Advocacy & Policy

NAEA Position Statement on the Benefits of Art Museum Learning in Education

[Adopted March 2012; Reviewed and Revised March 2015; Reviewed and Revised March 2020]

NAEA believes that art museum learning is a fundamental component to a high quality, effective, and balanced education.

Museum Environment

  • Art museums are valuable cultural resources that offer people a rich physical and social environment in which to experience and engage with original works of art from different time periods and cultures.

Knowledge, Meaning-making & Understanding

  • Facilitated learning experiences with works of art cultivate global perspectives and an appreciation of the diversity of cultures, ideas, and human experiences.
  • Firsthand study through facilitated discussion of original works of art engages people in making connections across disciplines and enriches their understanding of other subjects.
  • Through close examination of artworks and facilitated discussion, people have the opportunity to learn about creative processes, techniques, and materials.


  • The study of works of art promotes the development of creative and critical thinking skills that are important to success in life as well as in school. These include inquiry, analysis, and interpretation as well as flexibility, imagination, observation, communication, empathy, and reflection.

Personal and Social Learning

  • Art museum learning provides the opportunity to open people up to new ways of seeing, experiencing, and connecting to themselves, others, and the broader world.
  • In art museums, people learn from each other, volunteer docents/guides, museum educators, artists and other professionals. They gain confidence and knowledge about using museums and can discover the range of careers that museums offer.

Cultural Appreciation and Participation

  • People who visit art museums often see the relevance of art in their lives, develop an appreciation for cultural organizations and are more likely to use museums as a resource for life-long learning in the arts.