Free student-centered tours explore original works of art and promote:
- Close looking and thoughtful observation
- Conversation and personal response
- Analytical and creative thinking
- An appreciation for and understanding of art from a variety of cultures
Free tours correlate with the Alabama Courses of Study in visual art, social studies, language arts, mathematics, and science. Admission to the Museum is free.
Group tour scheduling
There are two ways to schedule a free docent-led tour:
- Use our online request form.
- Contact the Museum’s Education Department by phone at 205.254.2964.
Please schedule at least three weeks in advance. Tour bookings are made on a first-come, first-served basis. Tours are not confirmed until you receive a confirmation letter by email.
Free tours are available Tuesday through Friday 9am to 3:30pm; Saturday 10am to 3:30pm; and Sunday 12 noon to 3:30pm. All groups are admitted free to the Museum except for ticketed special exhibitions.
Your appointment is considered a firm commitment; docents (volunteer tour guides) are scheduled to be at the Museum specifically for your tour. To cancel a scheduled tour, please call the Museum 205.254.2964 at least 24 hours in advance, or your group will be invoiced a $50 late cancellation fee.
Want to tour on your own?
Self-guided groups are welcome to visit the Museum on their own. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your space at least three weeks in advance. Gallery space is limited.
Combine your visit with a trip to another institution!
If you would like to expand your field trip to include a visit to another nearby organization such as the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham Children’s Theater, McWane Science Center, Southern Museum of Flight, Vulcan Park, or Sloss Furnaces, the Museum is happy to work with you on timing. Just ask!
Important information about your tour
Arrival time and procedure
Museum staff and docents (volunteer tour guides) are ready to welcome your group 15 minutes before your scheduled tour time. Please meet your docent in the Main Lobby (on the second floor, inside the Rev. Abraham Woods, Jr. Boulevard entrance). If you are running late in transit, please call the Museum’s Education Department at 205.254.2571. If your group arrives more than 20 minutes late, the Education Department will assist you to reschedule the tour at a later date.
Please unload all buses in front of the Museum on Rev. Abraham Woods, Jr. Boulevard (formerly 8th Avenue North) across from Linn Park.
The Museum has limited parking for cars and vans. Please enter the Museum’s parking lot on Richard Arrington Boulevard between Rev. Abraham Woods, Jr. Boulevard and 9th Avenue North. Parking for buses is available in the 1800 block of 10th Avenue North, the 1000 block of 19th Street North, or under I-59 between 17th and 19th Streets North. Buses may park in metered or non-metered areas and may stay within the parking lines as long as they do not block other vehicles.
Accessibility and special needs
The Museum is fully accessible to all visitors. All tours can be adapted to accommodate your group. If your group has any special needs (i.e. English-language learners, disabilities), please let us know prior to your visit. For wheelchair access from the main entrance on Rev. Abraham Woods, Jr. Boulevard, please follow the garden path on the left side of the Museum and enter through the parking lot entrance.
Visitors are welcome to bring cameras to document their visit, although photography is not allowed in some areas of the Museum. Please refer to the Museum’s photography policy for more information. Please refrain from using cameras during tours.
Please refrain from using mobile phones (texting or talking) during tours.
To help preserve artworks, please keep a safe distance from the art; we recommend at least two feet. Please do not lean on walls or pedestals.
Only pencils are allowed in the galleries. For the Museum’s complete media policy, please contact the Education Department at 205.254.2571.
Visitors may enjoy a seasonal menu created with fresh local ingredients Tuesday through Friday for lunch, and on select Sundays at brunch. For group reservations and/or brunch schedule, click here or call 205.328.7850.
To help preserve our artworks, the galleries are slightly cool. You may wish to bring a light jacket or sweater.
Special considerations for school groups
To help our staff and docents best serve your group, we require at least one adult for every ten K4 through 3rd-grade students, and at least one adult for every fifteen 4th- through 12th-grade students. Chaperones should be familiar with the group’s schedule, stay with their group at all times, and help keep the group together. In order to avoid distracting students, we ask that chaperones refrain from “visiting” with other adults or students during the tour.
Please pre-divide students as evenly as possible into groups according to their age or grade, and match each group with at least one chaperone. Docents can accommodate up to 15 students per group.
If your school allows, please have students wear nametags that also include the school’s name.
Student participation is encouraged! Please ask students to be attentive and respectful of their docent; to use inside voices, gentle hands, and walking feet; and to avoid “visiting” with other students or adults during the tour.
Please do not plan activities, worksheets, etc. for students to complete during the tour. Activities may be completed after the tour.
The Museum does not have a lunchroom facility; no food, drink, or gum is allowed in our galleries. If you need a place to eat lunch, the Charles W. Ireland Sculpture Garden at the Museum may be available, weather permitting (please discuss with Education Department staff prior to your tour). Adjacent public spaces are the garden path (paved), located between the Museum and Boutwell Auditorium, and Linn Park (grass) just across Rev. Abrahams Woods, Jr. Boulevard.
During your visit, students may shop at the Museum Store. A maximum of 10 children with at least one adult chaperone are allowed in the Museum Store at any given time.
Please leave backpacks, heavy coats, umbrellas, and other unnecessary articles on the bus or in the car.