School programs at the Johnson are currently suspended. Please contact Carol Hockett for more information.

The Johnson Museum of Art school program supports student and teacher learning in grades pre-K through 12, emphasizing intellectual and experiential connections with art from diverse cultural traditions, geographic regions, and time periods. Museum sessions link to curricula in art, social studies, language arts, music, science, and math. Students learn about art through active participation in object study, gallery activities, writing, discussion, and studio workshops. Staff works with teachers to insure that museum sessions meet curricular goals and New York State Learning Standards, and effectively engage students with diverse learning styles, abilities, and needs. Class visits develop visual literacy and encourage close looking and critical thinking skills. The Museum also offers programs for teachers, including lectures, special tours, and workshops that focus on specific cultures, artistic movements, and teaching strategies. Enrich your life and the lives of your students by bringing the world of art into your classroom!

Major funding for the Museum’s school programs has been provided by Evalyn Milman, Class of 1960, and Stephen Milman, Class of 1958, MBA 1959, and the Sheila Hearne Endowment.

Tote Bag Tours  

It’s Polite to Stare at These Faces!
Meet a goose girl, a walking man, a fisherman, and other fascinating characters. Handle artists’ tools, listen to mythical tales, and create your own drawings.

Animals in Art
Listen for lions, antelope, snakes, horses, and dragons! Look, imagine, discuss, and draw. Discover the various roles animals play in art from around the world.

Fees: Free if self-guided by teacher/chaperone. $2.50 per student if guided by Museum staff. For Pre-K through Grade 2.

Art Connections and Special Exhibition Tours

We’re happy to customize tours for your class around a theme or exhibition of your choice. We welcome requests for tours that link with all areas of your curriculum.

Fees: Thematic tours are $2.50/student, with workshop $6.50/student. Minimum 10 students. No fee for adult chaperones.

Thematic Tours

These tours are specially designed for students and concentrate on specific artworks in the Museum. Tours last approximately one hour and are organized for groups of 10 to 25 students. Studio activities can be designed by request and expand the program by one hour. We will be happy to work with you to design a program or tour that meets your needs.


• Face to Face
• The Art of Creating Asian Art
• The Art of Creating European Art
• The Medieval World 
• A Walk with Buddha
• Greek Myths
• Plants in Art
• Elements of Design
• Storytelling Across Cultures
• Landscape Across Cultures
• Write to See: Using the Collections as Inspiration for Poetry and Prose

Fees: Thematic tours are $2.50/student, with workshop $6.50/student. Minimum 10 students. No fee for adult chaperones.

Self-Guided Tours

Teachers are welcome to bring classes to the Museum on their own, with adequate chaperones. There is no charge for classes visiting the Museum on their own. However, advance notice is needed to reserve a place in the schedule.


Objects and their Makers: New Insights is a social studies– and art curriculum–based program organized in collaboration with area schools and Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga BOCES. OMNI provides unique opportunities for students to learn about communities around the world by studying the Museum’s collections, exploring a classroom study case, and participating in hands-on activities and workshops. All study cases include a teacher resource notebook, books, audio CDs, DVDs, and gloves for handling objects.

Fees: $125 per classroom per unit. Includes use of classroom study case for four weeks, a one-hour classroom introduction of the unit, and a two-hour visit to the Museum for workshops with artist/instructors and gallery activities (materials included).

Africa: The Dogon of Mali

Meet the fascinating people of Mali, West Africa. The Dogons’ beliefs and traditions maintain strong ties to their past. Classroom study cases contain clothing, games, baskets, musical instruments, jewelry, and masks. The Museum visit features a dance workshop, encounters with contemporary art, and a clay workshop. (Developed for Grade 3.)

China: Then and Now

Journey into China and visit sites both ancient and modern. Classroom study cases include calligraphy brushes, ink, scrolls, silk embroidery, and replicas of tomb figures. The Museum visit presents a Chinese brush-painting workshop and a gallery hunt for bronzes, sculptures, and lacquerware. (Developed for Grade 3 with support from the East Asia Program at Cornell University.)

Pre-Columbian Latin American Art

Experience the complexity of Latin American art through objects from Mexico, Peru, and Ecuador. Classroom cases contain a rich selection of textiles, pottery, musical instruments, weaving implements, and even dried potatoes! The Museum visit includes a weaving or portrait pot workshop and careful object study in the galleries. (Developed for Grade 5 with support from the Latin American Studies Program at Cornell University.)

Native American Art 

Explore the connection between the natural world and art. Traditional and contemporary arts of three diverse Native American cultures—Northeast Woodlands, Northwest Coast, and Southwest Pueblo—are the focus of this unit. Study cases include pottery, baskets, beadwork pieces, masks, and more. The Museum visit includes object studies and a workshop with an artist. (Developed for Grade 7.)

The Arts of Japan

Learn about rich artistic traditions from ancient times to the present, including woodblock printing, papermaking, brush writing, haiku, and the tea ceremony. Study cases include woodblock prints, a tea set, a scroll, folk art, sword fittings, and more. The Museum visit features activities in the galleries and a printmaking workshop. (Developed for Grade 9 with support from the East Asia Program at Cornell University.)

The Arts of Southeast Asia

Discover the mystery and beauty of Southeast Asian cultures through their art. Shadow puppets, devotional sculpture, masks, textiles, ceramics, batik tools, and musical instruments from the gamelan orchestra are included in the study cases. The Museum visit focuses on our collections of sculpture, ceramics, and shadow puppets and features a special session with the Cornell Gamelan Ensemble. (Developed for Grade 9 with support from the Southeast Asia Program at Cornell University.)

The Arts of Tibet

Examine the art of Tibet and learn about the importance art objects have in daily and religious life. Religious objects, traditional paintings, tools for creating sand mandalas, and many more items are included in the study case. The Museum visit includes gallery activities and a workshop with an artist. (Developed for Grades 3, 5, 7, and 9 with support from the East Asia Program at Cornell University.)