NAEA-AAMD Research Study: Impact of Art Museum Programs on K–12 Students

Museum Education Division


The National Art Education Association (NAEA) Museum Education Division and its partner, the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), are in the final year of a large-scale impact study investigating the question, What are the benefits to students of engaging with original works of art within the context of object-based art museum programs that take place during the formal school day? We hope to build on and significantly amplify the limited prior research that exists about the impact of art museum programs on participants. Our goal is to explore, at a large scale, how engaging directly with original works of art within the distinctive physical and social setting of art museums and through constructivist pedagogies, might lead to or heighten a range of student outcomes. The Samuel H. Kress Foundation provided a generous grant award to support the planning year for this impact study, which began on August 1, 2014.

The NAEA Museum Education Division, collaborating with the AAMD, received a prestigious National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in 2015. This award has been funding the implementation portion of this important research. We have enjoyed working with Randi Korn & Associates (RK&A) for the past two years for this study. We are currently in year three and are finalizing data analysis and reporting.

The results of this study will be presented at a Symposium at The Detroit Institute of Arts on Saturday, October 13, 2018. After the symposium, a User Guide will be finalized and published in order to provide tools for museum educators and schools to apply the results within their practice.



Register now for the National Art Education Association (NAEA) and the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) Symposium on The Impact of Art Museum Programs on Students Research Initiative!

Saturday, October 13, 2018
The Detroit Institute of Arts
Detroit, Michigan
9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The NAEA/AAMD Impact of Art Museum Programs on Students Research Initiative is one of the first major research projects to seek a better understanding of and identify the value that art museum education brings to student learning within the formal, K–12 American school setting. This investigation assessed qualitatively and quantitatively the cognitive, affective, social, and other instrumental outcomes, resulting from single-visit, guided school programs.

Symposium participants will:

  • Learn about and discuss results from a three-year, nationwide study on the impact of single-visit art museum field trips.
  • Engage with a panel of art museum directors as they discuss how the research changes their thinking and future museum planning.
  • Receive a draft of the Impact of Art Museum Programs on Students Research Initiative Users’ Guide, along with a link to all of the study’s supporting materials, prior to arrival in Detroit, in order to hit the ground running with lively discussion and questions.
  • Engage in workshops in the Detroit Institute of Arts’ galleries to test methods based on study results.

Registration includes museum admission, continental breakfast, box lunch, break times refreshments & afternoon reception (cash bar).

View Symposium Details



As we approach the conclusion of this multiyear, national research project co-sponsored by NAEA and AAMD, we are excited to share the publications that have been generated to date. These include summaries of the scope and plan of our project and reports from RK&A that outline their methodology and tools, along with their comprehensive literature review on the state of the field. Stay tuned for results from the study as we conclude our final year of analyzing the findings!

White Paper about the Research Initiative: Impact of Art Museum Programs on K–12 Students

Summary of Results Survey of Single-visit K-12 Art Museum Programs

Museum Site Selection

Literature Review



Emily Holtrop’s Americans for the Arts blog on the project



Please email comments or question to:

Emily Holtrop, Project Director, NAEA/AAMD Impact of Art Museum Programs on Students Research Initiative or

Meghan Pennisi, Project Manager, NAEA/AAMD Impact of Art Museum Programs on Students Research Initiative

For more information on Study publications and the Symposium, please fill out this brief form to receive updates.