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K-12 Educational Resources

University Museums provides educational resources for K-12 educators. Exhibitions incorporate a range of activities comprising worksheets, interactive tours, and lesson plans. 

Would you like to bring your class or group to the University Museums to participate in a tour? We offer creative tours that incorporate concepts from syllabi or SOLs that are based on your interests and needs. Tours can include interactive games, activities and discussion. 

For more information on educational resources, or to request materials, please contact Martha Wright at or (804) 287-1258.

Field Trips

K-12, homeschool educators, and other groups are welcome to bring their classes to the University Museums for an interactive educational field trip.

Field Trips typically last an hour, and include 30 minutes of content discussion, 15 minutes of an activity, and 15 minutes of exploration. Content discussion and activity will be arranged according to your class grade, class size, and SOL/curriculum focus. The duration of the visit can be adapted to accommodate the needs of the group. 

PDF is available with the complete listing of Virginia SOLs addressed during your visit to the University Museums.

Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature
The Lora Robins Gallery has a wide collection ranging from natural sciences to decorative arts. Recent visits have included content on:

  • Mollusks and Coral
  • Virginia Rocks and Resources
  • Rock Cycle and Rock Types
  • Minerals/Mineralogy and Gemstones
  • Fossils
  • Byzantine Coins

Recent activities at the Lora Robins Gallery have included:

  • Sketching
  • Tracing fossils
  • Play dough molds
  • Playdough rock cycle
  • Mineral matching
  • Scavenger Hunts

Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center
The Print Study Center has a large collection of works on paper with artists ranging from the 17th century through contemporary. Previous visits have included content on:

  • Printmaking Processes (intaglio, lithography, and screen-print)
  • William Hogarth (English, 1697-1764)
  • Francisco Goya (Spanish, 1746-1828)
  • Honoré Daumier (French, 1808-1879)
  • Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987)

Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art
The Harnett Museum features approximately 10 rotating exhibitions each year. Educators can request a tour and activity according to the exhibition of interest. Activities in the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum have included:

  • Movement (interpreting art through body movement)
  • Blind drawings (sketches created entirely by verbal descriptions)
  • Small group discussion worksheets (topics have included business, psychology, performing arts, etc.)
  • Sketching (free style drawing in the gallery)

For more information about current and upcoming exhibitions, visit the exhibitions page

To request a visit for your group, please submit the Tour Request Form, or contact Martha Wright at, or (804) 287-1258.


Museum in a Box

Museum in a Box brings the University Museums’ collections to K-12 classrooms with subjects including Virginia Rocks and Geology, Prints and Printmaking, and Mollusks and Coral Reefs. Each box includes lesson plans based on the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL), relevant activities, and touchable specimens and objects. The boxes provide students with a platform to acquire knowledge through object based learning, discussion, observation, and investigation.  

How does Museum in a Box work?
Museum in a Box is available for teachers to borrow for free on a two-week basis. Materials can be used as a supplement to existing course work, though an organized lesson plan and activities are included in the Box.

 Important information about the Box:

  • Please note that there may be special directions for specific specimens
  • Reservations should be made at least one month in advance
  • Educators are responsible for picking up the Box at the University Museums
  • Educators must return the Box to the University Museums with the contents and lesson plans in place

VA Rocks! Museum in a Box
The VA Rocks Box includes a small binder of information, touchable specimens, and recommended activities. Binder information includes:

  • Mineralogy
  • Rock Types/Cycle
  • VA Rocks
  • VA Resources
  • Basic information on fossils and plate tectonics

Specimens from all five regions in VA include (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Sandstones
  • Kyanite
  • Talc
  • Dolomite
  • Marble
  • Granite
  • Shale
  • Coal
  • And two types of Fossils (Chesapectin jeffersonius and Petrified wood)

 Activities included in the box are:

  • Making sedimentary and metamorphic rocks (adapted from Lemon Lime Adventures)
  • Mineral identification
  • Mining minerals with play dough
  • Mineral Consumption (provided by USGS)          
  • Plate tectonics with an orange peel (provided by USGS)

 Printed and laminated visuals include:

  • Geologic provinces of VA with rock examples
  • Map of VA
  • Earth Cutout
  • Volcanic Cutout
  • Mohs Hardness Scale

Mollusks and Coral Reef Box:
The Mollusks and Coral Reef Box includes a small binder of information and touchable specimens. Th e information includes:

  • What are Mollusks (the classes and anatomy)
  • Evolution of Mollusks
  • Habitats & Coral Reefs
  • Human impact 

Specimens included are varieties of gastropod shells and bivalve shells, both terrestrial and marine.

Suggested activities in the box include:

  • a math exercise
  • identification (visual analysis)
  • creating stuffed bivalves with craft materials
  • a crafted classroom size coral reef.

To request a Museum in a Box for your class please submit the Tour Request Form, or contact Martha Wright at or (804) 287-1258.

Story Time for Young Audiences

The Museums offers a Story Time activity for children ranging in preschool – 1st grade ages. Story time involves:

  • Coloring sheets
  • A short song with American Sign Language
  • Interactive gallery visit, lots of questions and exploration of concepts and content
  • Reading of a picture book relative to the gallery exhibition
  • Activity based on the book/exhibition that results in a take-home product

To request a Story Time visit for your group, please submit the Tour Request Form, or contact Martha Wright at or (804) 287-1258.

Self-Guided Visits

University Museums are open Sunday through Friday from 1 to 5 pm. To book a group tour outside of normal business hours, please submit the Tour Request Form, or contact Martha Wright at, or (804) 287-1258.

A scavenger hunt is available for free at the Lora Robins Gallery. The scavenger hunt gives direction to your visit while allowing visitors to see the collection at their leisure.