Learning through the arts reinforces critical academic skills . . . and provides students with the skills to creatively solve problems.
- First Lady Michelle Obama, May 2009
Professional Teacher Development
The National Museum of African Art offers a variety of teacher workshops that can be customized to meet staff development needs and schedules. All workshops can be adapted for local curricula. Workshops include an introduction to African art, hands-on activities, content experts, and lesson plans.
Tours are based on objects and themes reflected in the museum’s collections and exhibitions. Visitors and groups of no more than 15 may request an unscheduled tour at the information desk in the museum’s pavilion, subject to docent availability. These tours may be pre-empted by a selected exhibition tour. Museum representatives also travel to classrooms, community groups or senior centers to introduce audiences to African art. Docent tours are offered Wednesdays at 11 AM, Thursdays at 11 AM and 3 PM, Fridays at 11 AM and Saturdays and Sundays at 11 AM, 1 PM and 3 PM, subject to docent availability.
Stories that take us places!
Maximum 40 participants
Pre K-Middle School
Building community through rich tales, storyteller Diane Macklin animates tales from different regions of the African continent. This dynamic, interactive storytelling experience is seasoned with rhythm, sounds, and movement to ignite the imagination and take the listeners on an exciting journey. A program designed especially for Head Start and Pre K is available upon request.
Africa Book Club
“I wanted to share with you how we used the Africa Book Club passports that you gave to our first graders. . . . [They] served as the foundation of a home-reading initiative. We had great success and we owe you a very big thank you for giving us the idea and the tools to get rolling!”
- John Eaton Elementary School, Washington, D.C.
Africa Book Club is designed to excite reading readiness while it underscores the contributions of diverse populations in an increasingly global world.
- printed “passports” for each student,
- stickers to be awarded upon completion of assigned goals,
- booklist, ideas for activities, and strategies for incorporating recommended books into classroom lesson plans, cross-disciplinary connections, and reading at home with family,
- storytelling podcasts (africa.si.edu/radio_africa/index.html), including The Leopard’s Drum by Jessica Souhami (Francis Lincoln Ltd, 1995) as told by Johnnetta Betsch Cole and
Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermott (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1972) as told by Diane Macklin.
NEW! A book for every student
The teacher of each classroom that successfully completes the ABC activities will receive books to distribute to students so they can start their own home library. A personalized bookplate for each child is included.
Warren Robbins Library
The Warren M. Robbins Library at NMAfA, founded in 1971, is the major resource center in the United States for the research and study of the visual arts of Africa. Its collection of more than 32,000 volumes covers all aspects of African visual arts, including sculpture, painting, printmaking, pottery, textiles, crafts, popular culture, photography, architecture, rock art, and archaeology, and on topics relating to African art, culture and history. It also has small collections of videos, posters, maps, and a significant collection of children’s books, many with the Children’s Africana Book Award emblem.
Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
The Elliot Elisofon Photographic Archives houses the largest public archives devoted exclusively to visual materials on Africa. This unique collection of photographs and other visual material can be researched through digital directories such as the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS). Digital access and requests for reproductions provides educators an opportunity to enhance object-centered learning with cultural context, a vital resource tool to supplement educational programming and tours when facilitating dialog and meaning-making with the museum’s many diverse audiences.
Open 10 a.m.-5:15 p.m.
Our museum store has award-winning children’s books, musical instruments, and other teaching aides to enhance learning in your classroom.
Did You Know?
The National Museum of African Art is 96 percent underground!
EXPLORE the Smithsonian Institution Building (known as the Castle), the architecture of the Quadrangle, and the Enid A. Haupt Garden as part of your field trip experience!
LEARN about the Quad complex that also includes the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the S. Dillon Ripley Center, and the Haupt Garden, which serves as the roof of the African and Asian art museums. The Quadrangle was designed by architect Jean-Paul Carlhian of the firm Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson, and Abbott.