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We are limited in the number of tour groups that we can schedule in the galleries at one given time. If you are planning on booking a group tour, we highly recommend booking several months in advance.

The Cincinnati Art Museum’s guided tours are designed to present a rich visual arts experience, increase students’ perception and analytical skills and enrich school curriculum. CAM docents engage students in active looking and discussions by focusing on approximately six to eight works of art during a one-hour tour. The guided tour is planned and developed according to the information you provide the tour coordinator at the time of scheduling.

Tours must be booked a minimum of one month in advance of the tour date. Schools should take into consideration possible time differences. Cincinnati is EST.

Though school tours are free of charge, because tour dates and times do fill up, please do not make final plans for your tour until the tour coordinator has confirmed your reservation via e-mail.

Request a School Tour

Planning a School Tour

Planning Your Visit

Guided tours of the Cincinnati Art Museum are most successful when students have prepared for their visit and arrive with questions, insight and enthusiasm.

Tours are limited to seventy-five people per topic. Please plan to arrive ten minutes before your scheduled tour time, as arriving late will result in a shortened tour. If you need to reschedule, please inform us as soon as possible. Spring is a very busy time for tours, so consider fall and winter tours for ease in scheduling.

All guided tours must be accompanied by at least one adult chaperone for every ten students. Prior to arriving at the museum, please divide into small groups with no more than ten students per group. The number of groups must correspond to the number of Docents listed on your confirmation letter.

To help facilitate interaction between the Docents and students, we ask that you provide name tags for all students participating in your guided tour.

The Rosenthal Education Center is the museum’s interactive space for families to explore together. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to accommodate school groups at this time. For information about additional opportunities for students and teachers contact us at [email protected]

Scheduling Your Visit

Cincinnati Art Museum tours may be scheduled by calling the Tour Coordinator at (513) 639-2975, Monday through Friday, or by submitting an online School Tour Request Form. Tours must be scheduled at least four weeks in advance and are free of charge. The museum’s guidelines and other preparatory materials will be sent to you along with your tour confirmation.

Special Needs

The museum is wheelchair accessible. Tours are also available in French, German, and Spanish. Please indicate when scheduling whether your group has any special needs or requests.

School Tour Topics

Please see the list below for available School Tour Topics. All tours can be modified for the age and grade levels of your students. Also, if you do not see the tour that fits your curricular needs, please let us and we will work with you on new tour ideas and specialized themes.

The Cincinnati Art Museum offers a limited number of free buses annually through the Cincinnati Art Museum Bus for Kids Fund. Established by CAM volunteers in 2005, the goal of the fund is to provide school children free transportation to and from the museum thus giving them the opportunity to visit for guided tours.

Tours can be booked October – May
(NOTE: The Cincinnati Art Museum is closed on Mondays)

How Does it Work?

To qualify, your school must be within the ArtLinks service area, including applicable Northern Kentucky schools.  Your school must have 25% or more of its students qualifying for free or reduced lunch.

The museum will be offering a limited number of free buses for the following guided tours:

  • Guided tours related to language arts and/or math & science curricula. All tours can be modified for the appropriate grade level.
  • Language arts tour topics: Stories and Literature in Art; Myths and Mythology; Symbols and Meaning.
  • Math and science tour topics: Geometry in Art: Shapes, Angles, Lines and More!; Animals in Art; Changes in Nature: Exploring Seasons and Weather.      
  • Social Studies tour topics: World Cultures and Traditions; From Sea to Shining Sea: American History through Art; The Story of Art in Cincinnati; Asian Art; Ancient to Modern: World History through Art.
  • Foreign Language tour topics: Spanish Art.
  • Visual Arts tour topics: The Elements of Art
  • Buses are only available for scheduled tours.

To Schedule a Bus:


Not eligible for the Art Museum Bus for Kids? Free buses for visits to the mueum are also available through ArtLinks’ Art Bus program. Buses are available to schools in the Greater Cincinnati area with a school population of 50 percent or more on the Federal Lunch Program. For more information email [email protected]

School groups must be accompanied by at least one adult chaperone for every ten students. Instructors and chaperones are responsible for students’ behavior at all times, including compliance with all Cincinnati Art Museum regulations. Chaperones are asked to remain with the group at all times, maintain orderly student conduct and assist Docents when needed.

Download the Tour Evaluation Form

Additional Information

  • Buses may drop-off students in front of the museum and park in the parking lot, free of charge.
  • Backpacks, umbrellas, bags and other large items are not permitted in the galleries. Please leave these items on the bus.
  • Coat bins are available for student tour groups.
  • Only pencils are permitted in the permanent exhibitions and no writing utensils are allowed in special exhibitions.
  • The museum does not have facilities for eating packed lunches. Please leave all food on the bus.

Self-guided school tours of the Cincinnati Art Museum can be scheduled by calling the Tour Coordinator at (513) 639-2975.

Teachers are wonderful museum guides! If planning to lead a self-guided tour, schedule the visit at least three weeks in advance by calling the Tour Coordinator. Limited space is available for self-guided groups of fifty or less students. To provide the optimal educational experience, Docent-guided groups will have priority in the galleries. Self-guided groups must follow museum regulations and are responsible for supplying one adult chaperone for every ten students.

Unscheduled self-guided groups will be admitted on a space-available basis. Please schedule your tour to avoid disappointment.

Looking for ideas for your self-guided visit? Download our Teacher & Chaperone Focus Guide to help prepare for your trip!


Dressed to Kill: Japanese Arms & Armor Gallery Guides

Dressed to Kill: Educator Information

Dressed to Kill: ON-SITE

Dressed to Kill: PRE-VISIT

Dressed to Kill: POST-VISIT

Dressed to Kill: Adult Gallery Guide


The CAM staff is also available to help you plan your visit. Contact the Associate Director of School-Based Learning at (513) 639-2974 or [email protected]

School Tour Topics

The wealth of insight and social commentary covered by the Cincinnati Art Museum’s permanent collection, which spans 6,000 years, touches all areas of human history. Study the development of different world cultures through artistic achievements, trace cultural movements around the globe and discover how political and social events have inspired twentieth and twenty-first century artists in America and abroad.

World Cultures and Traditions

Insight into world cultures, from ancient times to the Near East, Africa, Asia and United States are discovered through exploring permanent collection works that indicate diverse artistic traditions. Students will gain a greater understanding of the customs, beliefs and traditions of cultures across the globe. Take a tour that surveys numerous world cultures and traditions or choose to focus on a specific region. Tour suggestions: Ancient Worlds of Egypt, China, Greece, Mesopotamia, Rome, Asian Art and American Art.

*In the future we look forward to having our African art and Native American art collections back on view. We appreciate your patience during our museum renovations.

Suggested Optional Art Cart: Antiquities or Asian Treasure Chest

Families and Children

Throughout history, young children and families have often been the subjects of paintings and sculptures. Whether a seated portrait or a scene of everyday life, works of art from a variety of time periods and cultures featuring families and children are the highlight of this tour.

From Sea to Shining Sea: American History through Art

Looking from America’s sea to shining sea, students investigate the exploration, colonization and creation of the United States. Through close inspection of works in our American and Cincinnati Wing galleries, students discover the story of this great nation.

Ancient to Modern: World History through Art

The world comes alive through the artwork of both ancient and modern cultures. Students learn the traditions and customs of various civilizations by examining objects and artwork. Teachers may choose from an extensive selection of particular historic period: Ancient World, Renaissance, Baroque, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, Twentieth Century Art and Contemporary.

Suggested Optional Art Cart: Antiquities

The Story of Art in Cincinnati

Discover Cincinnati's deeply rooted visual arts traditions by exploring works of art by local artists who have contributed to the Queen City's cultural landscape. Hear their stories and how they passed their experience and knowledge on to younger generations.

Suggested Optional Art Cart: Painting; Sculpture; Ceramics/Furniture


Students evaluate how visual and verbal communication is intertwined by learning about how artists draw inspiration from as well as tell stories. Students will learn to "read" paintings from various cultures by decoding visual symbols, emotions, and expressions. Take an interdisciplinary approach by exploring the artistic significance of mythological, historical, and fictional narratives, and grasp the relationships between literature and art. 

Reading and the Art Museum: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

This tour is based on E.L. Konigsburg’s Newbery Award winning book, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, as we imagine what Claudia and Jamie’s experience would be like if they ran away to the Cincinnati Art Museum. Join them on their journey of exploring six thousand years of art and culture. 

Stories and Literature in Art

Learn about narratives behind works of art on this Stories and Literature in Art tour. This tour examines how artists from ancient times to the present have incorporated storytelling into their masterpieces and have also interpreted prose to visually communicate ideas, perspectives and narratives.

Myths and Mythology

From the ancient world to the modern day, artists have often looked to mythology as a source to incorporate into their art. In this tour, students learn myths and mythology through looking at artwork from various cultures and historical periods.

Symbols and Meaning

Throughout history, artists have utilized symbols to visually communicate and give meaning to their artwork. On this tour, explore the use of symbols in numerous cultures throughout art history. By learning about these significant cultural symbols we can better understand what artists intended to relay to the viewer.


The visual language of art has the ability to transcend communication barriers. Foreign language tours encourage students to experience the art and culture of languages they speak fluently and/or are in the process of learning. Tours can be conducted in English, French, Spanish, or German.

Foreign language tours cannot exceed twenty individuals and must be scheduled at least six weeks in advance. When booking your foreign language tour, please inform the Tour Coordinator of your students’ fluency level.

Looking to incorporate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) into your Cincinnati Art Museum visit? Try one of our math or science tours to discover how the arts connect to all STEM subjects and truly enrich your lesson plans. Examine the ways artists depict depth, space and form on a two-dimensional canvas and how geometry can be found in paintings and sculptures. Learn how scientific discoveries have affected the way artists depict their surrounding world. See images of animals in motion, at rest and in their natural environments. Even discover imaginary creatures! Math or science tours offer endless ways to bring STEM into your museum visit with the added “A” for art, thus creating “STEAM!”

Animals in Art

Animals have been found in artwork throughout history. This tour focuses on the symbolism and various meanings of animals found in various cultures’ art from ancient to contemporary times.

Changes in Nature: Exploring Seasons and Weather

Art has represented nature in a variety of ways over the centuries. From the weather and climate, to the tradition of landscape paintings, to current environmental concerns, this tour examines artists’ responses to their environment throughout history.

Figure It Out: Ratio and Proportion in Art

On this tour students apply concepts of the Golden Ratio, Rule of Thirds, proportions of the body and proportions of the face to works of art in the Cincinnati Art Museum's permanent collection. Practicing the math concepts of estimation, ratio and proportion, students will discover how these mathematical tools are used or manipulated by artists. While this tour focuses on educational standards for 6th and 7th grades, it is flexible and useful for most elementary and middle school grades.

Geometry in Art: Shapes, Angles, Lines and More!

Mathematics has often been reflected in works of art and is only a matter of discovering this interdisciplinary connection. This tour helps students learn the basics of geometry through examining paintings and sculptures. Students explore the basic elements of art: lines, angles, shapes and color, plus much more.


Discover your inner artist! During these interactive tours students develop an understanding of artists’ inspirations, the vocabulary of line, shape, color, texture and space. Students will also learn about the variety of creative materials and tools used to create art, along with the challenges of interpreting and evaluating works of art.

The Elements of Art

Students on this tour learn the basic terminology of visual art. This tour can be adapted for students' age and experience, ranging from beginning to advanced levels of knowledge.

Suggested Optional Art Cart: Painting; Sculpture; or Ceramics/Furniture

How Did They Do That?

How have artists created great works of art throughout time? We will discover the answers to this question as students learn about the process of creating paintings and sculptures through looking at artwork and art-making tools. If you are interested in exploring one particular art medium, try one of our specialized How Did They Do That? Tours: Bronze, Marble/Stone, Plaster/Clay, Wood, Multimedia and Painting.

Suggested Optional Art Cart: Ceramics/Furniture; Painting; or Sculpture 

Sculpture at the Cincinnati Art Museum

Examine the unique media of sculpture. Students will visit several types of three-dimensional artwork in the galleries and also see the tools used by sculptors.

Suggested Optional Art Cart: Sculpture 

Landscapes, Seascapes and More

Escape to places and learn about different climates and explore diverse cultures as we take a looks at landscapes, seascapes and other works of art featuring the natural world from our permanent collection. 

Who’s Looking At You: Portraits at the Cincinnati Art Museum

When looking at a portrait painting, ever wonder who’s looking back at you? On this in-depth tour, explore the practice of portrait painting. Students may even be asked to pose next to their favorite paintings!

Suggested Optional Art Cart: Painting

Through a Child’s Eyes is the Cincinnati Art Museum’s early childhood curriculum that explores ideas of community through a range of viewpoints. The curriculum consists of seven sequential learning units: three for pre-kindergarten and one each for kindergarten, first, second and third grades. Each unit provides a central focus artwork, a focus book and a series of classroom activities that culminate with an art-making experience. To augment in-classroom lessons, teachers may choose to book a Through a Child’s Eyes tour at the museum.


Down on the Farm: Reading, Writing and Roosters

Grade: Pre-K

To Market, To Market: Feasting On Art

Grade: Pre-K

Let’s Celebrate through Dance

Grade: Pre-K

Family First: My Place in the Community

Grade: K

The Natural Community: Investigate and Conserve

Grade: 1

Why Do Communities Live on Water?


The World Celebrates!

Grade: 3


For more information on Through a Child’s Eyes and to access the curriculum materials, visit


Art Carts offer a hands-on way to engage students during their Cincinnati Art Museum experience by including touchable objects that connect the visitor to the art. When scheduling your tour, ask to include an Art Cart for an additional interactive experience. 


Study the seven stages of a painting, based on Frank Duveneck’s Still Life with Watermelon. View and touch tools such as palettes, a variety of brushes and ingredients for making paint.


Explore ceramics and wood carving through an up close investigation of the tools and materials used in these art forms.


Discover the details as well as the tools of the trade used in sculpture and metal working. Students will also learn about various raw materials such as granite, limestone and marble.


Listen to African music, play traditional instruments, feel cloths and textiles as well as look closely at a Chiwara headdress to more fully experience African culture.


View real objects from the ancient world such as amulets from three hundred B.C. or a mummy bead necklace from six hundred B.C. Students will explore a deeper understanding of what life was like during past periods of history. 

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Learn about the ancient art of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, including the various accoutrements necessary to hold a proper ceremony.

Asian Treasure Chest

Using the Asian Treasure Chest, students learn about the four treasures of the artist’s studio; brush, ink, paper (or silk) and an ink-trough.