Student Programs

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.

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

The Star-Bearer: A Creation Myth from Ancient Egypt

Children will listen to The Star-Bearer: A Creation Myth from Ancient Egypt before looking at the beautifully painted image of the separation of earth and sky on the coffin of Tahat in the Egyptian Galleries. Children will create their own piece of sky on cloth before engaging in imaginative play to lift up the sky from the earth, just like in the story.

The Coming of Night

The Coming of Night is a Yoruba creation myth from West Africa that explains how the cool darkness of the night came to be. After hearing the story and looking at the art of the Yoruba in the exhibition African Cosmos: Stellar Arts, children will make “creatures of the night” rubbings using conté crayons.

Creation Stories of African Cosmos: Stellar Arts

Travel across Africa, stopping along the way to discover creation stories from the Tabwa, Khoi San, Yoruba,and ancient Egypt, with Ghanaian storyteller, Griselda Lartey, before creating images with Adinkra stamps from the Asante of Ghana.

Why the Sky is Far Away

The Bini of Nigeria have been telling Why the Sky is Far Away to their children for more than 500 years to teach them the importance of respecting the earth and sky. Like the people in the story who now must grow their own food, children will plant seedlings to take home and care for.

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.

African Cosmos Tour and Planetarium VIsit — February-April only
On Wednesdays, from February 4 - April 29, the Carlos Museum offers a special interdisciplinary experience in conjunction with the exhibition African Cosmos: Stellar Arts. The Emory University Planetarium has created a unique program designed to connect the depictions of solar, stellar, and lunar phenomenon in the exhibition with the study of them in the sky. 

The 40-minute tour and 40-minute planetarium program are offered back-to-back at 10 and 11 am ON WEDNESDAYS ONLY. 

The cost for the tour is $6 per student; there is no additional cost for the planetarium program. The planetarium program may NOT be booked as a stand alone program. 

To schedule this special program, contact Alyson Vuley at 404-727-0519 or
School Tours
Why should students visit the Carlos Museum? Because throughout time and across cultures, human beings have taken the materials of the earth and created works of art that express their humanity. From the most beautiful work of sculpture to the humblest ceramic pot; these objects reveal the stories of civilization, from belief systems to political philosophies, to societal roles and structures, to patterns of daily life. 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).
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.  The Common Core suggests that enduring, mythological stories are essential knowledge and can be the means to practice fundamental learning techniques.  Docent guided tours of the Carlos museums’ collections introduce students to critical-thinking, problem-solving, and the analytical skills that are the basis of the Common Core. In the museum, students are asked to discuss imagery based on mythological subjects, the sequence of events, and to find the main character. Learning in a museum setting builds vocabulary and connects their 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.  The Carlos Museum’s can be an extension of the classroom and invites you to bring your classes to explore the stories of civilization.

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 Rome, South Asia, Art of the Ancient Americas, and Sub-Saharan Africa), or curriculum-based theme tours designed to meet Georgia Performance Standards. See below for curriculum based themes:

Elementary School

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. What meaning might the shapes have?  How were they significant to people from long ago who made them? This 45-minute experience includes gallery explorations in small groups with museum docents.  Students draw shapes and symbols, hear ancient stories from Egypt, Greece, or south Asia, and decorate their hands with roller stamps based on the geometric shapes and patterns from the ancient Americas. NEW Fall 2014

Resources for Objects Have Stories to Tell:
PDF Kindergarten Standards:

Archaeology. 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. They will discover the role of x-rays, chemical analysis, and other scientific techniques that contribute to an archaeologist’s understanding of an object.

Mythology. The Carlos collections abound with images from favorite mythological stories. Put a Percy Jackson spin on the Greek collection and see the Greek myths through the Rick Riordan characters. In the Egyptian galleries explore the battle between Seth and Osiris, and learn about the "weighing of the heart". The Art of the Americas includes the ancient Andean, Maya, and native north American peoples and their imagery. Students can explore character, plot, and setting, but also the larger meanings 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. Visit for the Greek Passport booklet for students, Majority Rules vocabulary, and a follow up lesson plan.

Middle School

7th Grade:  Continuity and Change: Material Culture in 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. Oil lamps, pilgrim flasks, and images of Jonah swimming represent only a few of the objects created during the formative years of Judaism and Christianity. 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 images based on imported objects such as umbrellas, top hats, and teapots. 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.

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.

African Kingdoms. Explore the great African kingdoms including the Asante, Yoruba, and the ancient kingdom of Ethiopia. Students will be introduced to images of power in warrior figures, elite jewelry, ritual weapons, and objects that represent spiritual power contained in masks and a magnificent egungun costume. Objects that reflect the influence of European colonization can be seen in traditional shrine sculptures that include images based on imported objects such as umbrellas, top hats, and teapots. 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 to much of the world. For additional resources for the African collections, see Discovery Outreach Program Royal Class: Kente, Gold Trade and the Asante Kingdom.

High School

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 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.
Funding for Field Trips
Need help funding transportation for a Museum visit?
A generous member of the Carlos Museum's Advisory Board and the Emory Women's Club has given funding to support the cost of bus transportation to the Museum for Title I schools.  K-12 teachers may receive up to $300 towards the cost of bus transportation.  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
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 students per hour. Grade levels larger than 65 may schedule back to back tours. Length of Tour: 50 minutes.

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.

Confirmation: You will receive an email confirming your tour date and time and invoicing you for payment.

Directions: Directions to the Museum and Parking Information.

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.


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