NAEA Position Statement

Position Statement on Excellence in Art Museum Teaching [Adopted March 2012]

NAEA believes that the opportunity to discover, understand, and appreciate original works of art

from cultures past and present is a vital part of a complete education. Furthermore, NAEA

asserts that excellent teaching is necessary to foster profound and memorable learning

experiences in the museum environment. Excellent museum educators help people see and

understand the world in diverse ways and provide them with knowledge and skills to face an

ever-changing future.

To achieve excellence in art museum teaching, museum educators:

• Create a learning environment where students feel safe, comfortable, and respected, enabling

them to engage in dialogue with works of art, with each other, and with the museum educator.

• Actively engage students in processes of creative and critical thinking.

• Employ a variety of teaching approaches and strategies to connect effectively with diverse


• Connect the arts to student lives through careful choices of art objects that reflect the

complexity and diversity of human cultures and experiences.

• Collaborate with and support Pre K-16 educators and other community partners to create

meaningful museum experiences that enrich and support learning in and beyond the classroom.

Education and preparation for excellent art museum teaching requires:

• Deep knowledge of individual works of art and their makers.

• Knowledge of aesthetics, art history, art practice, art criticism, and other disciplines as they

relate to works of art.

• Knowledge and application of education history, theory, and research relevant to museum

learning and the needs and characteristics of learners and museum audiences including Pre K-

16, families, and adults.

• Professional development and ongoing learning to enhance their effectiveness as art museum




Position Statement on the Benefits of Art Museum Learning in Education

[Adopted March 2012]

NAEA believes that art museum learning is a fundamental component to a high quality,

effective, and balanced education.

Museum Environment

• Art museums are valuable cultural resources that offer learners a rich physical and social

environment in which to experience and engage with original works of art from different time

periods and cultures.


• Facilitated learning experiences with works of art cultivate global perspectives and an

appreciation of the diversity of cultures, ideas, and human experiences.

• Firsthand study of original works of art engages students in making connections across

disciplines and enriches their understanding of other subjects.

• Through close examination of artworks, students learn about creative processes, techniques,

and materials.


• The study of works of art promotes the development of creative and critical thinking skills that

are important to success in life as well as in school. These include inquiry, analysis, and

interpretation as well as flexibility, imagination, and reflection.

Personal and Social Learning

• Art museum learning opens students up to new ways of seeing, experiencing, and connecting

to themselves, others, and the broader world.

• In art museums, students learn from each other and from adults, including docents, museum

educators, and artists. They gain confidence and knowledge about using museums and

discover the range of careers that museums offer.

Cultural Appreciation and Participation

• Students who visit art museums often develop an appreciation for cultural organizations and

are more likely to use museums as a resource for life-long learning in the arts.