School & Teacher Programs

School GROUP Tours

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, contact Ashley Kinkel-Ellington, Education & Public Programs Associate, at 727.892.4200 ext. 1011 or

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 the grade appropriate tours below 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 and safety protocols, once your tour is confirmed. Click on each drop down arrow below for more information about the tour.

Kindergarten & 1st Grade: Bigger than a Big Book!

Shonto Begay, Composing My World (detail)

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.

Florida Education Standards
VA.K.H.1.1 | VA.K.H.1.2 | VA.K.H.1.3
VA.K.H.2.3 | LAFS.K.RL.3.7 | LAFS.K.RI.2.6
LAFS.K.SL.1.1 | LAFS.K.SL.1.2 | VA.1.C.1.2
VA.1.C.2.1 | VA1.S.1.4 | VA1.S.3.2
VA.1.H.2.3 | VA.1.H.3.1 | LAFS.1.RI.3.9
LAFS.1.SL.1.1 | LAFS.1.SL.1.3 | LAFS.1.L.3.5

2nd Grade: Native American Life, Then & Now

Henry Balink, Portrait of an Indian Chief (detail)

Students learn how artists communicate ideas about culture and historical events through their work. This tour focuses on the cultures of Native tribes who lived west of the Mississippi, and the impacts on them as settlers arrived in the West. Use of proper art vocabulary and identification of basic elements of art -line, shape, color and texture are emphasized. Armed with a viewfinder, students look closely for cultural clues in their search for information about Native Americans, pioneers, and immigrants.

Tour duration: 90 min.

Florida Education Standards
VA.2.C.1.1 | VA.2.C.3.1 | VA.2.S.1.3
VA.2.S.1.4 | VA.2.H.1.1 | VA.2.H.1.2
VA.2.H.2.1 | SS.2.A.2.1 | SS.2.A.2.2
SS.2.A.2.3 | SS.2.E.1.1 | LAFS.2.SL.1.1
LAFS.2.SL.1.2 | LAFS.2.SL.1.3

3rd, 4th & 5th Grade: Go West, Young Artist

Jason Rich, A Western Heritage (detail)

What drew artists to the Wild West? How did artists reflect what they saw? How do they honor individuals and other cultures in their work? Students will visit the Native Life, Native Artists and the Frontier Galleries to answer these questions looking closely at one piece of art in each gallery. A writing activity is included.

Tour duration: 90 min.

Florida Education Standards
VA.3.C.3.2 | VA.3.S.1.4 | VA.3.H.1.1,2
VA.3.H.2.1, 3.1 | SS.3.G.2.6 | SS.G.3.1
SS.3.G.4.1,2 | SS.3.G.4.4 | LAFS.3.W.2.4
LAFS.3.SL.1.3 | LAFS.3.L.3.5 | VA.4.C.1.2
VA.4.C.3.1 | VA.4.C.3.3 | VA.4.S.1.4
VA. | VA.4.H.1.1 | VA.4.H.1.3
VA.4.H.2.1 | VA.4.H.2.3 | LAFS.4.W.1.1

5th & 6th Grade: Headed West in 1845! What could possibly go wrong?

Robert Griffing, Another Broken Treaty (detail)

On this tour, the works of Native and non-Native artists expose students to the Western territory during the years of Westward Expansion. Students will study painting and sculpture from this era, using verbal and written responses to describe, analyze and interpret the artwork.

Tour duration: 90 min.

Florida Education Standards
VA.5.C.1.2 | VA.5.C.3.2,3 | VA.5.S.1.4
VA5.H.1.1,2,3,4 | VA.5.H.2.1,2,3 | VA.5.H.3.1
LAFS.5.W.1.1 | LAFS.5.SL.1.1
LAFS.5.SL.1.3 | VA.68.H.1.2 | VA.68.S.1.4
SS.8.A.4.1,3,4,5,6,8, | SS.8.A.4.In.p,a,c,d,
LAFS.6.W.1.1 | LAFS.6.SL.1.1 | LAFS.6.SL.1.3

Middle School & High School: The Western Experience & the Artist Perspective

Paul Pletka, Red Talkers (detail)

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.

Florida Education Standards
VA.912.H.1.In.a,b | VA.912.H.1.Su.a,b
VA.912.H.1.1,2 | VA.912.H.1.Pa.a,b
VA.912.H.2.3,5 | SS.912.H