Skip to main content

Dartmouth Home | Search | Index Dartmouth home page

Search this Site

 FaceBook Icon Twitter Icon Instagram Icon TouTube Icon
Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

Subscribe: RSS

School Programs

Hands are raised on a school tour through the galleries.

A middle school teacher and his class in front of the Assyrian reliefs.

Students work together during a school program activity.

"I think that dialogue starts happening with these kids between one museum experience and another . . . If they start thinking of a museum as a big place that can surprise them, and that they need to go back to when there's a different show because they're going to get a completely different energy out of it, I think that becomes a more useful dialogue . . . Once that dialogue beings, then they are placing themselves in the world of art whether they realize it or not."--Local schoolteacher talking about the Hood, published by Randi Korn & Associates, Purpose Evaluation Report, 2008

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 who said, "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.


"Seeing art has helped me understand the world so much better."--Images student

Images is an innovative art education program that provides students with valuable skills for analyzing and interpreting works of art. It increases their understanding 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. is the program, offered for regional elementary school students in grades 4 through 6, brings groups to the museum eight times during the academic year. Each visit includes time in the museum where students 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 learned in the museum. During 2007-8, 367 children from twelve New Hampshire and Vermont schools participated in Images.

Schools participating in the Images program during the 2007-8 school year:
• 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
• Whitefield School, Whitefield, NH


"My experience at ArtStart makes me feel like the artist came back from time. It makes me feel like I can do wonderful art."--ArtStart student

"I think that the most valuable part of all of this is to feel like they can have an opinion and that they have an opinion because they fit into a slightly different place in the whole hierarchy than someone else."--Local schoolteacher talking about the Hood, published by Randi Korn & Associates, Purpose Evaluation Report, 2008

ArtStart is similar to Images in that it is a multiple visit program, but it is designed for students in grades 1 through 3. 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 2007-8, 110 children from four New Hampshire and Vermont schools participated in ArtStart.

Schools participating in ArtStart during the 2007-8 school year:

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

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 their classroom curriculum. These workshops provide an excellent opportunity for teachers to work with colleagues and to increase their comfort level and skills when looking at works of art. Workshops range from two hours to a full day in length and provide teachers with resource materials and contact hours toward professional recertification. In 2007-8, ninety-one teachers and teachers-in-training participated in the following workshops at the museum:

October 12: Learning about America through Art
October 24: Learning to Look I
October 31: Learning to Look II
January 6: Learning to Look I
January 16: Celebrating Abstraction
February 12: Learning to Look II
May 14: Orientation to Black Womanhood

Friendship Fund Award

Many years ago the Friendship Fund was established to enable the museum to recognize a teacher for her or his exemplary use of the Hood as an educational and cultural resource within the school curriculum. This spring we honor Deb Nelson of Lebanon High School in Lebanon, N.H., for her longstanding and innovative use of the museum's collections and exhibitions in her courses. Ms. Nelson teaches both English and social studies and makes use of a wide range of visual art with her students, whom she brings to the museum multiple times a year. She frequently participates in the museum's professional development workshops and works with docents or creates lessons on her own that get students thinking about and discussing important topics through direct engagement with original works of art. The Friendship Fund Award was initiated by an individual associated with the previous membership program (the Friends of Hopkins Center and Hood Museum of Art) who had a strong interest in the wellbeing of students and teachers. The first award was made in 2000. For information on how to make a contribution, contact the Hood Museum of Art Membership Program at (603) 646-2808.

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 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 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 education activities.

Last Updated: 10/16/08