Teachers and their students may explore the Museum’s exhibitions either with a Museum guide or independently.
Appointments are required of all school groups visiting the Museum.
Tours are based on objects and themes reflected in the museum’s collections and exhibitions.
10:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.
Maximum 40 participants
Discover the National Museum of African Art with us! Bring your students to tour one of our exciting exhibitions and learn about the museum’s unique architecture. We’re underground! Examine objects and ideas through a variety of age-appropriate activities. Our guides use imaginative strategies to help students learn focused looking, and they tailor their tour to the needs of specific themes, grades, and ages. Touchable objects available upon request.
Please choose from our exhibitions, or for further information, visit our website to prepare for your class trip or book a group tour. Tours are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Imagine Form And Function
Learn about design and the form and function of objects in the permanent collection by exploring the exhibition and drawing in the gallery with your students. Drawing materials available upon request.
Six activities for use in the classroom or at home, can be found here.
Museum representatives also travel to classrooms, community groups or senior centers to introduce audiences to African art.
African Art On the Go!
About the Program
Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m. by arrangement
45 minutes–1 hour
Please submit your request at least 3 weeks in advance using the online form at africa.si.edu/education/go.
Museum representatives travel to classrooms, community groups, or senior centers within a 20-mile radius to introduce audiences to a variety of African arts. A hands-on experience, this is an opportunity to learn about the arts through distinct cultural traditions. If requested, docents can also bring replica works of art to your school classroom or community organization. Some program may require an overhead projector and screen. Additional hands-on activities may vary.
Warren Robbins and the Teaching Collection
Founded by Warren M. Robbins, the National Museum of African Art began as a private educational institution in 1964. Its inaugural vision was to promote cross-cultural understanding through its collections and programs.
Since its inception, access to hands-on teaching materials has been an important tool to supplement the mission of this museum. This collection represents the diverse arts of Africa with more than 1,000 objects, acquired through purchase, gifts from private collectors, former Peace Corps members, former and visiting ambassadors, and de-accessions from the permanent collection. Today, the collection features strong holdings in carved masks; hand-woven, stamped, factory-printed, and dyed textiles; musical instruments; woven baskets alongside weaving implements; currency; stools; headrests; jewelry and adornments; and more.
The teaching collection has aspired to be a unique lending library of objects for use by its curatorial, education, and docent teams. The African Art on the Go! program allows us to share this collection with an ever-broader audience and continue Warren Robbins’s enduring educational vision for the museum.
Please select a program from our listing below.
Daily Life and Personal Adornment
Discover how African art is woven into every aspect of social life and its central role in binding together all members of the community.
Kingdoms of Ancient Africa
Hear about the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms in Africa. By exploring the arts of kingdoms like Mali, Benin, Ghana, and others you will develop an appreciation regarding the heritage left behind.
Threads, Textiles, and Technology
Explore how textile artists from throughout the continent create patterns on textiles using various techniques.
Unmasked: What Do Masks Really Reveal?
Learn about the cultural significance of masks and discover the role they play in rituals, ceremonies, rites of passage, and entertainment in societies throughout Africa.
Making a Reservation
- You must submit your request at least 3 weeks in advance using the online form.
- Pre-registration is required for all African Art on the Go! programs. You are not registered until you receive a confirmation of your request from the museum.
- Submitting a form does not guarantee a reservation. Programs are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. (Please note that our programs are especially popular during February, Black History Month.)
- Programs are available 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, year-round.
- Programs are 45 minutes to 1 hour long, and include an interactive discussion featuring images of artworks found in the museum’s collections and a hands-on art activity.
- Any cancellations must be made by email no less than one week prior to your scheduled program.
- All outreach programs are FREE of charge.
- Your group must have a minimum of 15 people and a maximum of 30 people per program.
- Choose an African Art on the Go! theme and day that works best for your group.
- Fill out the form below and email it to us at least 3 weeks in advance using the online form at africa.si.edu/education/go.
- If you are unable to submit the form online, print and fax the form to 202.357.4879 ATTN: Michelle Edwards.
Reserve A Group Tour
Programs are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.
You are not registered until you receive a confirmation of your request from the museum.
Pre-registration is required for all group and school tours. Please make reservations at least three weeks in advance. Our February programs are especially popular during Black History month. All school and groups tours are FREE of charge.
To book a tour, please fill out the form below and send it to us. If your group is planning to visit in less than three weeks, you must complete the self-guided tour request form.