Museum Resources for Educators

About Museum Resources

The museums listed below received funding from the Freeman Foundation to enhance educational resources based around their collections. These museum resources for K-12 educators were developed in conjunction with NCTA alumni and museum educators. Resources include lesson plans, curriculum units, and other media focusing on East Asian Art.

Birmingham Museum of Art Resources for K-12 Educators

The Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA) features a wide collection of resources through their Culture Bridge: E-Learning Across Asia page created by educators, for educators, to enhance the study of Asian culture through art. Individual activities can stand alone or be combined to form teaching units. Additionally, the BMA features over 2,000 items in the collection available digitally as well as deeper dive "Director's Cut" videos featuring an extensive exploration of specific items in the collection.

To learn more, please visit their website:

Brooklyn Museum of Art Resources for K-12 Educators

The Brooklyn Museum of Art features a wide collection of online resources and teaching materials, ranging from downloadable PDFs showcasing particular collection items to online curriculum units that span the breadth of their collection.

The Arts of China Teaching Toolkit is designed for third grade teachers and their students with the goal of enriching their exploration of Chinese art and culture. The lessons focus on artworks from the Brooklyn Museum’s Chinese collection and exhibitions. The Arts of China collection ranges from the Neolithic era (circa 3000 B.C.E.) to today, revealing the sophistication of Chinese craftsmanship and the variety of concerns—funerary, courtly, religious, and poetic—that combined to define traditional Chinese culture. The works also demonstrate an enduring respect for antiquity as well as novel, contemporary approaches to time-honored materials such as ink and bronze.  The Arts of China Teaching Toolkit includes twelve individual lessons, divided into three thematic units: Geography and Environment, Belief Systems, and Global Exchange. Lessons are meant to be standalone but can also be combined with other lessons in the toolkit. 

To learn more and access the toolkit, please visit:

The Arts of East Asia curricular resources are designed for third grade teachers and their students with the goal of enriching their studies of East Asian art and cultures. Six new lessons expand on themes in the Arts of China Teaching Toolkit, providing opportunities for deeper explorations of artistic, spiritual, and community practices across cultures. Lessons are divided into three units—Ceramic Traditions, Arts of Buddhism, and Community—and highlight works of art from Korea, Japan, and Tibet. 

To learn more and access the curriculum resources, please visit:

Detroit Institute of Arts Resources for K-12 Educators

The Detroit Institute of Arts features detailed curriculum units, developed by NCTA alumni Angie Stokes, focusing on cross-curricular key areas such as images, objects and ideas that integrate items held in the DIA collection. These lesson materials including readings, graphic organizers, and activities which will enhance student experiences both in their own classrooms and during their gallery and virtual visits to the DIA. Additionally, video presentations highlighting the key areas featured in the curriculum units are available. The DIA also features a digital compendium of over 60,000 items featured in their collection.

To learn more, please visit their website:

Minneapolis Institute of Art Resources for K-12 Educators

The Minneapolis Institute of Art include a wide range of materials for K–12 educators and learners.  The MIA's "Teaching the Arts" offers curriculum materials highlighting either “Object in Focus” features for a deep dive into a favorite artwork or “Five Facts” for thematic explorations of topics including math, music, peace, and food. All of the “Teaching the Arts” resources include connections to other artworks and suggested classroom activities. Beyond these excellent resources, the MIA provides numerous online resources based around items in their collection as well as thematic areas of interest within their collection.

To lean more, please visit:

Oberlin College: Allen Memorial Art Museum Resources for K-12 Educators

The Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College offers an excellent set of resources and lesson plans on their Arts of Asia in Reach program. The museum's Arts of Asia In Reach effort is comprised of three components: a Learning Asian Art Syllabus for grades K-12; Asian Art In-Reach to the Oberlin public schools, which has brought Asian arts directly to local classrooms; and community days and workshops that involve local children, youth, and their families in the study and creation of Asian art outside the classroom during the summer and over the school year. Additionally, the Allen Memorial Art Museum offers other resources based around the other pieces in their collection.

To learn more, please visit:

To view our "Perspectives in East Asian Art" collaboration workshop with the Allen Memorial Museum of Art on October 29, 2020, please click here.

Penn Museum: Resources for K-12 Educators

The Penn Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania offers a range of programs focusing primarily on Archeology and Anthropology. The museum offers a selection of award-winning virtual programs, Artifact Loan Boxes program for local teachers as well as a range of downloadable resources structured around particular regions of the world. Additionally, the Penn Museum's Inquiry into China Program exploring Chinese culture and tie ancient traditions to present-day practices through Inquiry into China. This program, developed for students in 3rd-5th grade, uses the Museum’s incredible Chinese objects to teach intercultural communication skills and promote understanding of Chinese influences in our daily lives. Students will receive an outreach lesson and a visit to the Penn Museum taught by a Chinese educator where they will participate in a guided tour and interactive workshop, all for free, including transportation.

To Learn more, please visit:

The Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art: Resources for K-12 Educators

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art features a wide range of educational resources including select lesson plans, classroom activities, and teaching posters for display in your classroom. Additionally, the museum offers 40,000 high resolution images of items in its collection as well as wealth of blogs and podcasts focusing on particular pieces, collections, or thematic areas found in the collection.

To Learn more, please visit their website:

National Museum of Asian Art: Teaching China with the Smithsonian

A collaboration of The Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art and funded by the Freeman Foundation, "Teaching China with the Smithsonian" supports educators everywhere in engaging students through the exploration of Chinese art, history, and culture. The website explores one of the world's oldest civilizations through museum objects, lesson plans, videos, web interactives, and other resources relevant for world history, social studies, visual arts, and language arts curricula in grades five through twelve. Discover objects from the collections, essays on aspects of Chinese history, and interdisciplinary lesson plans written by teachers from the Washington, DC area and across the United States. The site features extensive multimedia resources including videos highlighting art and craft traditions, an interactive map and timeline, interactive artworks, and more!

To access the resources, please visit the link below: