For Schools


A major point of emphasis within the PMA’s mission statement is to inspire students with the power of art and encourage problem-solving through creativity. To that end, the PMA is proud to open its doors to Free School Tours. Through these one-hour educational experiences for students in grades Pre-K-12, we strive to support the classroom curriculum, while also fostering an appreciation of art. Using authentic works of art spanning from the 19th century through today, Free School Tours encourage important critical-thinking skills through conversation, inquiry, and Visual Thinking Strategies. Tours are led by docent educators and are customizable, so students and teachers can connect classroom curriculum with specific works of art.

Free School Tours is made possible by the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation and Unum.

Free bus transportation is available for Portland Public Schools through Culture Club-Portland and for other Maine schools through Ticket To Ride.

Program for Schools

1. Choose a date and time
·             Monday through Friday between Memorial Day and Columbus Day
·             Tuesday through Friday from Columbus Day to Memorial Day
·             First tour slot is 10 a.m. (although the museum does not open until 11 a.m., we can accommodate guided school groups when closed to the public.)
·             We request three weeks advance scheduling but may be able to accommodate on shorter notice
·             Tours are not confirmed until you have received follow-up communication
·             One-hour tours can accomodate up to 60 students
2. Choose a theme
Select a Focus Tour from below, request a tour of a special exhibition, or contact us to customize your tour content.
Let's Face It!
Explore how ideas of self, identity, and community are expressed through painted and sculpted portraits.
Highlights of the PMA 
Looking for a general, "best of" overview? This tour introduces ways of examining and interpreting artworks from many times, places, and perspectives.
Sculpture All Around
Investigate the materials, techniques, and subjects of three-dimensional and relief sculpture.
Land, Sea, and Sky, and Their Inhabitants
Take a journey through the museum to explore how nature and animals inspire artists.
It's Elemental
Learn how artists use line, shape, color, form, texture, and space to create works of art.
Animal Stories
Designed for our youngest learners, ages 3-4 years, this tour includes a reading of Calico Jungle by Dahlov Ipcar. Children will become familiar with the museum setting, observer, describe, compare and contrast, and use movement and literacy to explore two animal themed artworks. 
3. Communicate with your Chaperones
·             One chaperone for every 10 students is required. Under most circumstances we are unable to accommodate more than one adult for every five students. Exceptions do apply.
·             Inform chaperones of their responsibilities before the tour begins and familiarize them with the Museum Manners. 
4. Plan Transportation Free bus transportation is available for Portland Public Schools through Culture Club-Portland and for other Maine schools through Ticket To Ride.
5. Prepare for your visit
·             Review the confirmation letter emailed to you

·             Review the Museum Manners with your students
·             Divide your students into groups of 10-15 (depending on what your confirmation email says) and assign chaperones to each group
·             Upon arrival, please stay on the bus and you will be greeted by PMA staff
·             Please leave jackets and bags on the bus
·             Students are welcome in the PMA Store in groups of 10 or fewer when accompanied by a chaperone. Visits to the PMA Store should take place after the guided tour is complete.


Unregistered groups will not be admitted to the museum if their visit conflicts with scheduled groups. Admission fees are not waived for unscheduled school groups. Please note that the museum does not have space for students to eat. Early or late arrivals will disrupt other groups and the museum cannot guarantee extended tours to accommodate late arrivals. Buses may park for free on West Commercial Street. The museum strongly encourages docent-led guided tours for K-12 audiences. If you wish to develop and lead your tour, please send an inquiry to the Learning and Interpretation department.

For more information about Free School Tours, contact the Learning and Interpretation department.
(207) 699-4985

Culture Club-Portland

Through the generous support of an individual donor, PMA has come together with the Portland Stage, Portland Symphony Orchestra, and Portland Ovations to create Culture Club-Portland to advance arts education in our city. Through Culture Club, we inspire students by providing regular access to quality arts, building community, and making the arts a consistent part of students’ education. Culture Club-Portland provides students in the Portland Public School District with the opportunity to participate in the museum’s programs every school year.

Through Culture Club, all Portland schools receive free visits, including transportation, to and from the PMA.