School Group Tours

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Field Trips

Bring your students to the James Museum, where they will experience the stories of the American West through art. See works from Native American and non-native artists who honor the beauty of the landscape and bring to life the gritty history and exciting tales found west of the Mississippi. For more information, email

School Tour Selections

At the James Museum, there is time to look around, wonder plenty, and enjoy a lively conversation with your students.  Choose from one of these grade appropriate tours or plan your own with the help of a museum educator.  Our knowledgeable docents lead all tours.   We will send planning materials including pre-and post-visit activities once a tour is confirmed.  Click on each tour below for more information.

Pre K & Kindergarten

Say Wow to Wildlife

Young visitors will be wowed by a visit with the animal art found in the Wildlife Gallery.   Expect long looks and loud laughs as students use basic art vocabulary to describe the lines, shapes, textures, and color found in their art safari.  A Native American story accompanies this visit.
Tour duration: 60 min.

Kindergarten & 1st Grade

Bigger than a Big Book!

Children are invited to build a connection between the artwork they see in a museum and their everyday lives. Students look at paintings and sculptures (bigger than their biggest book) and compare them to experiences that are familiar to them. Stories and in-gallery art manipulatives complete the connection.
Tour duration: 60 min.

2nd Grade

Native American Life, Then & Now

What can we learn about Native Americans when we look at their lives through an artist’s lens? This tour looks back in time to define the cultures of native tribes living West of the Mississippi and examines their interactions with pioneers. It looks forward, recognizing their role in America today. Tour duration: 90 min.

3rd, 4th & 5th Grade

Go West, Young Artist

Why did artists travel from the eastern United States to the Wild West to draw and paint?  How do artists reflect events they observe?  How do they honor individuals and other cultures in their work?  Students will collaborate to search for answers to clues in the artwork and discuss their findings.
Tour duration: 90 min.

5th & 6th Grade

Headed West in 1845!  What could possibly go wrong?

Fueled by Manifest Destiny, explorers, mountain men, pioneers, and the U.S. army headed West in the 19th century. Navajo, Comanche, Apache, Sioux, and other native peoples hoped to douse the fire of westward expansion. Bison and railroads collided. Peace medals and broken treaties followed. Works of art found in the James Museum offer insights and the opportunities for lively discussion.
Tour Duration: 90 min.

Middle School & High School

The Western Experience & the Artist Perspective

The James collection documents many significant events related to the American Westward expansion. This tour combines a careful look at how artists have recorded these events with conversations about their significance to American history. Docent presentation includes sharing documents and written works about the events.
Tour duration: 90 min.

Middle School & High School

Heroes or Anti-heroes?

Students investigate icons of the American West who speak through artwork found at the James Museum. Artistic style and the artist’s biography will be considered as students study the icon. As a group, students will collaborate to determine whether the icons are considered heroes or anti-heroes by society today and develop a measured response to the character’s actions.
Tour duration: 90 min.

The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art