“Welcoming School or Youth Tours.” In Tour Toolkit: Developing an Inclusive Tour, by .
Minneapolis: Minneapolis Institue of Art, 2019. https://artsmia.github.io/tour-toolkit/welcome/school/.
“Welcoming School or Youth Tours.” Tour Toolkit: Developing an Inclusive Tour, by ,
Minneapolis Institue of Art, 2019. https://artsmia.github.io/tour-toolkit/welcome/school/. Accessed DD Mon. YYYY.
Move to a quiet space for your introduction, so the whole group is better able to focus and hear what is said. Introduce yourself and, if comfortable, include your preferred pronouns (e.g., she/her/hers) within your introduction.
Before moving to another floor, ask the group (including chaperones) if anyone has need of an elevator. If someone does need to use the elevator, try to bring the whole group that way instead of separating.
Spend time at the start setting the expectations for behavior by letting the students create a list of shared expectations and museum rules. This sets a conversational tone of the tour and lets the students know you will listen to their responses. If they do not cover all the rules, add any additional points in positive language. Framing the rules as “dos” rather than “don’ts” is a positive way to share expectations, such as “Do walk, do stay with the group, do use indoor voices, and do stay a foot away from the art.”
Visitors sense if you are friendly and accessible from your words, facial expressions, and body language. Smile and show your sense of humor. A tour is a fun activity!
Establish good eye contact and voice level with the group. Check that everyone can hear you, even at the back of the group. Norms for eye contact vary. If you do not get eye contact back from some students, that is all right.
Use inclusive language (all, everybody, everyone, you all, friends, students, second-graders, etc.) and avoid gender binaries (e.g., boys/girls).
Clearly convey the theme of the tour. For Art Adventure tours, when the students have received information about the theme in their classroom, ask them to share what they remember about the theme at the start of the tour. Set a common expectation for what you will be exploring together at Mia.
Reach out to the chaperones in your group, welcoming them to Mia as well as noting how they will help you with group management during the tour. Directly ask them for help in keeping the group together, walking safely through the galleries, and staying a foot away from the art. If you have multiple chaperones, assign them to stations at various parts of the group, with one or two acting as the “caboose” at the end to keep all students together. Some docents and guides also make a point of checking back in with the chaperones mid-tour to let them know if more proactive help is needed with group management or thank them for keeping the group moving safely.
If the students arrive with legible name tags, use their names. Using names at the start helps you develop rapport with the group and drive more engagement during the tour. If you have a concern of mispronouncing any names, ask the students how to pronounce their names at the start of the tour and ask to be corrected if you mispronounce names later. (For more on the importance of names to foster inclusion, see this article link.)
At the start, mention that you hope to hear their opinions, questions, and ideas throughout the tour. No one has all the answers, including you! Art offers itself to multiple observations, interpretations, and viewpoints.
For tours with younger students (preschool to first grade), adapt your expectations and realize that this experience may be their first visit to a museum. The tour should focus on exploration rather than information.