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Reserved Experiences For Schools

Making a Reservation | Our Approach | Tour Topics

Making a Reservation

  1. Choose an experience and day that works for your group.
  2. Review the Terms and Conditions.
  3. Submit a request at least four weeks in advance using the online form.
    • If you are unable to submit the form online, print and fax it to 202.312.1930.
    • Submitting a form does not guarantee a reservation.
  4. If your group is planning to visit in less than four weeks, complete the request form on the self-guided experiences page.
  5. Plan your visit.


In our tours at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, we aim for students to:
  • Be inspired by works of art
  • Understand commonalities across cultures
  • Appreciate differences between cultures

All tours are highly interactive, incorporating a variety of learning opportunities such as:

  • Close looking
  • Describing
  • Comparing and contrasting
  • Developing questions
  • Making choices
  • Creating visual, written, and/or kinesthetic responses to artworks
  • Engaging with hands-on objects

Tours support the following Common Core/national standards of learning:
Social Studies National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (National Council for the Social Studies)

K–12 themes:
Time, continuity, and change
People, places, and environments
Global connections

Visual Arts National Standards for Arts Education (Consortium of National Arts Education Associations)

K–12 standards:
Using knowledge of structures and functions
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines

English Language Arts English Language Arts Common Core Standards
K–12 strands:
Speaking and listening

*Tours support these standard strands if writing activities are included in the experience.


Visit our educators' resource page for an overview of events, online guides, and print materials.


Sotatsu: Making Waves

60 students
Recommended for grades 4–12
Availability: November 10, 2015 – January 31, 2016
Location: Sackler
Description What can the art of Tawaraya Sōtatsu (active ca. 1600–40), a major figure in Japanese painting and design, tell us about artistic and cultural exchange in Japan in the early seventeenth century? In this interactive tour, students closely examine artworks by Sōtatsu and his followers, discovering the diverse artistic expressions that reflect the complexity of his work. Students explore how the artwork--including fans, albums, hanging scrolls, and paintings--express both overlapping ideas and differing perspectives.) Learn more about this exhibition »

Animals and Nature in Asian Art

60 students
Recommended for grades K–3
Description How do people create art to express their relationship to nature? In this engaging tour—designed for our youngest school visitors—students look closely at flowers, plants, and creatures (both real and imagined!) in Asian art. Students discover ways that artists from across the world express important ideas about the environment. Then, students connect their own knowledge and ideas about the natural world to the artworks they see in the galleries.

Treasures of the Freer

60 students
Recommended for grades 4–12
Description What makes the Freer Gallery of Art—the first art museum of the Smithsonian—unlike any other museum in the world? Students explore the highlights of the Freer collection, examining such treasures as the Peacock Room, Japanese decorative folding screens, the “Freer Canteen” (a magnificent example of Islamic metalwork), and a South Asian sculpture of four scenes from the life of the Buddha. Students will discover the many ways that these world-famous artworks connect across time and culture.

Art across Asia

60 students
Recommended for grades 3–12
Description Recommended for grades 3–12
The creation of art is a universal human endeavor, but what connects artworks across cultures and what sets them apart? Students investigate diverse art objects from across Asia, exploring aesthetic and cultural commonalities and differences. This experience may involve objects from the Islamic World, the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and/or East Asia, and can support learning about the Silk Road.

Writing Brings Art to Life

60 students
Recommended for grades 3–12
Description How can artworks inspire new perspectives and creativity in writing? In this unique tour, students write poetry and prose inspired by works from the Freer and Sackler collection as a way to dig deeper into the world of art. Through writing about and discussing the art, students actively explore where these works connect across time and culture.

The Arts of East Asia (China, Japan, and Korea)

40 students
Recommended for grades 3–12
Description What can the arts of China, Japan, and Korea tell us about artistic and cultural exchange, commonalities, and divergence in East Asia? In this tour, students closely examine artworks from the three nations, discovering the diverse artistic expressions that reflect the complexity of the region. Students explore how the artworks express both overlapping ideas and differing perspectives.

Religious Arts of Asia (Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam)

30 students
Recommended for grades 6–12
Description How are religious beliefs expressed through visual art? Students examine artworks from three major religious traditions that originated in Asia (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam), comparing which elements are shared and which are unique to a particular tradition. Students come away with a clearer understanding of the link between the form and function of the objects in their religious and cultural contexts.

Links to Online Resources by Area

Related information

Self-guided groups

If your group of ten or more plans to visit the galleries on its own, we ask that you register a week in advance using the online form. Space in the galleries is limited, and advance registration for groups helps us avoid crowding.


To request a reservation for an adult or university group, here's what you need to know.


For questions about tours that are not answered here, call 202.633.1012 or e-mail asiatours@si.edu.

Get here quick! The Freer Gallery will close for renovation on January 4, 2016, so we can better present our art and serve our visitors. Check out asia.si.edu/future to learn more and plan your trip.