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.

Sue Clement

Docent Chair, 2018–2019

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

Tour Options

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Spring 2019: Student Tour Playlist 

Four tracks to choose from

Track 1: Museum Highlights

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

Track 2: Art & the Curriculum

Choose ONE of the following curriculum-related tours:

Angles on Art

Identify geometric principles at work in art and architecture. Geometry and Art TEKS Selected for K–5.

Tales & Traditions

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. Art, Language Arts, and Social Studies TEKS selected for K–5.

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

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

Hero or Villain?

Nobody's perfect. Discover the stories behind legendary heroes and despicable villains. Art, Language Arts, and Social Studies selected TEKS for K–12.

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. 

Daum Frères, White Mice Vase, ca. 1905. Etched, applied, and wheel-carved glass. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Jeanne and Irving Mathews Collection of Art Glass.

Track 4: Spring 2019 Exhibitions

Choose TWO from the following list of exhibitions:

American Dreams: Classic Cars and Postwar Paintings

February 14 | May 19, 2019

Explore the ingenuity and innovation of postwar America. Also known as America’s Golden Age, this period witnessed the explosion of Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, and Op art, as well as the mass production and styling of automobiles. American Dreams presents 10 classic cars from the 1950s and 1960s alongside paintings from the same era. For the first time in history, Corvette and Camaro share space with Robert Indiana and Ed Ruscha.

Chevrolet Camero, 1969. Collection of Larry Mills.

Van Gogh to Munch: Seduction and Anxiety

February 14 | May 5, 2019

The end of the 19th century gave rise in Europe to heightened anxiety about the future. Trace the development of art focused on the inner world of the human mind, from Vincent van Gogh’s penetrating portrait of his last medical doctor, Paul-Ferdinand Gachet, to a claustrophobic interior by Edvard Munch.

Vincent van Gogh, Portrait of Dr. Gachet, 1890. Etching. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Gift of the Friends of the McNay, 1980.19.

Estampas Chicanas
January 17 | May 5, 2019

Meet the Chicana artists who have had to fight to make their voices and perspectives heard in important conversations about social progress. Artworks in this exhibition include works by Judy Baca, Patssi Valdez, Barbara Carrasco, Ester Hernández, Alma López, and others.

Barbara Carrasco, Dolores, 2002. Screenprint. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Gift of Harriett and Ricardo Romo, 2013.27.

Cande Aguilar: barrioPOP

Through March 17, 2019

South Texas-based artist and musician Cande Aguilar brings his distinctive barrioPOP style to the McNay with an immersive installation featuring large-scale paintings, collages, and digital video elements. Inspired by graffiti and street art, popular culture, and border politics, Aguilar’s vibrant artworks reflect the artist’s experience of living and working in the Rio Grande Valley. Cande Aguilar, Land of Peace, 2007. Oil, acrylic, oil stick, fabric paint, spray paint, and found object on panel.

Cande Aguilar, Land of Peace, 2007. Oil, acrylic, oil stick, fabric paint, spray paint, and found object on panel. Courtesy of the artist.

America on Stage

March 21 | June 30, 2019

From the windswept plains of Oklahoma! to the densely packed apartments of New Year City's In the Heights, America remains a source of inspiration for many landmark productions. Drawn from the renowned Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts, America on Stage celebrates the uniquely diverse work of 20th- and 21st-century American designers on stages at home and abroad.

Douglas Schmidt, Scene design for Grease, 1972. Collage on board with acrylic, ink, and varnish. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Gift of Robert L. B. Tobin, TL1999.287.

Major support of the McNay’s educational programs is provided by Semmes Foundation, Inc., Mays Family Foundation, Valero Energy Foundation, the Dan and Gloria Oppenheimer Fund, and the F.B. Doane Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Dickson-Allen Foundation, Jack H. and William M. Light Charitable Trust, the Faye L. and William L. Cowden Charitable Foundation, Rackspace, and the Director’s Circle.


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: 

  • Wednesdays & Fridays starting at 9:30 am
  • Thursdays starting at 10:00am

If necessary you may request tours at other times in order to accommodate your schedule. Tours are available during business hours on the weekends. 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 at least one adult for every 10 students. Groups must be supervised by an adult at all times. A maximum of one adult for every five students will be admitted for free. Adults exceeding the 1:5 ratio are asked to pay the adult group discount rate of $15 during our Special Exhibitions.
  • Food items, tote bags, and backpacks are not allowed inside the museum. Please have everyone leave these items on the bus.
  • Look at art, but avoid touching it, including outdoor sculptures.
  • 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.
  • Photography without flash is allowed in the permanent collection galleries.
  • 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,notify us immediately so that we can schedule the proper number of docents for your group.
  • When you arrive, check in with the front desk and let them know the number of students and adult chaperones with your group.
  • If anyone in your group needs special arrangements, please let us know.
  • Consult the Student Tour Information Packet attached to your confirmation email. If you did not receive the packet, you can email to request one.
  • If you are running late or need to cancel your tour, please notify the Front Desk at 210.805.1783 AND call the Scheduler at 210.805.1767.