CMA field trips engage students with art in the galleries through a discussion-based approach that sparks curiosity, creating a personal connection that helps participants to retain the information.

School programs at the Columbia Museum of Art are nationally recognized for their excellence in providing innovative cross-curricular learning experiences for all ages based on state and national standards.

Each field trip program includes a guided tour of the galleries and an art-making session in our newly renovated studios. Visits typically last approximately two hours.

How do I book a field trip to the CMA?

Browse programs below and fill out this form or contact us at 803-343-2163 or at least four weeks in advance.

Book A School Tour

Our schedule is currently booked for Van Gogh school tours on weekday mornings. If you're interested in booking an afternoon or weekend tour, or if you'd like to be added to the weekday morning wait list, please email


Art for All

This program, sponsored by Aflac, offers South Carolina Title I schools the opportunity to enjoy a field trip to the Columbia Museum of Art free of charge. Students take part in a two-hour creative learning experience that meets SC state standards. Title I schools from all counties can book tours under this program.

This field trip experience includes:

  • Free admission to a two-hour tour and studio program
  • Transportation reimbursement
  • Pre- and post-visit resources

School Programs for 2019 - 2020 School Year

Exhibition Programs
Van Gogh and His Inspirations

October 4, 2019 - January 12, 2020

Today Van Gogh is recognized for his visionary style and his expressive representations of the world around him. But like every great artist Van Gogh took time to develop his skills and hone his craft, taking in ideas from literature and religion to art and nature. In this exhibition we’ll examine the artists and influences that contributed to the artist’s development of his signature style.

Our schedule is currently booked for Van Gogh school tours on weekday mornings. If you're interested in booking an afternoon or weekend tour, or if you'd like to be added to the weekday morning wait list, please email

Download the Elementary Pre-Visit Guide

Download the Middle/High Pre-Visit Guide

Download the Van Gogh Educator Guide for K-12

It's Alive!

February 14 - May 17, 2020

Monster movies tell stories about society's fears. But what about the posters themselves? How do artists and designers go about synthesizing an entire movie into one graphic image? Join us in the exhibition as we explore the connection between images and ideas with posters and ephemera from films.

Programs Based on the Collection
Preschool – Kindergarten Programs

Sense-ational Art
In this tour we’ll be using our senses to make discoveries about the art we see and the world around us. Join us as we explore texture, sound, and smell throughout the galleries and create multimedia masterpieces in the studios.
Download Pre-Visit Guide

Animal Nature
Come with us on an animal safari! We’ll be on the lookout for creatures of all kinds and learning about the natural environments they inhabit. In the studios we’ll make our own artful animals and habitats.
Download Pre-Visit Guide

1st – 3rd Grade Programs

Rock, Paper, Silver
In this tour we’ll explore natural resources and how they make up the materials used in works of art. We’ll use scientific and mathematical skills to discuss three-dimensional works of art from sculpture to architecture. In the studios we’ll create our own 3D creations.
Download Pre-Visit Guide

Show Me a Story
Art can tell all sorts of stories. Join us in the galleries to unravel these tales, discovering stories about famous figures and everyday events. Along the way we’ll explore ways artists use shape, color, and other elements of art to create new worlds before creating our own in the studios.
Download Pre-Visit Guide

4th – 5th Grade Programs

How Art Works
From a hammer and chisel to a well-oiled machine, art can be created with all sorts of things. In the studios we’ll learn the ins and outs of how art is made and the impact that art has in society.
Download Pre-Visit Guide

Visions of the United States
American life has been shaped by so many forces, from Native American tribes and African cultures to European fashions and popular culture. In the galleries we will discuss how art reflects American values and changing ways of life. In the studios students will create their own interpretation of Americana.
Download Pre-Visit Guide

6th – 8th Grade Programs

Ways of Life
Art doesn’t just tell us about the artist’s own ideas; it can tell us about what life is like in a certain time and place. In this tour we’ll explore art spanning from ancient Mesopotamia to the modern-day United States as we discuss how art shapes our understanding of cultures around the world.
Download Pre-Visit Guide

All Around Our State
While art can tell us about cultures around the world, it can also give vital information about our own region. In this tour we’ll span centuries of South Carolina history and culture, from one of the first Colonial artists to Native American art all the way up to the 21st century. In the studios students will explore how art and the written word intersect to inform historical understanding by creating their own periodicals. Supported by the South Carolina Arts Commission.
Download Pre-Visit Guide

9th – 12th Grade Programs

Making a Modern World
Being modern has meant different things in different eras. In this tour we’ll explore the notion of modernity through both history and art, from the Renaissance up to the present day. In the studios students will explore modernity and what it means in their daily lives through their own creations.
Download Pre-Visit Guide

Balance of Power
Art is one of many ways people have demonstrated prestige and privilege over time. In the galleries we’ll examine figures and symbols in works of art from the powerful to the powerless, discussing who is and is not being depicted.
Download Pre-Visit Guide