For Schools

The PMA offers educational resources for people of all ages, with everything from school tours to adult tours to cell-phone tours, along with printable guides, lectures, talks, and more. Find out here how you can expand your horizons.

Developing and maintaining an active system of educational programs is a major point of emphasis within the PMA’s mission statement. To that end, the PMA is proud to open its doors to free school tours. With a wide variety of interactive programs for age groups K-12, PMA School Tours blend conversations and inquiry with sketching and writing activities to develop critical thinking and art appreciation. Led by docent educators, the tours are programmed to connect with classroom curriculum and are aligned with the Maine Learning Results.

Free School Tours is made possible by the The AVANGRID Foundation, Inc., Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust, and Unum.

Program for Schools

Please Note: All school tours must be scheduled through Meghan Quigley in the Learning & Interpretation office. Please click here to email or call (207) 775-6148, ext. 3228

Tours are not confirmed until you have received follow-up communication from the Department of Learning and Interpretation. Bus money funds are available through the Maine Arts Commission’s Ticket to Ride program.

1. Choose your date and time.

Guided PMA School Tours are available with three weeks advance notice and can accommodate up to 60 students per tour hour.
Tours are available for all age groups Monday through Friday between Memorial Day and Columbus Day, and Wednesday through Friday from Columbus Day to Memorial Day.
Please note that although the Museum does not open until 11 a.m., we can still accommodate guided school groups at 10 a.m., but no earlier. No unregistered groups can be admitted before 10 a.m.
At least one chaperone for every 10 students is required. We are unable to accommodate more than one adult for every five students.
Please have students arrive wearing nametags.
Unscheduled groups may not be admitted to the museum if their visit conflicts with scheduled groups.
Admission fees are not waived for unscheduled school groups.

2. Choose your theme.

Select a PMA Focus Tour from the list below, request a tour of a special exhibition, or contact the Learning and Interpretation Assistant to customize your tour content.

Let's Face It!
Explore how ideas of self, identity, and community are expressed through painted and sculpted portraits.

A Look Inside the McLellan House
Discover Maine and Portland's past by experiencing the splendor of an 1801 mansion.

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.

3. K-12 Teacher-led Free School Tours

The museum strongly encourages guided tours for K-12 audiences. Students gain more from the museum experience and learn more about art when they are able to interact with docents and their peers.

If you wish to develop and lead your tour, please follow the guidelines above to schedule your visit. 

Teacher-led tours require additional chaperones:
Grades K through 5 = one chaperone for every 5 students
Grades 6 thorough 8 = one chaperone for every 7 students
Grades 9 through 12 = one chaperone for every 10 students
Students on teacher-led tours must stay in their groups with their chaperones.
Pencils are the only writing instruments allowed in the museum galleries.

Follow these guidelines for a successful visit.

Before your visit:

One chaperone for every 10 students is required.

We are unable to accommodate more than one adult for every five students.

Please inform chaperones of their responsibilities before the tour begins and familiarize them with the Museum Rules. Chaperones are required to know their students, keep their groups together, and help maintain discipline. Chaperones should not bring younger children on this visit.

Please note that the museum does not have space for students to eat.

Getting to the PMA:

Allow enough time for travel and parking. Early or late arrivals will disrupt other groups and the museum cannot guarantee extended tours to accommodate late arrivals.

Upon arrival, please stay on the bus, unless otherwise instructed.

Buses may park for free on West Commercial Street.

On your tour:

Please have students arrive wearing nametags.

The Department of Learning and Interpretation Assistant will greet your students on the bus and will review the Museum Rules.

Please divide students into groups of 10 before arriving at the museum. Students will exit the bus in their groups with their chaperones.
Students will leave jackets and any other materials on the bus (including notebooks and pencils). All materials required for the tour activities will be provided by the PMA.

Guided tours last about one hour. Restroom breaks and visits to the PMA Store will impact the length of your guided tour. Additional activities should take place after the guided tour and will require you to schedule extra time and to bring extra chaperones.

The PMA has a Photography Policy. Students are not allowed to take pictures during the guided tour, but may follow the Photography Policy after the guided tour.

Students are welcome in the PMA Store in groups of 10 or fewer when accompanied by a chaperone. Visits to the PMA Store take place after the guided tour is complete.

Please no cell phones during the guided tour.

Encourage students to use their free "Come Back" coupons with their families!

4. Please review the PMA Rules with your students.

The museum's rules are designed to keep the artwork and visitors safe.

Please do not touch! This is the most important rule to remember in the museum. It applies to paintings, frames, sculptures, stands, glass cases, labels, and walls. This is how we preserve art and keep it safe from damage.

Stay back 18 inches or more from the works of art and the walls. This is how we avoid accidental damage to art and people.

Be careful around the balconies. Enjoy the view, but do not jump up or lean on the balconies and do not place anything on the edge that could fall.

Write with a pencil only and use a notebook or clipboard to write on. We will loan clipboards to you.

Walk, don't run, in the museum.

Please speak quietly as sound carries in the museum. This is especially important in the Selma Wolf Black Great Hall when you are entering and leaving the museum.

Do not bring food, drink, candy, gum, or backpacks into the galleries. You may leave your coats and other belongings in the bins provided or in the coatroom.

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.