Student Tours

Student Tour Playlist

Student tours are FREE at the McNay!

Docent-led student tours are FREE! Please bring one adult for every ten students. Adults exceeding the ratio 1:5 pay a discounted adult admission of $15. We kindly ask that all tours are booked at least two weeks in advance.

To book a tour, review the information below. Once you are ready, click the "Book a Tour" button above. Be prepared with the following information:

  • Name of your school or organization
  • Contact name, phone number, and e-mail address
  • Number of students in your group and their grade level
  • Choice of two dates and times
  • Tour option from the Student Tour Playlist or the Tour Options tab below

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


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 four tracks and choosing carefully ONE track for your tour. Once you’ve looked over the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for information about touring days, group sizes, and bus costs, then you’re ready to
 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.

Linda Smith
Docent Chair, 2019–2020

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

Tour Options

Spring 2020: Student Tour Playlist

Choose ONE from the following four tracks:

Track 1: Museum Highlights

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

Robert Indiana, LOVE, 1966, cast 2002. Painted aluminum. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Museum purchase. © Morgan Art Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

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 grades 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 grades 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.

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: Spring 2020 Exhibitions

Choose TWO from the following list of exhibitions:

Fashion Nirvana: Runway to Everyday

January 30 | May 17, 2020

From gowns to grunge, Fashion Nirvana: Runway to Everyday marks the first large-scale fashion and video art exhibition in McNay history. This innovative installation celebrates designers, models, celebrities, photographers, and video artists who made the 90s an iconic decade. 

Gianni Versace, Dress, 1994. Rayon, acetate, silk, metal and rhinestones. Collection of Phoenix Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Kelly Ellman. Photograph: Ken Howie.

Selena Forever/Siempre Selena

January 15 | July 5, 2020

The McNay pays tribute to 90s icon, singer, designer, and Texas legend—Selena Quintanilla-Pérez—with five photographs by award-winning San Antonio photographer John Dyer. 

John Dyer, Selena (detail),1992. Archival ink on paper. Collection of the artist.

What You See is What You See

November 21, 2019 | May 17, 2020

This exhibition presents the McNay’s strong collection of Minimalist and Conceptual prints, including a suite of four woodcuts by Donald Judd. Both the Minimalist and Conceptual art movements challenged the existing ideas about how art should be made, distributed, and viewed. Artists within these movements argued against the importance given to an art object, indicating it leads to an elitist art work enjoyed only be the privileged few.

Frank Stella, Honduras Lottery Co. from Multicolored Squares, State II, 1973. Lithograph. Collection of McNay Art Museum, Gift of John M. Parker Jr. © Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Goya's Caprichos and the Human Condition

March 5 | June 7

Francisco Goya was a great Spanish painter and printmaker known as the last of the old masters and the first of the moderns. In his famous Los Caprichos series of prints, Goya critiques society and pokes fun at the weaknesses of the human character. Included in the exhibition are four very rare working proofs for the Caprichos, offering an opportunity to see different quality impressions from the same suite in one gallery space.

Francisco de Goya, Que Sacrificio! (What a Sacrifice) from Los Caprichos, ca. 1795. Etching, aquatint, and drypoint with ink. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Bequest of Mrs. Jerry Lawson.

Robert L.B. Tobin: Collector, Curator, Visionary

January 9 | June 7, 2020

Organized as a companion exhibition to Picasso to Hockney: Modern Art on Stage, Painting for Performance presents an array of designs by five visual artists who ventured into the world of performance.

David Salle and Jeff Koons, costumes for Contempt, 1989. Courtesy of Armitage Gone! Dance, New York. David Salle, Backdrop for Contempt, 1989. Courtesy of Armitage Gone! Dance, New York. Photograph by E. Lee Smith

Lead funding of the McNay’s educational programs is most generously provided by Kronkosky Charitable Foundation.

Major funding is provided by Semmes Foundation, Inc., Mays Family Foundation, and William Randolph Hearst Fund. Additional support is provided by Jack H. and William M. Light Charitable Trust, Valero Benefit for Children, and the William L. Cowden Charitable Foundation.


How much does a student tour cost?

Student tours are free! Chaperones also receive free admission up to 1 adult for every 5 students. Adults exceeding the 1:5 ratio are asked to pay a discounted adult admission of $15.

How can we afford buses to bring students?

The McNay offers bus reimbursement for docent-guided school visits, up to $250 per bus. Email for more information.

What days/times may we schedule a tour?

Student tours must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance and are available:

  • Wednesdays and Fridays starting at 9:30am
  • Thursdays & Saturdays starting at 10:00am.
  • Sundays starting at 12:00pm.

The McNay is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

How many students may we bring on a tour?

We can accomodate up to 120 participants at one tour time. When you arrive at the museum, the docents divide your group into smaller tour groups. Please bring one adult for every ten students. If you wish to bring more than 120 students, please email or call 210.805.1767.

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." 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

If you have any questions or special requests, please email or call 210.805.1767.

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 name tags (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.