Museum School Initiatives

K–12 Education

Museum-School Collaborations

The Phillips Musum-School Initiatives create dynamic communities of learning among students, teachers, and museum educators around great works of art in the museum. The Phillips Collection values in-depth museum-school collaborations, spurring creative school-wide projects that kindle innovative teaching methods, engage students, and build academic communities. 

Art Links to Learning, formerly Art Links to Literacy, is The Phillips Collection’s award-winning educational program for DC Public Schools and DC Public Charter Schools (Mayor’s Art Award, 2007). Art Links includes a variety of curricula based on the museum’s collection. Art Links programs promote arts integration, weaving visual arts with other core curriculum areas such as language arts, social studies, and science while helping students develop twenty-first century skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. Art Links includes multiple collaborations, including our Museum-in-Residence program and partnerships with Live It Learn It and DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative. To meet our community’s need for more productive teaching and learning, the Phillips has developed innovative methods that have been shown to enhance teaching and to increase student engagement and understanding.

The creative, hands-on Art Links approach reflects the spirit of inquiry, experimentation, and intimacy advocated by museum founder Duncan Phillips. The program has been recognized for its success by local and national organizations, including the National Art Education Association and the American Alliance of Museums.

Art Links to Learning takes a whole-school approach to engage teachers, students, and the school community. The program includes:

  • Professional development and in-school office hours for teachers, provided by Phillips educators
  • In-classroom workshops led by Phillips educators
  • Class visits to the Phillips, in which students explore the visual language that artists use to tell stories, then translate a story moment into collage in the art workshop
  • Art Links classroom curriculum implemented by teachers which combine art, language arts, and areas such as narrative structure and storytelling, culminating in a collaborative three-panel visual and written narrative
  • A Community Celebration at the Phillips to commemorate the work of teachers and students

student artwork from Teach with O'KeeffeTeach with O’Keeffe began as a collaboration with teachers who used Georgia O’Keeffe’s art and life as catalysts to learning in language arts, science, social studies, and the performing and visual arts in connection with the traveling exhibition Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction. Phillips educators developed this museum-based, national model with colleagues at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Participating schools included the Capitol Hill Cluster School, West Side Collaborative Middle School, and Turquoise Trail Elementary School.

student artwork from Teach with Jacob LawrenceTeach with Jacob Lawrence explores the relationship between art and education across the United States. Six diverse museum-school communities partnered on a traveling exhibition and innovation education program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts of Lawrence’s Migration Series, resulting in a Young Artists Exhibition of arts-integrated student work from Texas to New York to Illinois.


In 2009, The Phillips Collection worked to create a group artwork inspired by the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude with Bruce Monroe at Parkview, a District of Columbia Public School in the Columbia Heights/Parkview neighborhoods of Washington, DC, and Kenmore Middle School in Arlington, Virginia, a public school in Arlington County, Virginia, with a focus on arts and communications technology. Participating teachers included Eric Ginsburg and Lynn Hommeyer (Bruce Monroe at Parkview) and Jeff Wilson and Shauna Dyer (Kenmore Middle School). 


The Paul Klee mentor teachers were selected from the museum’s National Paul Klee Teacher Institute held in June 2006. The Klee mentor teachers identified concepts in Klee’s art to teach lessons in language arts, math, and science, as well as visual arts. The Center for Early Education is an independent day school in Los Angeles; participating teachers included Penny Landreth, Keven Barrett, Gayle Gerber, and Judy Weiskopf. The City Collegiate Public Charter School was a Washington, DC, public charter middle school. Participating teachers included Alison Squire and Georgia Stockdale.Stafford Elementary School is a Title I school in rural Virginia; participating teachers included Kevin McCloskey, Jacke Mumpower, Mary Ellen McCable, and Marce Miller.

Students' Work | Classroom to Museum


Participating schools included Lowell School, Washington, DC (teacher, Barbara Mandel); Woodrow Wilson High School, Washington, DC (teacher, Carole Huberman). 

Lowell Students' Work | Classroom to Museum

Woodrow Wilson Students' Work | Classroom to Museum


Participating schools included Bryant Adult Alternative High School, Alexandria, Virginia (teachers Rachel Albert and Missy Haney), which connected students' analysis of the painting to a challenging English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) curriculum and their own lives and cultures; Horace Mann Elementary School, Washington, D.C. (teacher Paige Byrne), which created modern-day interpretations of the painting through dioramas of local scenes and celebrations; and the National Cathedral School, Washington, DC (teacher, Sandra "Sandy" Leibowitz), in which students dressed as figures in the painting and interviewed each other in French.

Bryant Students' Work | Classroom to Museum

Horace Mann Students' Work | Classroom to Museum

National Cathedral School Students' Work | Classroom to Museum