2021-22 Faculty Guide

Teach with art and design from ancient times to the present day

Study the museum as an institution and use it as a laboratory for critique and experimentation 

Explore the collection to support or inspire your own research


RISD Museum staff provide curricular support for faculty across institutions and disciplines. As experts in object-based pedagogy, we help you match your learning goals with museum resources by developing visits, assignments, and projects that range from a single hour to an entire semester.


First, reflect on:

  • What are your learning goals for a museum-based experience? Consider both knowledge and skills that you hope your students will gain.
  • What themes and topics does your class address that you want to connect to the museum’s collections, structures, or practices?
  • Do you feel comfortable leading your students in looking closely at works in the galleries?
  • In what ways would you like students to engage with each other through your museum experience?

Next, think about what support would be helpful to plan a successful experience. Do you need:

  • Assistance understanding potential thematic connections to your syllabus?
  • Tips on object-based teaching so you can facilitate conversation among your students?
  • Help deciding what type of engagement would best address your goals (e.g. synchronous visit vs. asynchronous assignment, facilitated conversation vs. independent gallery activity)?
  • Readings and resources to support critical investigation of museum histories and practices?
  • Suggestions of objects from the collection or current exhibitions to diversify your syllabus?
  • Access to high-res object images for use in the classroom?
  • Any accommodations for your students?

For any of these types of support, email museum-academic@risd.edu. Browse a growing collection of teaching models shared by faculty.


Have you already thought through possibilities and identified your needs? Continue reading for forms and resources. 

Online collection and digital publications
Through our online collection, you have access to tens of thousands of works of art and design, including exciting recent acquisitions. Search or browse to find and download images for your classroom and associated interpretive text and related publications. Browse a full list of works currently on view and works that will be added to the galleries, with detailed dates and gallery locations, here. In addition to this resource, utilize our extensive digital projects and publications to support your teaching.

Self-guided visits
Lead a conversation with your students or assign them an in-gallery activity. Self-guided groups must be booked in advance to confirm gallery availability and to maintain accurate records. 

Request a self-guided visit

Visits to see works not on view and virtual visits
If works on view are not relevant to your needs, staff can support facilitated visits with works not on view in one of the Museum’s dedicated study centers or in a virtual format. Staff will work with each faculty member individually to discuss the appropriate modality based on learning goals, object selection, and class size. Because capacity is limited, requests should be made no later than one month in advance and will be confirmed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Request a virtual visit or a visit to see works not on view

RISD faculty automatically receive regular email updates from the museum; we encourage faculty at other institutions to sign up using this form. Emails are typically sent twice per semester and include upcoming professional development workshops, public programs, models of innovative teaching, resource kits around common themes, and more.


For your students

The museum also supports student learning through weekly office hours, co-curricular opportunities, and a range of pre-professional positions. Learn more here.