Student Tours

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Click the button above to book your tour. Be prepared to provide the following information with your request:

  • Name of your school or organization
  • Contact name, phone number, e-mail and mailing address
  • Number of students in your group and their grade level
  • Date and time you would like your tour
  • Tour option from the 'Student Tour Options' tab below

Have a question? Contact the Tour Scheduler at 210.805.1767 or e-mail

Free Student Tours 

There are no admission fees or charges for docent-led student tours. Please bring one adult for every ten students. Adults exceeding the ratio 1:5 are asked to pay the regular adult group tour admission (varies during select exhibitions).


Dear Teaching Colleague, 
The McNay docents are very pleased to welcome you and your students to the museum.

In this Student Tour Playlist, you’ll find information about tours linking your curriculum to works of art on view throughout the museum, both in our Main Collection Galleries and the Stieren Center for Exhibitions. You will also find information about special exhibitions that are on view for a limited time. Help us plan your tour by reviewing all five tracks and choosing carefully ONE track for your tour. Once you’ve looked over the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on touring days, group sizes, and bus costs, then you’re ready to contact our Scheduler and book a tour. 

If you want to see everything at the McNay, plan more than one visit or ask to stay longer than an hour. It’s free for scheduled student groups, and no matter how often you come, we look forward to sharing our love of art and making your tour a part of the wide-ranging learning experiences available for your students.

Lee Barry
Docent Chair, 2017–2018

The Docent Program is generously funded by the Peggy Pitman Mays Docent Fund.

Tour Options

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Spring 2018: Student Tour Playlist 

Five tracks to choose from

Track 1: Museum Highlights

Step into a masterpiece! View highlights of the collection and exhibitions based on your group's size and grade level. 

Track 2: Art & the Curriculum

Choose ONE of the following curriculum-related tours:

Angles on Art

Geometry and Art Selected for TEKS for K–5. Discover how geometry affects what we see in art and architecture.

Tales & Traditions

Art, Language Arts, and Social Studies selected for TEKS for K–5. Link themes of family, identity, and cultural heritage with works of art. Think critically, draw conclusions, and make creative discoveries about how art reflects social and historical messages. 

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART & Math)

Science, Technology, and Art TEKS selected for grades 6–12. Apply STEAM concepts in real world situations. Look for and describe evidence of artist experimentation, invention, and imagination.

Email for lesson plans and TEKS. 

Joel Shapiro, Untitled, 2000. Painted aluminum. Collection of the McNay Art Museum.

Track 3: Have it Your Way!

Customize your options. With works from the McNay’s collection always on view in the Main Collection Galleries and in the Stieren Center, seeing the whole museum takes more than 45 minutes. Help us plan your tour by identifying priorities for your visit.

You may indicate up to THREE priorities of artists or themes you’d like your students to see. Tell us:

1. MUST see
2. Also nice to see
3. Only if there's time

Students also see other highlights of the McNay. 

Track 4: Hero or Villain?

Nobody’s perfect. See tricksters, warriors, saints, to name a few. On this tour, discover legendary heroes, despicable villains, shocking secrets, and tragic deaths. Hear the stories behind the legends and consider the challenging identities of heroes and villains.

Gabrielle Dumontet, Head of Medusa, 1906. Bronze with electric lights. Collection of the McNay Art Museum.

Track 5: Spring 2018 Exhibitions

Choose TWO from the following list of exhibitions:

Something to Say: The McNay Presents 100 Years of African American Art
February 8 | May 6, 2018

This exhibition allows students to reflect on a variety of African American experiences and examine how artists have expressed personal, political, and racial identity over approximately 100 years. It is the first survey of modern and contemporary African American art at the McNay.

Charles Alston, Girl in a Red Dress, 1934. Oil on canvas. The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Foundation for the Arts

30 Americans: Rubell Family Collection

February 8 | May 6, 2018

Presented alongside Something to Say, 30 Americans focuses on issues of racial, sexual, and historical identity in contemporary culture while exploring the powerful influence of artistic legacy and community across generations.

Hank Willis Thomas, Basketball and Chain, 2003. Digital C-print. Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Haiti’s Revolution in Art: Jacob Lawrence’s Toussaint L’Ouverture Series
February 8 | May 6, 2018
As a student of American history, Jacob Lawrence was frustrated with the lack of narratives addressing the African American experience and the absence of black heroes from history books. Fascinated with Toussaint L’Ouverture (1743–1803), the leader of the 18th-century Haitian Revolution, Lawrence created 41 panels about L’Ouverture and the struggle for Haitian self-governance. He later created a portfolio of 15 screenprints based on the panels.

Jacob Lawrence, General Toussaint L’Ouverture from Toussaint L’Ouverture, 1986. Silkscreen. The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Foundation for the Arts.
© 2018 Jacob Lawrence / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York

Captain Seth Eastman’s Journey with a Sketchbook: Down the Mississippi
January 4 | April 1, 2018

Captain Seth Eastman, a West Point–trained draftsman, traveled to Texas in the late 1840s. The sketchbook follows Eastman’s journey down the Mississippi, across the Gulf of Mexico, then up to San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country. His drawings give students a vivid sense of what it would have been like to travel down the Mississippi in the mid-19th century.

Seth Eastman, Hunt’s Landing, 25 Miles Above Mouth of the Ohio River, Looking North, October 1848, from Sketchbook (detail), 1848-49. Graphite on paper. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Gift of the Pearl Brewing Company

100 Years of Printmaking in San Antonio: Mary Bonner
January 4 | April 1, 2018

Mary Bonner (1887–1935) was San Antonio’s first fine art printmaker. This exhibition includes Bonner’s West Texas subjects, as well as a few prints that seem to have been commissioned by Mrs. McNay from the artist, and Bonner’s recently restored copper etching plates. 

Mary Bonner, Two Dogs. Etching. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Bequest of Marion Koogler McNay

Cities on Parade: 300 Years of European Festival Books
March 1 | June 10, 2018

From the Rodeo’s Cattle Drive and Fiesta’s River Parade to New Year’s Eve fireworks at the Tower of the Americas and Cinco de Mayo mariachis in Market Square, public festivals express San Antonio’s history and identity. Rare books invite comparisons between the festivals of today and those organized by the Medici, Bourbons, Habsburgs, and other courts of Europe.

Remigio Cantagallina, Giulio Parigi. Ship of Jason, Guided by Pallas Athena, from The Argonautica, 1608. Etching. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Gift of Robert L. B. Tobin

Spain to San Antonio: Hispanic Culture on Stage
March 1 | June 10, 2018

To commemorate the 300th anniversary of the McNay’s home city, established as Presidio San Antonio de Béxar in 1718, this exhibition explores theatre’s fascination with the culture of San Antonio’s Spanish colonial founders. Operas, ballets, and revues are brought to life in a vibrant,
music-filled exhibition.

Carlos Mérida, Scene design for Carmen, ca. 1944. Gouache and graphite on paper. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Gift of The Tobin Endowment

Major support of the McNay’s educational programs is provided by the Semmes Foundation, Inc., the Valero Energy Foundation, the Mays Family Foundation, and the F.B. Doane Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Valero Benefit for Children, Rackspace, the Faye L. and William L. Cowden Charitable Foundation, and the Director’s Circle. Support for bus reimbursement is provided by donors to the McNay’s Fund-A-Bus program.


How much does a student tour cost?

There are no admission fees or charges for docent-led student tours. Please bring one adult for every ten students. Adults exceeding the ratio 1/5 are asked to pay the regular adult group tour admission (varies during select exhibitions).

How can we afford buses to bring students?

The McNay raises funds to cover the cost of school buses for the San Antonio-area schools that come for docent-led tours. To avoid conflict with TAKS or other school events, please verify possible dates with your principal and bus department before scheduling tours. For more information, contact us at

What days/times may we schedule a tour?

Student tours are available: 

  • 9:30 and 10:45 am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
  • Thursdays at 10:00 and 11:15 am 

If necessary you may request tours at other times in order to accommodate your schedule. The McNay is closed on Mondays. Student tours must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance

How many students may we bring on a tour?

Student tour groups should not exceed 120 participants. When you arrive at the museum, the docents will divide the group into smaller tour groups. Please bring one adult for every ten students. If you wish to bring a whole grade level with more than 120 students, ask for another day or time to bring the rest of the group.

How long do the tours last?

For grades K–3, tours last approximately 45 minutes. For grades 4 and up, tours last approximately 60 minutes. High school and college tours last approximately 60 minutes, or longer if requested.

How do I schedule a tour?

Click 'Book a student tour' below or call 210.805.1767. Be ready with: 

  • Name of your school and organization 
  • Contact name, phone number, e-mail and mailing address 
  • Number of students in your group 
  • Date and time you would like your tour 
  • Track option from this Playlist

Tour Prep

School Tour Guidelines

  • Bring one adult for every 10 students. Groups must be supervised by an adult at all times. We have recently updated our chaperone policy to admit one adult for every five students for free. Adults exceeding the 1/5 ratio are asked to pay the regular adult tour admission. Regular adult tour admission is $15 during Made in Germany: Contemporary Art from the Rubell Family Collection.
  • Food items, tote bags, and backpacks are not allowed inside the museum. Please have everyone leave these items on the bus.
  • Everyone is asked to stay an arm’s length away from any art object.This rule includes furniture along the walls. Climbing on outdoor sculptures is not allowed.
  • If you plan to have students write or sketch, please bring pencils only and a sturdy writing surface.
  • For security, closed circuit television cameras observe all galleries and record all activities.
  • The museum discourages students from taking photos during tours. After the tour, students may take photos outside on the grounds.
  • The Museum Store welcomes teachers, chaperones, and students in groups of 10 students or less at a time. Students must be chaperoned and supervised at all times while in the store. If you plan to visit the Museum Store, please do so after your tour.

Transportation requirements

  • Please print a copy of the map below for each bus driver. Bus drivers must follow the prescribed route. Buses may not use the circle drive at the museum's main entrance.


  • To request reimbursement from the McNay Bus Fund, please contact us at

Teacher requirements

  • Please have students wear boldly printed nametags (first name only).
  • Before arriving, the teacher in charge should know the exact number of students and adult chaperones coming on the tour. If this number changes, you must notify us immediately so that we can schedule the proper number of docents for your group.
  • If anyone in your group needs special arrangements, please let us know.