Learn & Play \\ Student Tours

Know Before You Go

We recommend visiting the museum before your class trip. New England educators are always granted free admission to PEM! Just show your valid ID.

We may be able to tailor your visit to meet your learning goals and your students' needs. Please don't hesitate to get in touch! Contact schoolservices@pem.org or (978) 542-1514.


All groups—including self-guided groups—are required to make reservations in advance. Self-guided visits are available for students in grade 6 and above. To make your self-guided visit more enjoyable for your students, we require a copy of your visit plan two weeks in advance for review. PEM staff can provide you with suggestions for in-gallery activities and rotations through the museum. This is particularly important for groups larger than 20 students to facilitate efficient movement through the museum.

Group Arrival

Please plan to arrive at the museum 15 minutes prior to the designated time of your program. If your group is running late, please let us know as soon as possible by calling 978-745-9500, ext. 3040. Please be particularly attentive to your arrival time when visiting Yin Yu Tang, A Chinese House, as there are exact time slots for tours. Please be aware that the museum cannot guarantee the full visit time when a group gets a late start. Bus drop off is located at the corner of Essex and New Liberty streets.

What to Expect During your Visit

To ensure that everyone has an enjoyable visit, please review the following expectations with all adults and students who will attend the visit.

  • Stick together. All students must stay with adult chaperones at all times when visiting the museum galleries. This includes students on self-guided visits.
  • Travel light! Students are invited to safely store coats, backpacks and lunches in their designated group area. (All bags are subject to inspection upon arrival. Medical bags are permitted once checked and approved by the security guard on duty.)
  • Lunch comes later. Eating or drinking is not allowed in galleries. Capped bottles of water are welcome. Armory Park, situated directly across from the museum, as well as the Salem Common can be used as lunch spots during favorable weather.
  • Discussion and Movement. There is a lot to talk about but please do so with inside voices and remind your group to walk inside the museum. Students are responsible for keeping their bodies and behavior under control at all times. Chaperones are responsible for behavior reminders.
  • Screen break. Everyone should turn off cell phones or set to silent when in the galleries. In order to preserve the artwork, flash photography, tripods, and videotaping are not permitted in any galleries.
  • Close looking encouraged, but not too close. Remind students to stay 18 inches away from artwork, even when pointing. Signs will let you know which artwork can be touched.
  • Get those creative juices flowing! Please make sure students with writing/drawing assignments have proper writing surfaces such as clipboards. Only pencils are allowed in galleries. (Clipboards may be reserved in advance.)
  • Museum Shop. Groups are welcome to visit the Museum Shop in groups of 10 or less while accompanied by a chaperone.

Chaperone Policy

Chaperones are expected to stay with their group, support student learning and be attentive participants during student visits. PEM requires one adult chaperone for every 10 students visiting the museum. The museum provides complimentary admission for one adult chaperone for every 10 students. Additional adults with a school group are charged the student rate.


Many museum galleries are accessible to wheelchairs. The Salem historic houses are not accessible to wheelchairs and Yin Yu Tang house is partially accessible. Please call ahead with any concerns regarding accessibility for your students: 978-745-9500, ext. 3046, or 978-740-3649 (TTY line).