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For Teachers

New Tours for 2011-2012

This fall the Hirshhorn is offering new school-tour workshops for teenagers:

Conservation Tours (Grades 9-12)

How do the materials used by contemporary artists differ from those used by artists in earlier times?  What does a museum do when a work in the collection is made from materials that disintegrate and the artist wants it that way?  

The Conservation Department answers these questions and many more when it opens up its lab to a limited number of high school students this year.  Ideal for students with a strong interest in both science and art, each session will spend an hour and a half focusing on the materials used in modern and contemporary art and the challenges they present to museum professionals.  This tour takes place both in the galleries and behind the scenes in the Hirshhorn Conservation Lab.

ARTLAB+ School Tours (Grades 7-12)

Three-hour workshops that challenge students to work together as they think about works in the Hirshhorn’s collection and interpret them using equipment from the ARTLAB+ Design Studio for Teens:

Introductory Filmmaking:

Each team chooses a work in the collection that seems to challenge teens understanding of the term “art.”  Using ARTLAB+ cameras, teams create and film skits that either affirm or argue a work’s presence in the Museum.  At the end of the workshop, teams present their work to their peers, who then collectively define the meaning of “art.”


Using works in the collection that either literally change or convey ideas of change, teams of students create animated GIFs that depict two or more works changing, colliding, or interacting.  At the end of the workshop, teams present and discuss their creations with their peers.

Innovative Design:

Inspired by works in the collection that incorporate principles of architecture and/or engineering, students will be presented with a design challenge that asks them to focus on the relationship between creativity, innovation, and technology.  They will illustrate a unique design concept, and present the product to their peers who will choose a winning design to live on the ARTLAB+ website.  

Custom Workshops:

If you have your own ideas for a field trip that fits within the workshop framework, let us know!  We look forward to working closely with teachers as we continue to build these programs.  

A limited number of ARTLAB+ School Tours and Conservation Tours will be offered during the 2011-2012 school year.  To register, please fill out our online registration form.  All programs are free.

Ongoing School and Group Tours

Docent-led guided tours of the permanent collection, special exhibitions, and the Sculpture Garden are available upon request. Museum educators can also help teachers plan visits that meet specific curriculum needs. The following specially themed tours for school groups can be arranged through the Education Department. 

Shape and Color (grades K-3):

Discover how artists use shape and color as building blocks for their paintings and sculptures.

Magical Media (grades 4-12):
Explore the wide range of materials artists use to make their work. 

The Story of Modern Art (all ages):
Learn about the changing styles of the art of the twentieth century. 

Modern and Contemporary Sculpture (all ages):
Trace the evolution of sculpture from the late nineteenth century to the present.

To schedule a school group tour, please fill out this form, at least one month in advance.  

For any additional questions or concerns, please contact Amy Homma at (202) 633 – 4005 or HommaA@si.edu on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am – 2pm.

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