Learn & Play \\ Student Programs

Know Before You Go

Information and guidelines to help you prepare for your visit.

Please see Hours and Fees and Tour Options for additional information. To make a school reservation for your class contact schoolservices@pem.org or call 978-542-1514. You must make your reservation three weeks in advance of your planned visit.

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

We can 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.

Group Arrival

Your group is expected to enter 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. Time may be cut from your program if your group is late. Please be particularly attentive to your arrival time when visiting Yin Yu Tang, A Chinese House, as there are exact time slots for tours. Bus drop off is located at the corner of Essex and New Liberty streets.

Self-guided Visits

All groups—including self-guided groups—are required to make reservations in advance. Self-guided visits are only available for students in grade 6 and above. When making your reservation, you will be asked to describe your plans for the students' visit, including what galleries they will visit and what activities they will be doing. This is particularly important if you are coming with a group larger than 20 students, as students will need to be broken into smaller groups and plan to rotate through the museum. The Education Department can provide you with suggestions for in-gallery activities and rotations through the museum.

Code of Conduct for Student Group Visits
  • To ensure that everyone has an enjoyable visit, students are expected to be respectful of the artwork, each other and museum docents and staff. Students are responsible for keeping their bodies and behavior under control at all times. Chaperones are responsible for behavior reminders.
  • All students must stay with adult chaperone at all times when visiting the museum galleries. This includes students on self-guided visits.
  • Cell phone use (texting, emailing and calls) is prohibited for students and chaperones during guided and self-guided visits. Cell phones must be silenced and stowed.
  • Flash photography, tripods and videotaping are not permitted in any galleries.
  • All students and chaperones must store their belongings, including coats, backpacks and lunches, in a designated area assigned by museum staff. All bags are subject to inspection upon arrival. Medical bags are permitted once checked and approved by the security guard on duty.
  • No food or drink, except bottled water, may be brought into museum galleries.
  • Pencils and clipboards (or other sturdy surfaces) may be used during self-guided visits. Using gallery walls, pedestals and/or floors as writing surfaces is prohibited. Clipboards may be reserved in advance. Pens and markers are not allowed in the galleries.

It is the responsibility of the individual booking the tour to share these guidelines with all students and chaperones.


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.


With three weeks notice, the museum can provide sign language interpreters or visual descriptive tours. Many museum galleries are accessible to wheelchairs. The Salem historic houses and Yin Yu Tang are not fully accessible. Please call ahead with any concerns regarding accessibility for your students: 978-745-9500, ext. 3046, or 978-740-3649 (TTY line).


Indoor lunch space will once again be available for school groups beginning in December 2013. In the meantime, Armory Park (directly across from the museum) and the Salem Common can be used as lunch spots on nice days. We thank you for your patience.

Museum Shop

After your visit, your students are welcome to visit the Museum Shop in groups of 10 or less while under the supervision of an adult.