School programs at the Columbia Museum of Art are nationally recognized for their excellence in providing students of all ages state and national standards-based cross-curricular learning experiences. There are a variety of grade appropriate programs from which to choose that encourage learning through interactive activities. Programs for students in grades Pre-K through 12 can also include a meaningful, hands-on art-making experience in the studios. Suggestions for pre- and post-visit activities are included with the confirmation materials that you will receive.

Choose a program from those listed below, or contact Kayleigh Vaughn at 803.343.2163 or kayleigh@columbiamuseum.org for special requests at least one month in advance. We are happy to work with you to develop a program that complements your curriculum.

Click here to download a pdf brochure outlining our programs for educators.

All school groups, including self-guided groups, must have a reservation.

When you are ready to book a tour for your class, click here for easy steps to get you started!

  • Animal Art Safari
  • Let's Explore
  • Roberts' Realm
  • The Third Dimension
  • The Language of Art
  • Picturing America
  • The Alchemy of Art
  • A Conversation with the Ancients
  • Process of Illumination
  • Symbols of Power
  • Special Exhibitions
  • Solar Art

Animal Art Safari

  • Preschool – Kindergarten (tour and studio)
  • Animals can be found hidden in the corners of paintings and crouching in the foreground of relief sculpture. Discover animals in the galleries while learning about the ways in which painters and sculptors incorporated the natural world into their art.
  • (Program length: 90 minutes)

Let's Explore

  • Preschool – Kindergarten (tour and studio)
  • Discover the world of art! Step inside the canvas and utilize the five senses to “read” artworks throughout our galleries. Students identify familiar themes such as animals, children, and food while expanding and building upon their vocabulary.
  • (Program length: 90 minutes)

Roberts' Realm

  • 1st – 3rd Grade (tour and studio)
  • Students will explore the world of well-known, Columbia photographer, Richard Samuel Roberts. This program is rich with U.S. and South Carolina history, and introduces students to the photographic process used by Roberts in the 1920s and ’30s to create his portraits.
  • (Program length: 90 minutes)

The Third Dimension

  • 1st - 3rd grade (tour and studio)
  • Welcome to the world of 3-D art! Students use scientific concepts and math skills to discuss three-dimensional objects such as furniture, sculpture, ceramics and glass including ancient Roman busts and antique silver tea sets.
  • (Program length: 120 minutes)

Lesson Plans

Common Core Standards

South Carolina State Standards:

The Language of Art

  • 4th – 5th grade (tour and studio)
  • Delve deeper into the visual language of art while focusing on key concepts and terms such as portrait, landscape, still life and sculpture. Students explore the materials, concepts and processes that artists have used throughout the ages.
  • (Program length: 120 minutes)

Lesson Plans

South Carolina State Standards:

Picturing America

  • 4th – 5th grade (tour and studio)
  • Great art speaks powerfully, inspires creative thinking, and connects us to our past. Designed to connect to the National Endowment for the Humanities initiative, “Picturing America” features works in the Museum’s American galleries, including portraits of George Washington and Thomas Sumter.
  • (Program length: 120 minutes)

Lesson Plans

South Carolina State Standards:

A Conversation with the Ancients

  • 6th – 8th grade (tour and studio)
  • Come face to face with the famous demigod, Hercules, as he’s in a fight for his life! From Ancient Greece to Neoclassicism, students will “unearth” relics of the past and discover why artists were inspired by ancient civilizations.
  • (Program length: 120 minutes)

Lesson Plans ( Elementary | Upper)

South Carolina State Standards:

Process of Illumination

  • 6th – 8th grade (tour and studio)
  • From the Renaissance to the Age of Enlightenment, students explore the artistic and scientific breakthroughs that impacted history through artwork. They will discuss certain inventions and how they illuminated the world of art.
  • (Program length: 120 minutes)

The Alchemy of Art

  • 4th - 12th grade (tour and studio)
  • Why would a Renaissance artist have a dog’s tooth and a pig’s bladder in his workshop? This program will answer this and other questions as students discover the science behind the art and the evolution of an artist’s palette.
  • (Program length: 120 minutes)

Symbols of Power

  • 9th – 12th grade (tour and studio)
  • What is power? Students will discuss the forms of power within the USA and across the globe. Students will consider how technological advancements and social media affect the balance of power in the 21st century, and investigate the various ways power is reflected and expressed through art.
  • (Program length: 120 minutes)

Special Exhibitions

  • 1st - 12th grade (tour and studio on request)
  • Students are provided with an in-depth gallery talk on a specific exhibition. Questions and group interaction are encouraged.
  • (Program length: 120 minutes)

Japan and the Jazz Age Lesson Plans ( Lower | Upper)

Solar Art

  • 1st - 12th grade (tour and studio)
  • Students will investigate the use of solar power and the effects of solar power on art. Students will create a design using the sun. This lesson will explain the importance of solar energy as it pertains to art.

Lesson Plans ( Elementary | Middle | High School)