Self-Guided Visits for Pre-K to 12th Grade

Guided and self-guided tours have reached capacity for the 2023–24 academic year. Looking forward to seeing you next year!

The Museum partners with four area school districts to provide field lessons that support 3rd and 4th-grade curriculum. All 3rd  graders from Houston Independent School District and Clear Creek Independent School District and all 4rd graders from Spring Branch Independent School District and Galena Park Independent School District visit during the fall and spring semesters. At this time, the Museum is unable to provide docent-guided field lessons to non-district partners.

Self-guided visits are perfect for teachers who want to lead their own tours of the Museum. Groups are welcome to explore the MFAH art collections and any nonticketed exhibitions.

Reservations for groups are needed at least two weeks in advance. Availability and space are limited, so be sure to book before planning your trip.

Self-guided visits are available year-round, during the Museum’s regular hours of operation. Some special restrictions may apply during high-attendance periods. Self-guided tours are free on any day with a reservation made in advance through the Learning and Interpretation department.

  • The Museum’s collections and special exhibitions include works of art expressing a range of subject matter, including the nude or partially nude human form. Please prepare students for the possibility of viewing these images before arriving. Museum staff members are happy to answer questions or address concerns you may have about the works on view prior to your visit.
  • Self-guided visits last one hour.
  • Self-guided visits to the MFAH art collections and nonticketed exhibitions are free of charge for students and chaperones when booked in advance.
  • Self-guided visits to specially ticketed exhibitions are subject to admission fees. Learn more about the Museum’s exhibitions.
  • A minimum of 10 students is needed to book a self-guided visit. The maximum number of students that can be accommodated is 80.
  • One chaperone or teacher is needed per 10 students.
  • Schools that wish to bring groups larger than the maximum may request multiple self-guided visits in the same day.
  • Contact in advance for additional assistance booking larger groups and for any questions about scheduling.


Hearst Foundation “Make the Most of Your Self-Guided Visit” Session

Educators with confirmed self-guided tours also have the opportunity to meet with MFAH staff to customize the experience. Hearst Foundation “Make the Most of Your Self-Guided Visit” sessions are offered on Thursdays, when the Museum is open late, and also in 30-minute increments on Zoom. Please contact to arrange a day and time.

At these sessions, educators and Museum staff members collaborate on how best to relate the MFAH art collections to the school curriculum. Each meeting is unique and based on the type of tour the teacher wants to create. Options are as broad as finding art objects that spark curiosity, and as specific as investigations into certain art movements. From art history to chemistry, the MFAH team strives to engage all subject matter in dialogue with works of art, for every grade level. You have goals for your visit, and the Museum is here to help!

Questions? Contact


Self-Guided Visits for Ticketed Exhibitions

School groups receive discounted admission to ticketed exhibitions. Rates may vary. Payment is due at least seven days prior to the scheduled tour date. Schools that do not submit payment in advance cannot pay on-site the day of the tour. Acceptable forms of payment include credit card and check. All purchases are final, and refunds cannot be issued.  

 School tours can be booked only through the Museum’s learning & interpretation department. To request a self-guided visit to a ticketed exhibition, email for information.


Self-Guided Visits for the Summer

During the summer, student groups are welcome to visit the Museum for a self-guided visit of our the art collections and nonticketed spaces. These self-guided tours are always free with a reservation made at least two weeks in advance!

 Student tours can be booked only through the Museum’s learning & interpretation department. To request a self-guided visit to a ticketed exhibition, email for information.


How to Prepare for Your Visit

Educators are highly encouraged to arrange a Hearst Foundation “Make the Most of Your Self-Guided Visit.” A member of the Learning and Interpretation team can meet you in person or on Zoom to think through artworks and collections that support your curriculum goals. Contact to connect with Museum staff.

Please review the below information before your visit.


What to Do During a Self-Guided Visit

The MFAH offers resources to assist you as you guide your group through the galleries. From sketching supplies to downloadable resources, these options help deepen students' experiences with art.

With so much to see, how do you choose? Focus your students' experience with the following downloadable resources, which will guide you in selecting works of art to see on a self-guided visit.

Pre-Written Self-Guided Tours
These resources will help you guide students on an hour-long visit to the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The guides include 5 objects in a variety of collection areas and mediums, along with art history, tour tips, discussion questions, and transitions.

Choose the right guide for your grade level:

Or, short on time? Try these looking activities appropriate for a range of grade levels!

Browse the Art Collections
Is there a particular artist or work of art you would like to see? Search the MFAH collections online by artist, date, and more.

Learning Through Art Online Curriculum
Learning Through Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston connects the MFAH collections of world art into curriculum for classes in art, language arts, math, science, and social studies. Use the Museum’s elementary and middle school curriculum to integrate higher-level cognitive skills, such as observing and organizing information, making predictions, and communicating ideas and thoughts with art inquiry methods to promote the development of 21st-century skills needed to succeed in the world. View the online curriculum.

Art Resource Tour for Schools Program is sponsored by:

Sempra Foundation