What guided experience is best for my students?

DIA Gallery Teachers use strategies based on Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), a research-tested teaching method used by museums and schools for more than 30 years, exploring art to encourage creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaborative learning. For more information about VTS, visit http://vtshome.org

A wide range of experiences is available, each designed for specific ages and types of learners.

Designed for the earliest learners, students engage in activities and games that make them better observers of art and their world. Students must be at least 4 years old. (30-45 minutes)

Students consider choices that artists make and how art helps us connect to our thoughts, feelings and the experiences of others. (45-minutes)​

Students engage in discussions of selected art in the galleries, followed by hands-on experiences in the Art-Making Studio. Printmaking and mixed media experiences available. (Two hours)

Students practice deeper looking, critical analysis, and communication through discussions of art, sharing observations and interpretations as well as evidence to support their thinking. (45-60 minutes)

Students participate in a guided tour around themes of friendship, creativity, gratitude, generosity, kindness, patience and honesty based on the needs of the teacher, followed by a self-guided or teacher-led activity, or for older children (grades 5-12), a teamwork exercise. (60 minutes with a Gallery Teacher, 60 Minutes with the classroom teacher)

Students engage in directed discussions about art, exploring how people of diverse cultures use art to define, reinforce, and communicate cultural, national, and personal identity. (45-60 minutes)

  • Shaping Identity – A Broad Cross-Cultural Exploration: Includes art from around the world and spanning thousands of years.

Shaping Identity can also include a more focused examination of a part of the world. Each experience starts with a global view. Please note that the DIA Contemporary galleries will be closed for a reinstallation that will affect some tours for the next two school years.

  • New! Shaping Identity – Africana: Art and artists from the African diaspora.
  • Shaping Identity – Art of the Americas: North, Central and South America, including the Ancient Americas and Native American art from the colonial period to the present.
  • Shaping Identity – Art of the Ancient World: Ancient cultures such as Africa, Asia, Egypt, Europe, the Middle East, North America or South America.
  • New! Shaping Identity – World Languages: Connections made between world languages and the cultures from those regions.  May include: Arabic, Asian, French, German and Spanish art and artists.
  • Shaping Identity – Art of the Renaissance: How the art reflects life in Europe during this time of change and growth. Recommended for middle and high school.
  • Shaping Identity + Thinking Through Art: Mix it Up! Two great experiences in one.  Open-ended discussions with directive looking and learning.

Students learn that art and science are connected through interactive, science-related experiences that put the “Art” in “STEM!”

  • Putting the STEAM in STEM in Rivera Court: Gallery teachers engage students in open-ended discussions using VTS. Then a science educator leads student teams through a technology and engineering problem-solving adventure as they explore Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry Murals. Limited to 60 students, grades 5-8. Limited availability. Mondays only. Allow 3 hours.
  • Putting the STEAM in STEM in Conservation: Science students observe and work with members of the DIA’s Conservation Lab while exploring works of art. Students learn how scientific investigations authenticate, date and preserve works of art in the DIA’s world-class collection. Limited to 60 students, grades 6-12. Limited availability. Fridays only. Allow one hour.

Summer Escapes are highly engaging gallery experiences designed to energize your student group’s summer visit to the DIA. Some of our popular topics are: Time Travel, Art of the Selfie, Ewww That’s Gross, Girl Power, Cool Dudes, Heroes and Villains, and Boo!  Designed for students in PreK through 12th Grade. Perfect for multi-age groups including summer camps, summer schools, and scout groups. 

Once booked, a DIA Gallery Teacher will contact you to help you select the perfect escape for your group. Book as a Guided Field Trip and indicate “Summer Escapes” in the in the special needs section.