nations who call Seattle their home.

Learn more about Equity at SAM