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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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School Programs

A first grade class from Samuel Morey Elementary School with Peter Irniq, first commission of Nunavut (center) and creator of the Inuit Inuksuk for Dartmouth College. Irniq spoke to the children about the Inuksuk’s meaning and growing up in an igloo.

Students enrolled in Images from the Haverhill Cooperative Middle School display the work they created, inspired by art they learned about in the museum.

artstart detail
A class enrolled in ArtStart learns from El Anatsui’s Peak Project.

A local teacher inspects the Panathenaic vase during a workshop.

Students from Woodstock Union High School take a tour of Orozco’s The Epic of American Civilization.

Just as the museum's collections have grown in scope and quality over the past twenty-one years, so too has the museum's outreach to the community. Today, the Hood is widely regarded as a model teaching institution that offers a range of programs unparalleled by most college and university museums and even by many public museums around the country. Outreach programs for regional schools include professional development workshops for teachers, multiple visit gallery/studio classes for elementary school students, and guided tours for visitors of all ages led by the museum's volunteer docents.

The museum's goal in creating these school programs, as well as our wide array of public programming, is to help visitors of all ages develop skills for interpreting the ever-changing and diverse world of art. Our hope is that people will utilize the Hood and other museums as places for lifelong learning where they can reflect on art and its relationship to their lives. When we receive feedback from visitors such as a third grade ArtStart student saying, "I think I will come back soon and show my family all the neat stuff at your museum," an eighth grader commenting after a tour, "It was an honor to be studying these famous paintings and then be able to see one in real life," or a teacher evaluating a program by saying, "This has been one of the best professional development opportunities I've ever participated in," we know that experiences in the Hood have an impact on people's lives.


Images is an innovative art education program that provides students with valuable skills for analyzing and interpreting works of art and increases their understanding and appreciation of the history, customs, beliefs, and artistic traditions of cultures and peoples from around the world and the role of art as a catalyst for discovery, creativity, and expression. It is offered for regional elementary school students in grades 4 through 6 that brings groups to the museum eight times during the academic year. Each visit includes time in the museum where students learn from and discuss original works of art with a professional museum educator. Afterward, in the Peter D. Smith Studio, students complete a hands-on art project that relates to what they looked at and learned in the museum. During 2006-7, 314 children participated in Images from the following twelve New Hampshire and Vermont schools:

Grantham School, Grantham, NH
Hanover Street School, Lebanon, NH
Haverhill Cooperative Middle School, North Haverhill, NH
Indian River Valley School, Canaan, NH
Newton Elementary School, South Strafford, VT
Plainfield Elementary School, Meriden, NH
Samuel Morey Elementary School, Fairlee, VT
Seminary Hill Elementary, West Lebanon, NH
Sharon Elementary, Sharon, VT
Towle Elementary School, Newport, NH
White River School, White River Junction, VT
The Whitefield School, Whitefield, NH

"You helped me understand art better. I no longer just say 'oh that’s cool.' I notice all the little details."--Images student

"They learn that their own ideas about art have value. They learn to look, consider, and look some more. They learn that art is for everyone and relates to the culture and environment and can take many forms."--Images teacher


ArtStart is similar to Images in that it is a multiple visit program, but it is designed for students in grades 1 through 3 and participants visit the museum four times during the year. During each visit, students spend time in the galleries exploring art objects from around the world, and in the studio creating their own works of art. As with Images, each ArtStart lesson is a journey of discovery, reflection, and expression. Guided explorations and interactive teaching in the museum enable students to develop critical-thinking skills for interpreting works of art and relating them to their lives. During 2006–7, 118 children participated in ArtStart from the following four New Hampshire and Vermont schools:

Grantham School, Grantham, NH
Newton Elementary School, South Strafford, VT
Mount Lebanon School, West Lebanon, NH
Westshire Elementary School, West Fairlee, VT

"I love the Hood. I’d like to visit every single day. The art is beautiful there."--ArtStart student

"I think my students gain some perspective on history and geography as well as cultural differences around the world. In the end I would like to think that this helps them to be more open to differences and more excited about experiencing new things. It fosters a sense of curiosity and adventure."--ArtStart teacher

Teachers have commented that many students’ observation skills have improved through participation in these multiple visit programs. They also notice that students are more confident when creating, and they learn to appreciate each other’s artwork and contribute more in class and at the museum.

Teacher Workshops

Each year the museum offers a series of professional development workshops for regional teachers designed to familiarize them with our exhibitions and collections and help them develop links between the art and the classroom curriculum. These workshops provide an excellent opportunity for teachers to increase their comfort level and skills when looking at works of art and to work with colleagues. Workshops range from two hours to a full day in length and provide teachers with resource materials and contact hours toward professional recertification. In 2006-7, 182 teachers and teachers-in training participated in the following workshops at the museum:

October 11: Australian Indigenous Art
October 25: Ancient Assyria
January 23: Art and Sustainability
February 7: Thin Ice: Life in the Arctic
March 7, 28, and May 1: Learning to Look
April 9: Art from the Arctic

School Tours

The Hood offers regional school children the opportunity to learn from great works of art on tours led by volunteer docents. Tours are discussion and activity based and encourage students to make connections between classroom learning and the museum’s collections, exercise their creative and analytical thinking skills, and develop respect for the accomplishments of cultures from around the world. This year 3,122 regional school children participated in tours of the museum's collections, special exhibitions, and the Orozco frescoes located in Baker-Berry Library.


The term docent means "to teach," and the museum's sixteen volunteer educators do just that, providing tours of the museum's collections and special exhibitions and the Orozco frescoes for thousands of visitors each year. They also design and lead ArtVentures and help to staff Family Days and other museum events. Creating effective learning experiences for the museum’s visitors involves an enormous commitment of time, energy, and creativity. The Hood is extremely appreciative of the community members who serve as our volunteer gallery instructors, helping to make the museum a welcoming and accessible place of learning and enjoyment for visitors of all ages.

The Peter D. Smith Studio

The museum is fortunate to have the Peter D. Smith Studio, located in nearby Wilson Hall, allocated for our use. This room, outfitted with two sinks, counters, tables, chairs, and many supply cabinets enables us to offer hands-on studio art projects as part of many of our programs. During 2006-7, the studio was used 209 times for Images, ArtStart, ArtVentures and other children's programs, Teen Workshops, Teacher Workshops, and a range of programs for Dartmouth students. The availability of a studio adds immeasurably to the richness and variety of programming the museum is able to offer its many audiences.

Last Updated: 10/16/07