Onsite Tours
Adult and University

We are pleased to offer onsite adult tours at the Nelson-Atkins. Both docent-led adult group tours and self-guided group tours are available for booking.

All docent-led interactive tours are facilitated by skilled volunteer docents. Through inquiry and exploration, tour participants are invited to share their unique perspectives and observations while looking at works of art from across the museum’s many collections.

Self-guided group tours are asked to book their visit in advance, to ensure that everyone has the best possible experience in the galleries.

Details & Scheduling

  • Tours are 75 minutes long.
  • Minimum of 2 participants required for tour.
  • Maximum of 12 participants per docent for a docent-led tour. See tour descriptions for total group size limits.
  • Maximum of 40 participants for a self-guided tour.
  • Available during the week on Monday, Thursday, and Friday at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., or 1 p.m. Tours also available at 7 p.m. on Fridays.
  • Available on the weekend on Saturday & Sunday at 10:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.
  • Cost: Please click here to view full pricing details for adult group tours.
  • Must be scheduled at least three weeks in advance.
  • After submitting your request, you’ll receive a request acknowledgement email. Please note that Adult Tours are not confirmed until a confirmation email is received.


Collection Tours Docent-Led Collections Tours


Bloch Gallery Tour group

Join us for an exploration of works of art from across the collections. Skilled volunteer docents will facilitate a lively and interactive discussion as you are introduced to some of the museum’s biggest highlights. Galleries visited may include: African art, Contemporary art, Photography, European art, American art, Ancient art, Native American art, and art from China, Japan, and India. If you have a request for a specific collection to be included, please note it on the tour request form.

Pricing Details


Surrealist painting tour in Bloch galleries

19th & 20th Century European Art: European art in the 19th-and 20th-centuries was influenced by the momentous social, political, scientific, and technological changes that delivered Europe and the world to modernity. On this interactive docent-led tour, participants will discover the progression of European art from Realism to Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Modernism.

Pricing Details

FEATURED EXHIBITION TOUR: Niki De Saint Phalle: Rebellion and Joy

Niki de Saint Phalle was a self-taught artist who rose to prominence in the international avant-garde art scene of the 1960s. She used art as a rebellion against post-war conventions and inequality. This exhibition explores de Saint Phalle’s career, including early experiments in assemblage, her immersive Tarot Garden, and the buoyant feminism of her “Nana” sculptures.

Please note that exhibition tickets are required to attend this exhibition.

Pricing Details

Image: Niki de Saint Phalle (French-American, 1930 –2002). Dawn (Yellow), 1995. Painted polyester, 56 11/16 × 46 1/16 × 27 15/16 inches. Private Collection, courtesy Niki Charitable Art Foundation, Santee, California© 2024 NIKI CHARITABLE ART FOUNDATION. All rights reserved. 



Chinese Temple Tour Group

Explore the breadth and depth of some of the world’s most-practiced religions, including Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Daoism. If you would like to focus on a specific religion or culture’s beliefs, please note your request on the tour request form. Requests will be accommodated so long as the collections on view can support them. Please contact tours@nelson-atkins.org with questions about the availability of a specific religion before booking.

Pricing Details


The Thinker resting in Donald J Hall Sculpture Park

Discover the diversity of forms that modern and contemporary sculpture can take on this tour of our outdoor Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park. Docents facilitate lively and interactive discussions on this walking tour, examining sculpture from the realistic to the abstract. In case of inclement weather, guests will take a similar tour using works inside the museum and focusing on the same concepts. Please note that the Sculpture Park has winding, brick-paved paths that include inclines, and some portions of the Sculpture Park are not as accessible as others. If you would like to ensure an accessible route, please note your need on the tour request form.

Pricing Details

Custom Tours Docent-Led Custom Tours:

Custom Docent Tours

Looking for a specific tour topic? Custom tours are available at an additional cost, based on the collections’ ability to support the chosen topic. To inquire about the availability of the topic you are looking for, please contact tours@nelson-atkins.org before booking.


Pricing Details

Self-Guided Tours

Looking to lead your own tour around the museum? To ensure the best experience in the galleries, self-guided tour groups are asked to book their visit in advance. Maximum of 40 participants for a self-guided tour. If your group arrives at the museum without pre-registering, you will need to fill out a self-guided visit form before taking your group into the galleries. Please note that, in such circumstances, priority access will be given to any booked Docent-led tour groups in the galleries.

Pricing Details

Self-guided tour

Docent Spotlight Stations

Looking for a drop-in experience? Free Docent Spotlight stations will be available during the week to engage in conversation with our skilled volunteer Docents about a work of art on display. Different objects will be highlighted each day.


  • 1:30–2:30 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays
  • 11 a.m.–Noon on Saturdays and Sundays
  • Visit the Info Desk to learn which object will be featured when you arrive. Collection areas change each month:
    • June – Immigrant Heritage Month/Works by immigrant artists
    • July – Ancient Art (Egypt, Near East, Greece, Rome)
    • August – American Art
    • September – Modern & Contemporary Art

Free.  Advance registration is not needed.


  • 1–2 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays
  • 11 a.m.–Noon on Saturdays and Sundays
  • Visit the Info Desk to learn which object will be featured when you arrive.
    • June – Niki de Saint Phalle*
    • July – Niki de Saint Phalle*
    • August – A Layered Presence
    • September – Sonam Dolma Brauen: My Father’s Death

*Featured Exhibition tickets required for entry into galleries. Reserve your tickets here.

Book a tour

To register, please click on the following and read our guidelines.

Adult Tour Guidelines and Registration

Late Starts
Due to scheduled events we may not be able to extend your tour. If your group arrives more than 30 minutes late, we may need to cancel your tour. If you are running late for your tour, please contact tours@nelson-atkins.org to alert us.

Cancellations and Changes
To cancel or make a change to your scheduled tour, please email tours@nelson-atkins.org. Please include your name, phone number, order number, and date and time of your scheduled tour. Cancellations are requested at least 48 hours before your scheduled event. Please note that all Docent-led adult tour costs are non-refundable.

All changes to date, time, and tour will require the cancellation of your scheduled event and a new request to be submitted via the Tour Request form, requiring at least three weeks’ advance submittal for a new date. Docent-led adult tours may be rescheduled one time with no additional cost.

COVID-19: Tours follow the museum’s overall COVID-19 safety policies. Please visit our Safety Guidelines page to check on our current policies related to COVID-19, including the status of masks.


  • Enter the one-way, circular drive off of 45th Street between Oak Street and Rockhill Road and drop participants off at the East side by the Bloch Building.
  • All groups must enter and exit through the designated entrance doors.


  • Bus parking is limited to designated areas facing north on Oak Street.
  • Vans and public vehicles pay $14.00 to park in the museum garage.
  • Limited free parking for cars is available in the northeast parking lot (45th before Rockhill) and on the west side of Oak Street on a first-come, first-served basis.


  • Groups are welcome to visit Rozzelle Court restaurant before or after their tour.

For additional information please email tours@nelson-atkins.org.
We look forward to meeting and learning with you!

By clicking “REGISTER” you acknowledge you have read and agree to the guidelines above. Registration will begin on the next page.



Glass Labyrinth Experience

Get lost among the illusive walls of Robert Morris’ sculpture Glass Labyrinth, a triangular glass maze in the southeastern corner of the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park. Led by a Nelson-Atkins docent, you’ll learn about the history, intentions, and themes behind the sculpture.

  • Hours: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. | Friday-Sunday (last entry 12:30 p.m.)
  • Tickets: $4 members | $6 public (purchased via credit card at labyrinth entrance)

Note: The labyrinth is subject to closure based on inclement conditions.

View a map of the Sculpture Park.

Guests explore inside and around the triangular glass labyrinth structure in the museum's Sculpture Park.