Tours and programs

Contact Rochelle Caruthers at or 314.935.9433 for more details and to schedule a tour or other program.

Class tours

The Museum offers guided, inquiry-based tours of both the current special exhibitions and the permanent collection led by museum educators. Tours are structured to encourage discussion, visual analysis, and cross-disciplinary connections between works of art and university courses in all departments.

Some examples of activities that can be incorporated into a tour:

• Ekphrastic Poetry: After completing a visual analysis of specific works, students participate in a poetry writing exercise.

• Find, Seek, Discuss: After selecting a work of art and writing a short descriptive paragraph about it, students work in pairs discussing and analyzing these descriptions.

• Museum and Cultural Context: Students select a work of art and reflect on the placement of the piece within the Museum. After reviewing the object label and through discussion, students explore how historical events, social and cultural movements, and the artist’s own history are reflected in the work.

• Beyond the Surface: This 60 minute in-depth inquiry-based session examines one work of art and includes but is not limited to reading, writing, sketching, and group discussion exercises.

• Foreign Language: All of the above activities can be adapted for foreign language classes and provide outside-the-box opportunities to strengthen foreign language skills.

Museum hours are 11a to 5p Daily, except Tuesdays. The Museum is open 11a to 8p the first Friday of each month. It is preferable to schedule class visits during open hours, but exceptions can be made with ample notice.

Writing 1

Each semester, the Museum invites all Washington University Writing 1 classes to visit the collection and exhibitions to explore the process of writing about visual art as a cultural text. A guided Writing 1 class visit includes an introduction to the Museum and an inquiry-based analysis of a few key works. The discussion will focus on the formal elements of a work of art—including subject matter, composition, media, color, gesture, and texture—and how an artist uses those elements to create meaning. Students will discuss how to use these visual analysis skills to interpret a work of art, and how to apply those skills to other media, such as film, literary texts, and advertisements.

The Art of Observation

Collaborations between medical schools and art museums have proved successful in increasing students’ ability to look deeper by using interaction with works of art to develop visual analysis skills. This one-hour program reinforces the importance of the art of observation within the practice of medicine and is open to interested medical school educators and their students. Students will thoroughly examine and analyze a selection of artworks in the Museum galleries, form interpretations using visual evidence, hone their observational and descriptive abilities, and improve their verbal and non-verbal communication skills.

Lunch & Learn

Washington University faculty and staff are invited to get to know the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum over lunch. Designed to last about an hour, the Lunch & Learn program begins with lunch (either brown bag or catered through Bon Appetit), during which education staff provide a brief introduction to the Museum, its history and collection. Following lunch, discuss the exhibitions with your colleagues during an interactive, guided tour of the Museum.

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