Student Tours

Wisdom begins with wonder.
                          —Socrates, d. 399 BC

Engage your students' natural sense of wonder as history, archaeology, science, mythology, religion, and art come alive in the galleries of the Carlos Museum. Docent-led tours of the collections of the Carlos Museum are designed to meet Common Core and Georgia Performance standards in many areas of the curriculum, providing a vivid entry to the study of world cultures.  Expand the classroom experience and the imaginations of your students with a visit to Emory’s Carlos Museum. 

Teachers may request tours of the Museum's special exhibitions, specific areas of the permanent collection (up to three galleries, choosing from Ancient Egypt, Ancient Near East, Classical Greece and RomeSouth AsiaArt of the Ancient Americas, and Sub-Saharan Africa), or curriculum-based theme tours designed to meet Georgia Performance Standards.

Support for educational programs at the Michael C. Carlos Museum comes from the David R. Clare & Margaret C. Clare Foundation, an anonymous donor, the Marguerite Colville Ingram Fund, the Christian and Frances Humann Foundation, and Clara M. and John S. O'Shea.

How to Schedule a School Tour
The Michael C. Carlos Museum welcomes school groups to explore the Museum's collections and special exhibitions with members of the Museum's Docent Guild.

To schedule a guided tour, download the new Tour Reservation Request Form, which can be filled out and returned to the Museum by email to or by fax to 404-727-4292.  Once your tour request form is received, you will be contacted by Office of Educational Programs staff to confirm your tour.  Your tour is not confirmed simply by submiting the request form, but only when you have received an email confirmation and invoice.

Tour Times: Tours are offered Tuesday through Friday at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and noon.
Group Size: Maximum number is 65 guests per hour. Grade levels larger than 65 may schedule back to back tours.
Length of Tours:
50 minutes.
Chaperones: One per every ten students required.
Fees: Visits are $6 per student. One chaperone for every ten students is free. Additional adults are $7 each.
You will receive an email confirming your tour date and time and invoicing you for payment.

Self-guided tours: Teachers who wish to guide their own groups are welcome to do so. Please remember that self-guided groups must also be scheduled in advance to avoid overcrowding in the galleries.
NEW! The Science Behind Art Conservation Tour

The Science Behind Art Conservation
Appropriate for Fourth Grade to High School

In this exciting new tour developed with the guidance and expertise of the museum's Chief Conservator, students will explore the many ways that science is employed in the study and preservation of works of art. Museum docents will introduce students to art conservation practices focusing on preventative care, treatment, and research.  Digital images on iPads will provide students the opportunity to examine the condition of objects prior to conservation treatment, as well as images of treatment in progress. In this very interactive tour, students will be able to handle examples of materials used to make and conserve art, including fabrics used to stabilize the mummies. They will see beyond what is visible to the museum visitor. For example, in the Egyptian galleries they will get a glimpse into the creative process of the artist through modern, microscopic analysis where a cross section of the paint surface from 1075 BC reveals a substructure of mud applied below the layers of under painting.  Students will be able to see how salt crystals in porous materials such as ceramics or stone can cause damage that may destroy the surface and weaken the structure and the treatment that was performed.

Students will practice the Habits of Mind teaching goals as they:
*Ask questions that lead to investigations
*Use charts and graphs
*Use data to answer questions
*Identify patterns of change
*Research and gather information
*Understand the importance of safety concerns

Resources for Teachers:
Classroom Lesson Plans:
       Bug Scavenger Hunt Worksheet
       Condition Report Activity
       Loss Compensation Activity

Introduction to Art Conservation

Preservation Information Cards and Insect Investigation Activity for Students

Case Studies of Conservation Projects at the Museum

Science and Art Conservation: Resources for Teachers to Use in the Classroom

Elementary School Curriculum Based Tours

Objects Have Stories to Tell: Shapes and Symbols.  Designed for the young visitor, the students explore objects by looking for shapes and symbols of diverse cultures. With specially trained docent guidies, students will find spiral patterns on the giant Greek pythos. Are they a clue to what used to be inside? With clipboards in hand the students will collect all manner of shapes and symbols while exploring cultures from long ago. From ancient Nubia they will find the fly worn by soldiers as a symbol of persistence. They will learn about Athena, the Greek god of wisdom, courage, and the arts, and her symbol the wise owl.  From the ancient Americas they will see the jaguar, a symbol of power and decorate their skin with roller stamp designs seen in the effigies. Introduce your young students to the stories that the objects tell through shapes and symbols at the Carlos Museum.

Resources for Objects Have Stories to Tell:
PDF Kindergarten Standards

Archaeology. CSI: Cultural Scene Investigation. As they explore the galleries, students will learn about pioneering archaeologists like Kathleen Kenyon and the development of stratigraphy at the ancient site of Jericho. They will discover the excitement of analyzing artifacts once they have come out of the ground, from Egyptian mummies and coffins to sculpture, pottery, and jewelry from ancient Greece. Your students will put STEAM into practice as they learn the role of x-rays, chemical analysis, carbon-14 dating, and other scientific techniques that contribute to an archaeologist’s understanding of material culture.

Resources for Archeology:
PDF Standards

PDF CSI Lesson Plan
PDF Vocabulary

RIck Riordan@ the Carlos. The Carlos collections abound with images from favorite mythological stories. In this tour students experience the Greek myths through Rick Riodan's engaging charcters from the Percy Jackson series. See Aphrodite and Athena,  Apollo and his twin sister Artemis.  The Cyclops, Poseidon, and Grover the satyr are in residence in the permanent collection galleries. In the Egyptian collection, the characters from The Red Pyramid series comes to life as students explore images on coffins and tomb sculpture including Anubis, Osiris (Julius), Sekmet, and a magic wand. Students will visit the 'weighing of the heart' and find the horned viper and Apophis, the serpent god of the Underworld. Students will explore character, plot, and setting, but also the larger meanings that the myths had for the cultures that developed them.

Majority Rules. Developed by museum staff and 3rd grade teachers under a grant by the Georgia Humanities Council, this interactive tour for elementary students is aligned with the Georgia Performance Standards for 3rd grade. It introduces students to 5th-century Athens during the construction of the Parthenon and the development of the roots of democracy. The stories on ancient Greek vases depict scenes from the classics of Greek literature from the Trojan War to Odysseus’ voyage; the stories that are the exemplar of excellence and honor. Students will dress in a chiton and learn what it meant to be a Greek citizen; they will wear the olive wreath of the victorious Olympic athlete; and they will barter with blow-up versions of coins from the collection. See below for the Greek Passport booklet for students, Majority Rules vocabulary, and a follow up lesson plan.

Middle School Curriculum Based Tours
7th Grade:  Continuity and Change: Material Culture in the Near East, Africa, and South Asia.
This journey through the galleries explores objects related to Hinduism and Buddhism including Durga subduing the buffalo demon, and Buddha in the famous “calling the earth to witness” posture. Students will compare the images of the meditative Buddha with the narrative movement of Hindu figures used to tell stories as devotees visit the temples. Oil lamps and pilgrim flasks, and images of Jonah swimming represent only a few of the objects created during the formative years of Judaism and Christianity.  Students will explore work created by the ancient kingdoms of the Middle East, today known as Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Afghanistan. In the African galleries, students will explore objects from the traditional, indigenous religions as well as pieces influenced by the spread of Christianity and Islam. Objects that reflect the influence of European colonization can be seen in traditional shrine sculptures that include imported objects such as top hats. The gold figures and weights from Ghana come from the Asante people who once controlled the gold trade and developed kente cloth, the fabric that has come to represent the rich cultures of Africa throughout much of the world.

Asante Amulet Lesson Plan
Magic Square PDF
The Ancient Americans Before the Collision of Cultures. Students explore the civilizations that were in place when the Europeans arrived. Learn about the economic system that united the enormous Inka Empire through the use of a knotted code. The importance of maize is seen in planting implements, painted ceramics, and jewelry. The art of personal adornment is highlighted from giant, gold earspools and labrets to body paint. Students will have an opportunity to decorate their bodies with patterns based on the ancient American roller stamps in the museum.

Resource for Teachers: Nature and Artistry in the Ancient Americas.  A Teachers Guide to the Carlos collection.

High School Curriculum Based Tours

World History. Explore the ancient Mediterranean world, birthplace of writing and laws. See Egyptian and Nubian art showcasing decorated coffins, mummies, and hieroglyphs on papyrus and carved in stone. The Classical galleries emphasize the great stories of civilization on painted pottery and include objects from ancient athletic games, architecture, theater and beautifully crafted items traded throughout the Mediterranean.The Asian galleries introduce the dynamic images of the Hindu religion and the calm serenity of images of the Buddha. Enter the ancient American world for Maya and Inka works expressing the bond between the natural and supernatural worlds and the religious system of shamanism, found throughout the Americas. The African collection includes traditional objects for public festival and private ritual use, and images that show the influence of European colonization.

Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations. The ancient civilizations of the Near East, Egypt, and Greece come to life in the galleries at the Carlos. Students can explore the first settled communities of the Fertile Crescent, where writing, law, and trade developed. They can experience first hand the grandeur of ancient Egypt through mummies, elaborately painted coffins, royal sculpture, and hieroglyphic inscriptions on papyrus. In the ancient Greek galleries, sculpture, painted pottery, coins, and jewelry convey the richness of Greek mythology, the cultural values of honor and excellence, and the development of theater and epic poetry. Students will discover how Alexander the Great spread “Hellenism” from North Africa to Roman Britain through warfare, but also through trade and the spread of the Greek language.

Times and Texts of the Bible. Learn how objects from the Egyptian, Near Eastern, and Classical collections relate to the times and texts of the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament. Tour includes an exploration of cylinder seals, pilgrim flasks, oil lamps and images of Bible stories left on pottery fragments from 1st century North Africa.

Foreign Languages

Spanish classes: Vea Y Explore. Spanish explorers brought their language to Meso, Central, and South America, but remarkable indigenous cultures predated their arrival. The ancient American galleries feature intricate textiles, elaborate work in gold and silver, and ceramics created by the Inka, Maya and other cultures in the region.

Latin Classes: Ars Longa, Vita Brevis. Since art is long and life, short, seize the day and visit Ulysses and the Cyclops, Menelaus and Helen, Europa and the Bull, and the Emperor Tiberius. Discover the importance of Roman imperial portraiture and propaganda. Find images of metamorphoses and reinforce your reading with scenes from Ovid and Virgil. Explore Roman funeral rituals and translate inscription on cinerary urns. Meet Romulus and Remus and see how important archaeology is in understanding the objects from Roman daily life.

Art Classes

Drawing in the Galleries: Tour and Workshop. Throughout history artists have drawn their inspiration and honed their eye by drawing from the great works of art. Why not inspire the young artists of Georgia with the Carlos collections? Spend an hour and a half exploring a collection, discussing the elements of art and drawing technique, and participating in a sustained drawing activity guided by experienced docent-artists.
Common Core and Georgia Performance Standards
Docent-led tours of the collections of the Carlos Museum are designed to meet Common Core and Georgia Performance Standards in many areas of the curriculum, providing a vivid entry to the study of world cultures through art. Expand the classroom experience and the imaginations of your students with a visit to Emory’s Carlos Museum. During tours students will:
  • build critical-thinking skills
  • compare similarities and differences (Social Studies Skills Matrix #1.)
  • analyze artifacts ( Social Studies Skills Matrix #10.)
  • draw conclusions and make generalizations (Social Studies Skills Matrix #11.)
  • understand how people express their beliefs and ideas through objects (Historical Understanding; all levels).
  • explore diversity and a variety of religious concepts (Historical Understanding; all levels)
  • become acquainted with cultures and traditions from around the world (Historical and Geographic Understanding, all levels).
  • ask questions that lead to investigations (Habits of Mind)
  • Use date to answer questions and identify patterns of change (Habits of MInd)
Carlos and the Common Core: 
Georgia’s Common Core curriculum uses literacy and language skills to prepare students for success in college, career and life. Learning in a museum setting builds vocabulary and connects classroom reading to original source material; works of art as tangible documents of history.  They will compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and patterns of events from several cultures; from Classical Greece and Rome, to ancient Egypt, the Americas, south Asia, and sub Saharan Africa.  In the museum, students will expand their classroom knowledge in a different medium, and will use cogent reasoning and evidence collecting skills to express their interpretations and opinions.  As an extension of the classroom, the Carlos invites you to bring your classes to explore the stories of civilization.
How Do We Get There? And Where Do We Park?
Directions: Hundreds of school buses bring students to visit the Carlos Museum every year. Unfortunately, there is often confusion about where to enter campus, drop off students, and park the bus. To assist, we enlisted the help of a bus driver who made the trip himself to show the way.  Please watch this video and share it with your bus drivers!

Please do not use GPS to get directions to the museum. GPS systems provide excellent information for CARS entering campus, but not BUSES.  If you must use GPS, enter Emory’s Goizueta Business School as your destination, and the directions will lead you to the correct campus entrance for BUSES.

Funding Your Museum Visit and Bus Transportation
Need help funding transportation for a Museum visit?
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, the Carlos Museum is able to offer $300 per bus to K-12 teachers at schools with signifcant Title One populations. We know field trips are expensive, but bus stipends can make it possible for your students to explore the stories of civiization found in the galleries of the Carlos Museum—from the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mespotamia, Greece and Rome to the varied cultures of sub-Saharan Africa, from the indigenous cultures of North and South America to the thriving cultures of India and the Himalayas. Contact Ana Vizurraga at 404-727-4280 or to apply. Funding will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Target Field Trip Grants provides grants that allow teachers and students to learn in all kinds of settings. To apply for a Field Trip Grant go to
Artful Stories for Preschools
Preschool children gather to hear a story surrounded by Egyptian, Greek and Roman, ancient American, Asian or African art before looking closely and discussing related works of art, and then transitioning to the studio for a hands on activity!  This free program is made possible through generous funding from PNC Bank and is available for preschool classes on Monday mornings at 10 am when the museum is closed to the general public, offering a special environment for young children to experience art, literacy, and cultures of the world.
  • Maximum twenty children per group.
  • One chaperone for every five children.
  • If your group has special needs, please call to discuss possible adjustments to the program.
  • Space is limited, so please sign up early to reserve a space for your class.
To make a reservation for your preschool class to participate in Artful Stories for Preschools, please contact Alyson Vuley at 404-727-0519 or

This program is made possible through the generous support of PNC Bank.
Additonal support for educational programs for children and families at the Carlos Museum comes from the David R. Clare and Margaret C. Clare Foundation, and the Marguerite Colville Ingram Fund.

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