Tour Options

Student Programs 2012-2013

Tour Options for Student Visits at PEM

Choose from one of the following tour options or contact us to arrange a customized program. We can tailor your visit to meet your learning goals and your students’ needs. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch! All tours are designed to support students’ acquisition of 21st Century Skills and align with the Common Core and Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.

To schedule a guided tour or self-guided student visit, use our reservation form. Note: Self-guided visits are only available for students in grades 6 and above. Teachers booking self-guided groups must review their plan for the visit with PEM staff.
To discuss a customized tour, contact teacherprograms@pem.org or call (978) 542-1698.
To learn about teacher workshops and resources, click here.

We recommend visiting the museum before your class trip. New England educators are always granted free admission to PEM! Just show your ID. Other educators planning to bring students to the museum can contact teacherprograms@pem.org to arrange a free visit.

Asian Art and Culture
American Art and Culture
English Language Arts
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
Visual Arts

 

Asian Art and Culture

 

Yin Yu Tang, A Chinese House
Recommended for Grades K-12

Yin Yu Tang InteriorStudents have the unique opportunity to explore a traditional Chinese home in the United States. Built late in the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) in a rural village in China’s Anhui Province, this residence was home to the Huang family for more than 200 years. It was moved piece by piece and re-erected at the Peabody Essex Museum over a seven-year period. Whether your students are studying art motifs, Chinese culture or world history, this program is certain to be a unique and exciting educational experience.

Grades K-5 explore the everyday life of a Chinese family living in rural China for the last 200 years by examining household objects, architecture and decorative art.

Grades 6-12 explore the architecture and symbolic decorative elements of a traditional Chinese home and how the impact of economic and political upheavals in China over the last century affected Yin Yu Tang and led to its relocation to the Peabody Essex Museum.

Students can preview the house online. When you book a school visit to Yin Yu Tang, you will receive a DVD to preview in your classroom.

Tours of Yin Yu Tang can be paired with a number of other program options. For groups visiting for just one hour, one half of the group examines the everyday life of the Chinese merchant's family in Yin Yu Tang, while the other half explores celebration in Chinese art in the exhibition Double Happiness: Celebration in Chinese Art.

A Two Merchants' Homes tour is also available. Compare and contrast Yin Yu Tang and the Gardner-Pingree House – two homes built for merchants 200 years ago and thousands of miles apart. Students consider why the houses look the way they do and what that tells us about their inhabitants and the times and places in which they lived.

Time: one hour | 50 students maximum

Related Standards

Massachusetts Visual Arts Standards
Grades 2–4 Standards 6.1
Grades 5–8 Standards 6.3, 6.4
Grades 9–12 Standards 6.5, 6.6, 6.7, 6.8, 7.7, 7.10

Massachusetts English Language Arts Standards
Grade K–2 Standards 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2
Grades 3–4 Standards 1.1, 1.2

Massachusetts History and Social Science Standards
Grade 2 Standards 2,1, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9
Grade 4 Standards 4.1, 4.2, 4.7
Grades 8–12 Standards WHI.23, WHI.24, WHII.13, WHII.32, WHII.33, WHII.34

 

Exploring Asian Art
Recommended for Grades K-8

Jan Ken PoWhat are some of the important ideas, symbols and designs in art made in China, Japan and India? Students closely examine paintings, sculptures, photographs and objects from everyday life and work collaboratively in gallery activities to gain a deeper understanding of artwork from these countries. The tour includes stops in Double Happiness: Celebration in Chinese Art, Figuring the Abstract in Indian Art, the Japanese Art Gallery and the photography exhibition Toshio Shibata, Constructed Landscapes. See below or pem.org/exhibitions for more. Ninety-minute tours may also include a stop in the Chinese export art galleries or an art activity.

For curriculum materials related to Chinese and Japanese art, please click here.

Time: One hour to 90 minutes | 60 students maximum

Related Standards

Massachusetts Visual Arts Standards
Grades K–4 Standards 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 6.1
Grades 5–8 Standards 2.7, 2.8, 2.9, 2.10, 5.5, 5.6, 6.3, 6.4

Massachusetts English Language Arts Standards
Grades K–2 Standards 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2
Grades 3–4 Standards 1.1, 1.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5
Grades 5–8 Standard 1.3

Massachusetts History and Social Science Standards
Grade 4 Standards 4.3, 4.7

Massachusetts Mathematics Standards
Grades 1–2 Standard 2.G.2
Grades 3–4 Standards 4.G.8, 4.G.9

 

American Art and Culture

 

Life in the 17th Century
Recommended for Grades 3-8

John Ward HouseStudents focus on the daily life of a family living in 17th-century Salem through the examination of everyday objects and architecture, and make connections between decorative features in the John Ward House, built in 1684, and objects in the museum’s American art galleries. Students also learn to relate past and present through comparisons with their own domestic environment and furnishings.

Time: one hour

Related Standards

Massachusetts Visual Arts Standards
Grades K–4 Standard 6.1
Grades 5–8 Standards 6.3, 6.4

Massachusetts English Language Arts Standards
Grades K–2 Standards 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1,
Grades 3–4 Standards 1.1, 1.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5

Massachusetts History and Social Science Standards
Grade 3 Standards 3.5, 3.9, 3.12

 

At Home in Salem: 1785-1820
Recommended for Grades 3-8

Gardner Pingree HouseStudents envision what it might be like to live in a historic Salem family through guided tours of the Crowninshield–Bentley House, built in 1727 but restored to reflect 1794, and the Gardner-Pingree House, built in 1805. Through careful analysis of American portraits, landscapes and sculptures in the museum’s American Art galleries, students develop an understanding of the conditions of daily life during the height of Salem’s prosperity, identify with people of the past and learn how art and culture reveal clues about the early American Republic.

Time: one hour

Related Standards

Massachusetts Visual Arts Standards
Grades K–4 Standard 6.1
Grades 5–8 Standards 6.3, 6.4, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4

Massachusetts English Language Arts Standards
Grades K–2 Standards 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2
Grades 3–4 Standards 1.1, 1.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5

Massachusetts History and Social Science Standards
Grade 3 Standards 3.9, 3.12
Grade 5 Standards 5.10, 5.11, 5.33

 

The Global Trade
Recommended for Grades 5-8

Attention: Massachusetts fifth-grade teachers! This program is especially recommended for your students.

Moon BedAfter the Revolution, America’s international trade flourished. Salem’s seafarers competed to reach Asia in pursuit of tea, silk, spices and porcelain and other fine goods craved by the citizens of a fast-growing nation. Along the way they stopped in the Pacific Northwest to acquire furs to sell in China. Students trace the trade routes plied by Yankee ships from Salem to China, and learn about trade, world geography, art and culture. They also learn how the exchange of goods and ideas began a dialogue between nations that to this day mutually influences their economies, cultures and people.

This tour features PEM's maritime art galleries, Chinese Export galleries, FreePort [No. 005]: Michael Lin – a contemporary installation that animates the history of trade between China and the West and explores artistic production in the past and present, and the new installation Raven's Many Gifts: Native Art of the Northwest Coast.

See below for more information on this FreePort project and for links to videos featuring artist interviews and related interactives.

Time: one hour to 90 minutes

Related Standards

Massachusetts Visual Arts Standards
Grades 5–8 Standards 6.3, 6.4, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4

Massachusetts English Language Arts Standards
Grades 5–8 Standard 1.3

Massachusetts History and Social Science Standards
Grade 5 Standards 5.10, 5.11, 5.15, 5.33
Grade 8 Standards WHI.24, WHII.13

 

English Language Arts

 

Artful Tales
Recommended for Grades K-5

Mrs. WaldoStudents take on the role of detective, artist and author in this interactive exploration of the elements of story writing. Using open-ended questions, sketching and vocabulary activities, students discover how art reveals stories about people, places and time periods. Group storytelling and self-directed learning are included in this tour. This tour can be adapted to feature a variety of exhibitions and galleries.

Time: one hour

Related Standards

Massachusetts Visual Arts Standards
Grades K–4 Standards 5.2, 6.1
Grade 5 Standard 6.3

Massachusetts English Language Arts Standards
Grades PreK–2 Standards 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 8.1, 8.6, 8.7, 15.1, 19.1, 19.5
Grades 3–4 Standards 1.1, 1.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 8.11, 8.12, 15.2
Grade 5 Standards 1.3, 3.8, 8.11, 8.12, 8.19

 

Images and Words: Writing in the Museum
Recommended for Grades 6-12

Southern CrossLink visual and verbal literacy as well as creative expression in this activity-based investigation of artworks from around the world. In this gallery tour, students sharpen critical-thinking skills by creating poems and narratives in response to critical analysis and observation of captivating works of art. This tour can be adapted to feature a variety of exhibitions and galleries, such as Figuring the Abstract in Indian Art and Toshio Shibata, Constructed Landscapes.

Time: one hour

Related Standards

Massachusetts Visual Arts Standards
Grades 6–8 Standards 6.3, 19.15, 19.20
Grades 9–12 Standard 19.25

Massachusetts English Language Arts Standards
Grades 5–8 Standards 1.3, 3.8, 5.9, 5.10, 5.11, 5.12, 5.15, 6.4, 6.5, 14.3, 19.15
Grades 9–10 Standards 3.14, 4.23, 14.5

 

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

 

Building Blocks: Math in Art
Recommended for Grades K-2

Shapes in ArtStudents explore the basic concepts of shape, pattern, and measurement through close looking at art from across PEM's collection. Through hands-on discovery, group discussion, and art-making, students will gain a better understanding of how visual art and math use many of the same building blocks. The tour features a range of artwork, from landscapes and portraits to sculptures and decorative arts.

Time: one hour

Related Standards

Common Core Math Standards
Grade K: Standards K.G3, K.MD1-3
Grade 1: Standards 1.G1, 1.MD2
Grade 2: Standards 2.G1, 2.MD1-4

Massachusetts Visual Arts Standards
Grades K-2 Standards 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, 5.1, 5.3, 10.1

 

Natural Engineers:
a STEAM* tour featuring Beyond Human: Artist–Animal Collaborations and the Art & Nature Center
Recommended for Grades 4-8 | Through September 7, 2014

Shapes in ArtRediscover birds' nests, beehives, whale sounds and ivory tusks in this tour integrating art and engineering. Through hands-on activities and discussion, students explore how the natural environment and animals provide inspiration and solutions to the challenges facing artists, designers and architects. Students also consider the skills and processes shared by engineers and artists. This tour includes stops in the exhibition Beyond Human: Artist-Animal Collaborations, the Art & Nature Center, and the Chinese Export Art Gallery.

Time: one hour | 40 students maximum, unless paired with another program

Related Standards

Connections to English Language Arts Common Core State Standards
Literacy (Grades 4-6): Speaking & Listening SL.4.1, 6.2; Reading Informational Texts RI.4.1, 5.3, 6.7
Science & Technical Subjects (Grades 6-8): Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: RST.6-8.7, 6-8.8, 6-8.9

Connections to Massachusetts Technology and Engineering Standards
Grades 3-5: Materials and Tools 1.1, Engineering Design 2.4

Connections to Massachusetts Visual Arts Standards
Grades 4-8: Methods, Materials, and Techniques 1.2; Elements and Principles of Design 2.4; Observation, Abstraction, Invention, and Expression 3.7; Critical Response 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6; Inventions, Technologies and the Arts 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4; Interdisciplinary Connections: 10.1, 10.2

*Interested in working with the museum on developing STEAM (STEM + Art) programming for students and teachers? Contact teacherprograms@pem.org.

 

Visual Arts

 

Creative Expression: Artists, Inspiration, Materials
Recommended for Grades 2-12 and University

Mega Mega PlanetWhat inspires art making? What choices do artists make? How do artists create connections to the larger global community? Can looking at art change the way you perceive the world?

These questions and others are addressed as students explore a variety of art forms, materials and techniques used by artists as a means for creative expression. Guided through a multidisciplinary approach, students sharpen their visual perception and critical thinking skills while experiencing art through a variety of perspectives. Focused on building 21st-century skills and exploring contemporary art on view in the museum, the tour features changing exhibitions and favorites from the PEM collection. This customizable tour can highlight sculptures in the galleries such as Josh Simpson's Mega Mega Planet and Deborah Butterfield's Willy, as well as photographs from the exhibition Toshio Shibata, Constructed Landscapes and selections from special exhibitions.

Time: 90 minutes with art activity

 

Turner & the Sea
Recommended for Grades 2-12 and University | On view May 31-September 1, 2014

Turner & the SeaDramatic, contemplative, dangerous and beautiful, the sea was a perfect subject to showcase the talents of J.M.W. Turner, Britain's most famous painter. Turner's monumental oil paintings, large-scale watercolors and unfinished, experimental seascapes are exhibited alongside works by other major European and American artists, providing a rich artistic context for Turner's groundbreaking vision. Explore emotion in art and compare painting techniques in a tour that also includes stops in our Maritime Art Gallery.

 

Toshio Shibata, Constructed Landscapes
Recommended for Grades 3-12 and University | Through August 31, 2014

Toshio Shibata, Constructed LandscapesExperience 28 large-scale photographs by Japanese photographer Toshio Shibata. Shibata's work represents a significant departure from traditional Japanese renderings of the natural world. In these dramatic images, he explores the effect artificial structures such as highways, bridges and other concrete and steel elements have on the natural landscape. Through the artist's eyes, riverbeds look like origami, and hillsides resemble patterned kimonos.

Schedule a tour of the exhibition that features close looking, sketching, and writing activities, or include Toshio Shibata, Constructed Landscapes in your Creative Expressions tour, alongside other museum exhibitions.

 

Animals in Art
Recommended for Grades PreK-2

crouching rabbitCome see mammals, reptiles, sealife, amphibians, insects and more through the eyes of artists. Discover representations of animals from different cultures and in various artistic media. Explore the newly redesigned Art & Nature Center and the premiere exhibition, Beyond Human: Artist-Animal Collaborations. Students build valuable observation skills while learning about animal characteristics through stories and art. After the tour, students create collaborative artwork based on their experience with specific objects. In the process of discovery, students employ cooperative learning in natural science and art-based concepts.

For Educators and Students: Download Animals in Art Student Guide »

Time: 90 minutes with art activity

Related Standards

Massachusetts Visual Arts Standards
Grades K–2 Standards 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1

Massachusetts English Language Arts Standards
Grades K–2 Standards 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1

Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Standards
Grades K–2 Standards 2, 4

 

Art and Politics
Recommended for Grades 9-12

Self Portrait of Pojoaque Mateo RomeroHow does art reflect the time in which it was created? In what ways does art contribute to our understanding of social and political discourse? In this lesson, students investigate traditional and contemporary works in the museum’s collection and come to understand how art plays a critical role in sociocultural commentary and critique around the world.

Time: one hour

Related Standards

Massachusetts Visual Arts Standards
Grades 9–12 Standards 6.7, 6.8, 7.6, 7.7, 7.9, 7.10, 8.8, 8.9, 8.10, 8.11

 

Don’t miss these exciting installations and special exhibitions!

Explore fresh takes on the PEM collection and discover new exhibitions featuring some of the most brilliant artists of today and yesterday. Click here to learn more about the special exhibitions on view this year.

To work with a museum educator on a customized visit, contact teacherprograms@pem.org or call 978-542-1546.

Double Happiness: Celebration in Chinese Art
Through May 31, 2015

Henry Fonseca The ConductorCome and experience the opulence of a royal wedding, the poetic evocation of spring on a delicate dish, and the fun of a card game. With more than 30 highlights from the museum's wide-ranging Chinese collection spanning 3,000 years, this exhibition celebrates China's artistic achievements crystallized in seasonal festivals, religious ceremonies and celebrations. Discover plants and animals, myths and symbols and decipher the Chinese character for "Double Happiness."

Figuring the Abstract in Indian Art
Through May 31, 2015

Portrait of a PreacherThis installation of 20th-century paintings and 15th- to 19th-century sculptures explores the concept of abstraction as a vehicle for embodying form and meaning. Moving beyond culture and across time, these works consider style, structure and color, as well as the figurative, metaphorical and idealized as key facets of the abstract. Figuring the Abstract sheds new light on paintings recently seen in the exhibition Midnight to the Boom and bronze sculptures seen in the Objects of Devotion exhibition.

Raven's Many Gifts: Native Art of the Northwest Coast
Through May 31, 2015

Portrait of a PreacherExplore the dynamic relationships among living humans, animals, ancestors and supernatural beings through works of Native art from the Pacific Northwest Coast created during the past 200 years. Ceremonial regalia, trade goods and art sold in galleries today reveal creative expressions of family, heritage, politics and commerce in a changing world. The themes - Living Stories, Family Connections and Market Innovations - feature artworks that convey broadly shared aesthetic and cultural traditions while emphasizing the distinctiveness of various indigenous communities and their artists.

FreePort [No. 005]: Michael Lin
Through November 22, 2014

Michael Lin ArmorialsArtist Michael Lin began developing a reputation in the late 1990s for painting vast designs on sober architectural sites, interventions that injected a vibrant sense of play. At PEM Lin spotlights the renowned collection of Asian export art. Lin created a sprawling mural of original armorial and heraldic motifs (elaborate coats of arms) that climb up the walls of the Mellon Staircase and along the floor of the Export Silver galleries.

To animate the history of trade between China and the West, Lin also created a large-scale installation comprised of hundreds of replicas of Mr. Nobody, one of the first representations of a European gentleman in Chinese porcelain. Photographs that document the creation of the replicas in a factory in China are interspersed among 19th-century gouaches from the PEM collection that depict the historic porcelain production process.

Visit the FreePort [No. 005] website, to watch interviews with the artist and see related footage of the porcelain factory in China, the team of artists painting the murals at PEM and the works of art that inspired the installation. An interactive component lets you design your own armorial!

About FreePort: Exploring the roles of trade, exchange and translation in the dynamics of cultural change, each FreePort installation is an invitation to a contemporary artist to establish a unique dialogue with the museum and its audiences. Evoking PEM’s 18th-century origins in global trade, FreePort facilitates the free exchange of ideas across disciplines critical to the evolution of a 21st-century museum.

To make a school visit reservation for your class, please click here.

Image credits: Students from the Bates School with Emergence of the Clowns, 1988, Roxanne Swentzell (Santa Clara Pueblo). Heard Museum, Phoenix, IAC2344A-D. Also pictured: Chilkat blanket, c. 1832, Tlingit artist. Peabody Essex Museum, E3648. Shaman's Tree of Life, 1985, John Hoover (Aleut). Anchorage Museum, 1985.50.1. Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art. Photo by Martine Malengret-Bardosh/PEM. | Students from the Bates School with Waterfall, 1999, Truman Lowe (Ho-Chunk). Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, 1999.6.4. Also pictured: Structural Landscape, 1952, George Morrison (Grand Portage Band of Chippewas). Joslyn Art Museum, JAM1955.187. Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art. Photo by Martine Malengret-Bardosh/PEM | Students from the Bowditch School (North Shore Camp Fire program) with Orpheus Charming the Animals, c. 1640, Aelbert Cuyp.The Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection. Golden: Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection. Photo by Martine Malengret-Bardosh/PEM. | Students from the Bowditch School create artwork inspired by Fiery Pool: the Maya and the Mythic Sea. Photo by Walter Silver/PEM. | Arts Adventure Club participants in Yin Yu Tang, A Chinese House. Peabody Essex Museum. Photo by Kathy Tarantola/PEM.