The Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center

Today is Sunday, February 14: Open 11am – 5pm
Directions & Admission

School Programs

Welcome to School and Teacher Programs!



FREE Self Guided Tour Experience:

Featuring the Kinsey African American Art and History Collection

kinseybanner        MARCH 1st- May 21st

Price: FREE for all Santa Cruz County student groups (includes UCSC & Cabrillo)

Duration: 1 1/2 hours MAX

This self guided group experience can happen Tuesday – Sunday between 12 pm- 5 pm.*

On a self guided experience, your group will receive an introduction to the museum, as well as a quick overview of the Kinsey Collection Exhibition. Click here to learn more about the exhibition. We will provide tour materials about the exhibit which include, discussion topics and questions for teachers to help facilitate dialogue in the exhibition as well as a participatory activity where students can write or draw responses to questions related to the exhibition. We can provide this in advance for teachers to prepare. We’ll have two versions of self-guided tour materials available for students in grades K-5 and 6-12.

If you are interested in bringing your students here on a free self-guided tour please email Mary Harpin,  or email/call Jamie Keil,   831.429.1964 ext 7020 to book a date and time.
*We cannot accommodate tours on the first or third Friday of each month after 2 pm.
*If you have over 30 people in your group, we suggest splitting into two or three groups and explore each gallery in those smaller groups to ensure safety of students as well as museum art/artifacts.







Tombstone Tales at Evergreen Cemetery

Price: $35     Duration: 1 1/2 hours

Want to know the stories behind the tombstones? Established in 1850s, Evergreen Cemetery serves as the final resting place of some of the Santa Cruz County’s earliest settlers. Our community’s history is uncovered as docents tell stories and share memories of those buried at Evergreen. Each tour is an hour and a half.

Tombstone Tale tours at Evergreen Cemetery begin at 10 am.

Click Here to Request a Tour








NEW Field trip Experience:

Community Building with Art and History

** Attention Teachers:

Currently Booked entire 2015-2016 school year, no longer accepting requests.


Price: $50     Duration: 2 hours

Grade level: 3rd- 5th


an integrative art & history experience

Students coming to the museum on a school field trip will have the opportunity to bridge art and history in a fun full-museum immersive adventure with a focus on community building.

Using art and history as the driving force, students will unpack Santa Cruz history to build a more connected and meaningful community. Taking on specific identity roles from Santa Cruz past, students will rebuild a stronger and brighter future through collaborative creative projects.

Here’s How:

  • Students will break into teams of three and be provided an identity relevant to Santa Cruz history and culture
  • Each group will receive a kit and guide for their identity that includes costumes, props  and a map to explore the museum. The map will lead students to investigate the past in order to collaboratively build a better future.
  • Along the way, students will encounter additional characters from Santa Cruz history, participate in interactive activities, complete a scavenger hunt, all in preparation for a final collaborative project
  • To conclude, groups will build and re-shape our community based upon the identity they explored by crafting their own structures to be displayed here at the museum.

Art & History tours are scheduled Tuesday through Thursday beginning at 9am, 930am or 10am.

 Art & History tours are scheduled from Tuesdays through Thursdays beginning at 9am, 930am or 10 am.


General Tour Information

  • All tours support Common Core State Standards by encouraging critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration.
  • Art & History tours are scheduled from Tuesdays through Thursdays beginning at 9am, 930am or 10 am.
  • Tombstone Tale tours of Evergreen Cemetery begin at 10am.
  • All tours accept a maximum of 30 students.
  • A minimum of one chaperone for every 5 children is required; there is no charge for teachers or chaperones. Our school tours and exhibitions are designed for all grade levels.
  • Tours must be scheduled three weeks in advance by requesting a tour online, calling the School Programs Department at (831) 429-1964 x 7020 or emailing 


IMG_0897Why Community Building?

Our mission at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History is to ignite shared experiences and unexpected connections. We accomplish this mission when we bring people together around art and history through dynamic exhibitions, events, partnerships, and programs. The heart of this mission is rooted in building bonds between people who share experiences, and bridges between people who make unexpected connections. When we build social bonds and bridges, we build social capital. We build community.

We strongly believe in including young people as meaningful contributors to community building.  Communities are not built by architects or city planners. Communities are built upon connections with one another, positive relationships, and a sense of belonging.

When students become involved in the design, creation, and exploration of a place, they develop a vested interest in using and improving it. We hope that our school program can inspire youth to feel a sense of ownership, responsibility, and connection both at the MAH and throughout our County.


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