Student Group Visits

We are currently experiencing a very high volume of guided tour requests for grades K–12. After such a long hiatus due to COVID, many schools are now looking to book guided tours. If you are interested in a K–12 guided tour, please complete our K–12 Permanent Collection Visit Request Form. Because we are encountering such a large volume of requests, we are processing the request forms in the order received. While we will do our best to accommodate your guided tour request, we may not have gallery or Tour Guide availability. If that is the case, we will recommend booking a Self-directed Visit. We have a wealth of resources available that can help teachers and students plan for a Self-directed Visit. You can find those resources on our Learn page. Currently, we expect it to take 5–7 business days to process a guided tour request. We thank you for your patience and understanding.

If you are interested in purchasing student group tickets for Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art, please complete the K–12 Special Exhibition Request Form.

VMFA opens daily at 10 am and entry is free. We coordinate a range of Student Group Visits based on the audience type: Pre-K Groups, K–12 Groups, and College Groups. For specific information on group visit offerings for each of these audiences, please select the appropriate tab below.

For Early Childhood Programs/Pre-K visit information, please use the Pre-K tab.

For K–12 visit information, please use the K–12 tab.

For College Group tour information, please use the College tab.

The Special Exhibitions tab is for K–12 group visits.

Resources
Visit our online Resource Center where students, educators, and families can find resources for classes, home, museum visits, and more!

Early Childhood Group Visits

Early Childhood group visits provide young learners with a meaningful introduction to VMFA’s rich environment. Age-appropriate activities and sensory-focused experiences foster an early appreciation for art and self-expression while supporting classroom learning.

2 & 3 year olds: Toddlers will delight in playful music and movement activities, an interactive story, a short gallery walk, and a process-based art project.
4 & 5 year olds: Preschoolers’ natural curiosity and sense of wonder will guide them through an exploratory introduction, an interactive gallery tour, and a hands-on art project.


Program Information

  • Early Childhood group visits are available on Monday, Tuesday, or Friday mornings.
  • The 90-minute visit runs from 10–11:30 am. Please arrive 15 minutes early if your group would like to visit the restrooms before the program begins.
  • A minimum of 10 children is required per visit.
  • A maximum of 18 children and 5 adult chaperones can be accommodated. One adult chaperone is required for every 5 students. You must receive approval to go over the 1:5 ratio for adults.
  • The program fee is $10 per child. Adult chaperones are free.
  • Scholarships are available, based upon need and availability. For more information, contact the Early Childhood Educator at 804.340.1564 or earlychildhood@vmfa.museum.

Themes

Each visit is centered on a theme that is designed to engage young learners and accommodate different learning styles.

Illuminate and Create
Discover light shining through spaces, materials, and art at VMFA, while exploring science and the elements of art.

1-2-3-4-5 Senses!
Activate all five of your senses as you explore VMFA’s campus and participate in an exploratory studio art project.

Shapely Sculptures
Make a masterpiece by mixing math with art. Search for shapes in paintings and sculptures, then learn how shapes add up to make a 3D creation.


Reservations

Reservations must be made in advance and are subject to availability. Early Childhood group visit requests must be submitted no less than 3 weeks prior to your requested date.

To schedule an Early Childhood group visit:
Submit an online Early Childhood Group Visit Request or contact the Early Childhood Educator at 804.340.1564 or earlychildhood@vmfa.museum.

Please be ready to provide the following information:

  • School/Childcare Center name, address, and phone number
  • Contact person’s name, email address, and cell phone number
  • Date requested, plus an alternate date(s)
  • Number of students and ages
  • Program theme of interest

Payments

Payment of $10 per child is to be made in advance, once a reservation has been confirmed. Program fees are nonrefundable for cancellations made within 24 hours of your scheduled visit.


Lunch at VMFA

If your group would like to bring bag lunches and eat indoors, a lunchroom is available, on a limited basis, and must be reserved in advance.

Once you have received a confirmation email that your museum visit has been booked, contact Special Events at 804.340.1590 or specialevents@vmfa.museum to reserve the lunchroom. Please note: Early Childhood Programs does not handle lunchroom reservations.

If the lunchroom is not available, please plan on enjoying your bag lunches outdoors in the Sculpture Garden.


Questions?

For additional information, please review the Early Childhood Visit Checklist or contact the Early Childhood Educator at 804.340.1564 or earlychildhood@vmfa.museum.

ONSITE PROGRAMS FOR K–12

Fall 2022–Spring 2023

Booking for K–12 guided tour group offerings begins on Aug 29, 2022, Tours will begin in Sep, 2022 and run through mid-May, 2023. A group is considered to be 10 or more people. All visit requests must be submitted at least three weeks in advance and are based on tour guide and gallery availability.

The Egyptian, Greek, and Roman galleries will be closed Feb–Aug 2023.
Self-directed groups and guided tours will not be allowed in the galleries during that time. This is why some tour offerings listed below show date availability only through January 2023.

K–12 Self-directed Visits—If you plan to bring more than 25 students, please break up into smaller groups of 25 or less and stagger your entry, with each group entering the museum one at a time. Groups should plan to rotate through the galleries.

To submit a visit request, please fill out our K–12 Permanent Collection Visit Request Form.

For questions, please contact us at tourservices@vmfa.museum.


TOUR OFFERINGS:

The Great Outdoors
Artists are keen observers of nature! Safari through ancient to modern galleries and investigate pictorial environments to find many unique plants, animals, birds and insects.
Maximum 45 students and 5 teachers/chaperones

Places and Faces
From past to present, artists have always captured a variety of people and places in their art, both real and imagined. Explore the galleries and discover some of the stories and characters that inspired these works.
Maximum 45 students and 5 teachers/chaperones

China and Egypt (available through Jan 2023)
Explore the fascinating world of ancient Egypt and China! Examine the importance of writing, art and artifacts used in daily life and beyond!
Maximum 30 students and 5 teachers/chaperones

See related Resource Set.

Greece and Rome (available through Jan 2023)
Discover the worlds of the ancient Greeks and Romans and the contributions they have made globally. Delve into the beginnings of the Olympic Games, daily life, pottery and rich mythology.
Maximum 30 students and 5 teachers/chaperones

See related Resource Set.

Greece, Rome and Mali! (available through Jan 2023)
Cross Continents to explore three ancient and powerful cultures! Learn how geographical location and environment helped shape ways of life such as trade, culture and politics.
Maximum 45 students and 5 teachers/chaperones

See related Resource Set.

A Taste of the Ancient World (available through Jan 2023)
Sample art from the ancient cultures of China, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Mali. Please note, this may only cover one object from each culture due to time limitations.
Maximum 60 students and 6 teachers/chaperones

See related Resource Set.

West African Kingdoms
Find evidence of power, wealth, family and symbols from several West African cultural groups. Travel ancient trade routes, discuss natural resources, and see the spectacle of royalty on this tour through our African galleries.
Maximum 30 students and 5 teachers/chaperones

See related Resource Set.

Very Virginia
Discover Virginia’s rich history through art! Students will discuss important people, places and things that reflect the significance of the Commonwealth.
Maximum 30 students and 5 teachers/chaperones

Voyage U.S.A.
What does freedom look like? On this tour students will investigate how American artists have used their work to grapple with issues such as independence, the abolition of slavery, and women’s rights.
Maximum 30 students and 5 teachers/chaperones

Student Highlights Tour
Learn about VMFA and its extensive collection of art! Students will see art that spans over 6000 years of history and represents many different cultures.
Maximum 60 students and 6 teachers/chaperones

Sketch It!
No sketching experience? No problem! Join this facilitated gallery experience as you examine works of art through sketching exercises. Through various prompts, students will hone observation skills, generate and communicate ideas, and reflect on what they are seeing.
Maximum 30 students and 5 teachers/chaperones
NOTE: this program lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes (available at 10 am and noon based on tour guide and gallery availability). The success of this experience is based on student participation. Please prepare your students for sketching and an open dialogue.

The VMFA Experience
Engage with works of art in a new way in the galleries! Facilitated by a tour guide, students will participate in a series of activities that will lead to observation, critical thinking, discussion and discovery! This gallery experience is guided by student reflection, group work, and imagination.
Grades 3-12, Maximum 30 students and 5 teachers/chaperones
NOTE: this program lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes (available at 10 am and noon based on tour guide and gallery availability). The success of this experience is based on student participation. Please prepare your students for sketching and an open dialogue.

Group Visit Guidelines
Please read through these guidelines and share them with your students and chaperones prior to your visit:

  • The lunchroom may be booked in advance, based on availability. There are sanitation protocols in place. Up to 30 people can use the lunchroom at one time. Once you have received a confirmation email that your museum visit has been booked, please contact Special Events at (804) 340-1590 or specialevents@vmfa.museum to check on reserving the lunchroom. If the lunchroom is not available, please plan on having your bag lunches outdoors in the sculpture garden. Tour Services does not book the lunchroom.
  • Bag lunches may also be enjoyed outdoors in the sculpture garden.
  • Visit the Best Café page for information on purchasing food items to eat in the Café.
  • The student coat room is open and items such as backpacks, coats, lunches and umbrellas may be stored in the coat room. The student coatroom is located straight down the hall from the Student Group Entrance, on the right past the Start Space and across from the glass doors of the Education Center studios (follow signage).
  • We require at least 1 adult chaperone per 10 students.

VIRTUAL PROGRAMS FOR GRADES K–12

Thematic Resource Packets (For Grades K–12 & College)

Bring VMFA to your students with these short, thematic online resources. Based on a single, broad theme, these virtual offerings are neatly packaged resources that align with a variety of SOL objectives. By inviting students to observe & discuss specific objects in the collection, these resources encourage creative and critical thinking.

  • Leadership—What does leadership look like? What does it mean to be a leader? In this resource, students will explore various objects from different world cultures in the VMFA collection that deal with this important theme. Through examining different portrayals of leadership, students will make observations, articulate what they see, and learn from different perspectives.
  • Portraits—What is a portrait and what can it communicate? Can they tell us about the person depicted and the society they came from? Can a portrait show someone’s personality or values? By examining many different portraits throughout the museum’s collection, students will use visual analysis to describe a portrait and make connections between personal experiences and a work of art.
  • Economics—What can art tell us about the economy? By exploring scenes featuring themes of goods & services, consumption, natural & capital resources, labor, poverty, wealth and more, students will develop thinking skills that include analyzing real-life situations, economic reasoning, decision making and problem-solving.
  • Optional “Add-on”
    Book an Educator Q & A!—Interested in having your students’ questions answered by a VMFA Educator as a component of the resource? After reviewing the resource with your students, questions may be submitted in advance to be answered by recorded video response. To book an Educator Q & A, please submit five or fewer questions specific to a particular resource to tourservices@vmfa.museum. When you submit your questions, please include the following information in the body of your email:

Contact name:
School:
Name of resource:
Grade level(s) of students:
Number of students to view Q & A video:
Five (or fewer) questions:

It will take two weeks (10–12 business days) for us to process your request, record the response, and provide you with a link to the video.


For grades 3 and up: Give your students the opportunity to exercise their creative and critical thinking skills with a real-time, deep-dive into a single object. Book a session with our Distance Learning Team!

Core Subject Unit Resource Packets (Recommended for Grades 3–12)

Explore a topic in-depth with these well-rounded units that include min-inquiry and object exploration activities for students. Units will include a thorough introduction to each subject, a vocabulary list, video modules, guided-looking modules and object exploration.

Optional “Add-on”
Book an Educator Q&A!—Interested in having your students’ questions answered by a VMFA Educator as a component of the resource? After reviewing the resource with your students, questions may be submitted in advance to be answered by recorded video response. To book an Educator Q&A, please submit five or fewer questions specific to a particular resource to tourservices@vmfa.museum. When you submit your questions, please include the following information in the body of your email:

Contact name:
School:
Name of resource:
Grade level(s) of students:
Number of students to view Q & A video:
Five (or fewer) questions:

It will take two weeks (10–12 business days) for us to process your request, record the response, and provide you with a link to the video.

ONSITE PROGRAMS FOR COLLEGE

Permanent Collection: Self-Directed Visit

All permanent collection self-directed visit requests need to be submitted to tourservices@vmfa.museum at least 3 weeks in advance. Please see below for our self-directed visit Guidelines.

To submit a visit request, please fill out our College Group Request Form.

Self-Directed Group Visit Guidelines

  • No bag lunches will be allowed inside the Museum. You are welcome to enjoy bag lunches outdoors in the sculpture garden. Social distancing is required on Museum grounds.
  • Visit the Best Café page for information on purchasing food items to eat in the Café.
  • No bag lunches will be allowed inside the Museum. You are welcome to enjoy bag lunches outdoors in the sculpture garden. Social distancing is required on Museum grounds.
  • Visit the Best Café page for information on purchasing food items to eat in the Café.
  • Click here to view our VMFA policies. Please review the policies prior to booking your visit.

VIRTUAL PROGRAMS FOR COLLEGE

Thematic Resource Packets (For Grades -12 & College)

Bring VMFA to your students with these short, thematic online resources. Based on a single, broad theme, these virtual offerings are neatly packaged resources that align with a variety of SOL objectives. By inviting students to observe & discuss specific objects in the collection, these resources encourage creative and critical thinking.

  • Leadership – What does leadership look like? What does it mean to be a leader? In this resource, students will explore various objects from different world cultures in the VMFA collection that deal with this important theme. Through examining different portrayals of leadership, students will make observations, articulate what they see, and learn from different perspectives.
  • Portraits – What is a portrait and what can it communicate? Can they tell us about the person depicted and the society they came from? Can a portrait show someone’s personality or values? By examining many different portraits throughout the museum’s collection, students will use visual analysis to describe a portrait and make connections between personal experiences and a work of art.
  • Economics – What can art tell us about the economy? By exploring scenes featuring themes of goods & services, consumption, natural & capital resources, labor, poverty, wealth and more, students will develop thinking skills that include analyzing real-life situations, economic reasoning, decision making and problem-solving.
  • Optional “Add-on”
    Book an Educator Q & A! – Interested in having your students’ questions answered by a VMFA Educator as a component of the resource? After reviewing the resource with your students, questions may be submitted in advance to be answered by recorded video response. To book an Educator Q & A, please submit five or fewer questions specific to a particular resource to tourservices@vmfa.museum. When you submit your questions, please include the following information in the body of your email:

    Contact name:
    School
    Name of resource
    Grade level(s) of students
    Number of students to view Q & A video
    Five (or fewer) questions

It will take two weeks (10 business days) for us to process your request, record the response, and provide you with a link to the video.

To submit a special exhibition request, please submit a K–12 Special Exhibition Visit Request Form.

Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art

October 8, 2022–March 19, 2023

Self-directed Visit Ticket Information

Free for museum members. Non-member student tickets are $10 each. We offer 1 complimentary chaperone ticket per 10 students. Additional chaperone tickets are $12 each. Ticket times are every 30 minutes and the maximum group size per time slot is 25. If your group is larger than 25, you will be booked at more than one ticket time. Payment for tickets is required 14 days in advance of your visit. Tickets are subject to availability. For more information, please contact Tour Services at tourservices@vmfa.museum.

Guided Tour Ticket Information

Free for museum members. Guided tours begin on October 22, 2022. A maximum of 2 guides with 15 visitors per guide can be booked for a tour. Tours are available at 10 am, 11 am, and noon, daily, excluding Mondays and holidays, and are subject to guide and ticket availability. Later times may be available, depending on tour guide availability. Non-member student tickets are $10 each. We offer 1 complimentary chaperone ticket per 10 students. Additional chaperone tickets are $12 each. Payment for tickets is required 14 days in advance of your visit. For more information, please contact Tour Services at tourservices@vmfa.museum.

VMFA Student Memberships

If any of your students have VMFA student memberships, please provide us with a list of student names and membership numbers. This information can be sent via email to tourservices@vmfa.museum after submitting your request. We can then update your invoice accordingly.

For information about purchasing VMFA student memberships, please visit the membership page and select the Students tab.

You can also contact the Membership Department directly at membership@vmfa.museum, or (804) 340-1420.

* Tour Services does not handle student membership requests.