Brooks Education Department updates tour menu & lesson plans

Guest blog from Kate Renner, Brooks Tours & School Programs Coordinator

The Brooks education team has been hard at work this summer gearing up for another amazing year of school tours. Whether you’re a teacher who’s brought your class many times before, or a teacher scheduling a visit for the first time, here’s the scoop on what’s new this year at the Brooks!

Did you know?

  • Tours at the Brooks scheduled at least two weeks in advance are FREE of charge for all students, teachers, and chaperones.

  • School tours are offered Wed-Fri from September through May. Click here to see availability and reserve your tour.

  • You can apply for a student ticket subsidy that will cover the cost of transportation for your visit through the Tennessee Arts Commission. More information is available here.

  • Teachers always receive free admission to the museum with your school ID.

What’s new?

This year we are excited to present a new and improved The Role of the Artist tour. Building upon the existing subject matter that your class has encountered in years past, we’ve integrated new concepts and activities to make the content even more accessible for your students. This tour guides students in exploring the role of the artist in communities around the world, initiating important conversations relevant to contemporary issues, and different ways that art can spread a message or promote social change. This tour is now available for grades 7-12. Check it out.

If you are a returning teacher, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that our lesson plans have a new look! All of the plans have received a graphic redesign offering a more modern aesthetic. Here at the Brooks, we believe that teachers deserve nice things, too (including lesson plans that are easy on the eyes!). Click here to look through them.

Elizabeth Catlett, American, 1919 - 2012, In Harriet Tubman I Helped Hundreds to Freedom from The Negro Woman, 1946, Linocut, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art; Gift of AutoZone, Inc. 2001.15.1i © Elizabeth Catlett/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

What kinds of tours do we offer?

Guided tour

The museum offers a wide range of PreK-12 tours led by our dedicated team of tour guides (in the museum world, we call our tour guides docents). Each tour is accompanied by a complimentary lesson plan that meets TN state standards and includes pre/post visit classroom activities that can help your students make the most of their museum experience. Our docents attend weekly training sessions for an entire year before they are certified to lead tours at the Brooks; they know their stuff! Rather than focusing on facts and dates, we aim to teach students how to look at art in new and different ways so that they feel comfortable returning to a museum environment on their own. In addition to your docent guided tour, you also have the ability to pair your guided tour with an art-making activity. Availability is limited. Please click here to see dates/times still available for art studios and all other school visits.

Self-guided tour

Self-guided tours are led by classroom teachers, homeschool parents, or community leaders. You may schedule a self-guided tour if you do not wish to have a docent guide your tour or if you have less than 10 students in your group, if guided tours are not available on the day you plan to visit, or if your students will be carrying out an assignment in the galleries. Self-guided tours are available year-round.

How can I help my students prepare for their visit to the Brooks?

We love to have fun, and we want our visitors to consider the museum to be a comfortable space. One of the challenges we face with school groups is keeping the art safe while we have fun in the galleries. Reviewing and discussing the museum rules prior to your visit will truly make a huge impact on how your students experience the museum. Many of our student visitors have never been to an art museum before and are unfamiliar with museum etiquette, teaching children appropriate behavior while maintaining a positive atmosphere is part of the normal routine for school groups. Sometimes you just need a five-second dance party to get the wiggles out!  It is our hope that students take these manners with them when they go to other museums, and visit us again with their families.

For more information, contact us anytime at or 901.544.6215.

Posted by Andria Lisle at 12:24 PM
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