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, Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor, 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

Beyond Borders: Global Africa

UMMA Workshop for Educators

Saturday, October 27, 2018, 9 a.m.–1:30 p.m. at UMMA

UMS/UMMA Welcome Back Reception for Teachers

More than ever in the era of globalization, ideas traverse geographic, generational, and cultural boundaries, even as national borders seem to be closing. Beyond Borders: Global Africa reflects on this moment by considering how Africa and its artists have been at the center of complex histories of encounter and exchange for centuries. Bringing together a dazzling array of works made in Africa, Europe, and the United States from the nineteenth to twenty-first century, the exhibition demonstrates the international scope and reach of art from Africa and the African diaspora. It also explores issues such as slavery, colonization, migration, racism, and identity at play in the objects and their histories.

This stunning and impactful exhibition offers art, social studies, history, writing teachers and others, an opportunity to explore the complex histories of encounter and exchange that happen over political and geographic borders, across time, and in our personal identities. The workshop will combine a historical look at African colonization and diaspora, the persistent and evolving cultural impact of these events, and how teachers can deploy the big ideas from these issues in diverse classroom situations.

Workshop Sessions

Participants will have a private tour with Laura De Becker, Helmut & Candis Stern Associate Curator of African Art, and breakout sessions with U-M faculty from African and Diaspora studies. Themes that are relevant to any teacher in the twenty-first century such as colonization and diaspora, globalization and cultural exchange, migration and racism, will be covered in presentations and in conversation with faculty. Participants will have the opportunity to share teaching ideas with each other and, as always, we will have light refreshments and include a folder of resources for you and your students.


Featured Faculty

Colin Gunckel, Departments of American Culture; Screen Arts and Cultures; Program in Latina/o Studies. In addition to his research on Latina/o media and art and Latin American cinema, he has an interest in the recent film Black Panther.
Bryan K Roby, Judaic Studies. Prof Roby’s focus is on Middle Eastern and North African Jewish history in the modern era.
Kira Thurman, Germanic Languages and Literatures; History. Prof Thurman studies Europe's historical and contemporary relationship with the black diaspora, among other things.

***Participants may receive another 2 SCECHs if they attend this additional event:

African Art in Museums: Ethical Quandaries

Friday, October 26, 2018, 6 – 8 p.m., UMMA Helmut Stern Auditorium

"Where do you think your ancestors got these?" asks Eric Killmonger in the recent film Black Panther. This free and open to the public panel discussion will address what we can learn from the display of African art objects in Western art museums, diving deep into fraught questions of collecting, display, and repatriation. Facilitated by African Art Historian Ray Silverman, the panel will be composed of luminaries including curators, activists and scholars Nii Quarcoopome (Detroit Institute of Arts), Sylvester Ogbechie (UC Santa Barbara), and Monica Udvardy (University of Kentucky).

Reservations: Please email Grace VanderVliet at
Registration: Advance payment of $30 required
4 to 6 SCECHs available: Please bring a checkbook and your PIC number to cover $10.00 for official transcript fee.
Directions and parking: click here.
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