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Search a variety of free tour experiences

If you’re visiting alone or with a group, you’ll find our tours entertaining and informative.

Please note: Response times may be delayed for tour requests submitted between December 21 and January 5 due to the holiday schedule. Thank you and best wishes for the new year.

Walk-in Tours

Spotlight Tours
1:30 pm, Mon, Wed-Fri
A discussion about art that “spotlights” a topic which speaks to issues of our day.

Collection Highlights
1:15 & 2:30 pm, Sat & Sun
1:30 pm, Mon, Wed-Fri
6:15 & 7:30 pm, Thurs & Fri
Meet at the Info Desk

Exhibition Tour
Queen Nefertari: Eternal Egypt
1 pm | Monday, Wednesday-Friday
Exhibition ticket required


ASL Tours
ASL tours are offered monthly and upon request.
Learn More

School Tours
Looking for school tours? Visit our Tours & Workshops page.

Family Tours
Junior Jaunts Stroller Tours
10:15-11 am | Third Fridays


Adult Tours

The Nelson-Atkins welcomes groups to explore its collections and special exhibitions! Tours are available for adult and college audiences of at least 6 people in a wide range of topics.

Groups of 12 or more must schedule a visit at least 3 weeks in advance. Tours of the collection are free. Tours of the collection are free and last approximately 75 minutes. Tours of the special exhibition require the purchase of special exhibition tickets. We regret the museum is not accepting custom tour requests at this time.

Browse the tour options from the list below. To begin your request, please click the button to review the appropriate guidelines. You will continue to registration after that.

GUIDELINES

Adult Tours

For persons who are blind or have Low Vision
Art Beyond Sight Tours

For adults living with memory loss
Minds in Motion Tours

African Art Collection

The African Art collection spans about 2,500 years and showcases historically significant works in a variety of materials that display the talent and extraordinary craftsmanship of Africa’s artists, past and present. Explore a portion of the art and cultural heritage of the African continent through looking at sculptures, ceramics, textiles, headdresses and bodily ornaments from more than 30 of the continent’s artistic cultures from western, central and southern Africa are represented.

Maximum Size: 60 participants

American Art Collection

The American collection includes paintings, sculpture and works on paper made in the United States from the 18th century through World War II. Installed with American Decorative Arts, the American galleries draw attention to the social, economic, political, and religious contexts across the United States through material culture. Learn and reflect on the many perspectives artists explore as they chronicle the United States’ changing and evolving histories.

Maximum Size: 60 participants

Ancient Art Collection

The ancient art collection spans more than 4,000 years of the Near Eastern, Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations. As archaeologists have done for centuries, participants on this tour will search for visual clues that reveal the history and story of art objects from Antiquity. Discover artistic styles that connect these civilizations and discuss how the objects might reflect ancient people’s customs and beliefs.

Maximum Size: 60 participants

Art Beyond Sight Tour

For persons who are blind or have Low Vision
Designed for persons who are blind or have low vision, this tour explores the museum and its art through tactile diagrams, verbal description, and activities like touching an artwork. Group size is limited to eight persons who are blind or have low vision. Sighted guides, family members, care-givers, and chaperones are not counted in this number. Tours are 90-minutes and available by request. If unable to request an Art Beyond Sight Tour using a screen reader or for more information, please call the Manager of Community and Access Programs at 816-751-0441.

Maximum Size: 8 participants who are blind or have low vision. If the group is larger than 8, it is suggested to request more than one tour.

Art in Bloom

A rose is a rose is a rose. Or is it? Whether conveying hidden meanings or as a visual to simply enjoy, flowers have long been a popular subject in art. Explore everlasting blooms and discover the variety of materials and ways in which flowers have been depicted and used in Western and Eastern art.

Maximum Size: 75 participants

Bloch Building Architecture

The Bloch Building has become emblematic of Kansas City’s rising prominence in design and the fine arts. Since opening in 2007, the Bloch Building designed by architect, Steven Holl, has received national and international recognition. The New York Times called it “a work of haunting power.” TIME Magazine proclaimed, “The effect against the nighttime sky is nothing short of magical.” This tour considers how the surrounding environs informed the building’s design and how the building’s architecture now informs and influences the visitor experience within its art galleries.

Maximum Size: 90 participants

Chinese Art Collection

Discover China’s artistic and cultural heritage by exploring the museum’s Chinese collection, recognized as one of the finest in the West. Throughout the tour, participants look at and discuss a variety of art forms and cultural artifacts, including paintings, furniture, ceramics, sculpture, textiles, bronzes and jades. Learn the customs, beliefs, and traditions of Chinese civilization from a selection of objects representing most phases of China’s artistic activity.

Maximum Size: 75 participants

Decorative Arts Collection

The museum’s collection of American and European decorative arts ranges from medieval stained glass to 21st-century furniture. While art has a function of one kind or another, Decorative Arts objects are recognized for their utilitarian function. Whether fragile porcelain, glistening silver, or luminous glass, Decorative Arts convey fine craftsmanship, artistic design, and innovation. From drinking vessels to entire furnished rooms, the decorative arts are integral to daily life. This tour will look at decorative arts of various media and collections.

If you would like to see a particular artwork, please include this information in the Notes section of the online request form. We do our best to accommodate requests but cannot guarantee every request.

Maximum Size: 90 participants

European Art Collection

Explore key paintings, drawings, decorative arts, and sculpture in the museum’s collection of European art and consider how these objects reflect the time in which they were created. Participants may look at objects from the medieval period to the late 19th century, including Old Masters, Italian and French Baroque paintings through to a selection of 19th-century Impressionism and Post-Impressionism works.

If you would like to see a particular artwork, please include this information in the Notes section of the online request form. We do our best to accommodate requests but cannot guarantee every request.

Maximum Size: 90 participants

Featured Exhibition Queen Nefertari: Eternal Egypt

The One for Whom the Sun Shines. Queen Nefertari. Who was she? Discover one of the most celebrated and mysterious queens of Ancient Egypt and learn about the role of women in government, religion, and society. Explore daily life in Deir el-Medina, the village where tomb builders and artisans—as well as their families—lived, worked, and worshipped.

The exhibition will provide a unique opportunity for visitors to experience Ernesto Schiaparelli’s discovery of Nefertari’s exquisitely decorated tomb. Queen Nefertari: Eternal Egypt features works from the Museo Egizio in Turin, Italy, the most important collection of ancient Egyptian art objects and historic documents outside of Egypt.

Maximum Size: 60 participants. Exhibition tickets required.

Highlights of the Collection

What makes an art object a masterpiece? Share your thoughts as you explore the museum’s “highlights” and learn why some experts describe specific objects in the Nelson-Atkins collection as masterpieces. This tour includes artworks in the original 1933 Nelson-Atkins Building and the 2007 Bloch Building addition.

If you would like to see a particular artwork, please include this information in the Notes section of the online request form. We do our best to accommodate requests but cannot guarantee every request.

Maximum Size: 90 participants

Love in Art

Discover stories of love, passion, and romance as depicted in artwork across time and cultures. From the sweet to the spicy, from larger than life works to intimate viewing experiences, this tour explores ideas of love throughout the museum’s collections.

Maximum Size: 75 participants

Medicine in Art

Explore original works of art throughout the museum’s collections that connect to notions of health and disease. Learn about the medicinal practices and beliefs of world cultures. Within today’s visual culture of laboratory tests and medical imaging, this discussion-based experience offers the opportunity to strengthen observation and communication skills and reflect on one’s museum experience.

Maximum Size: 75 participants

Minds in Motion

For adults living with memory loss
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, in partnership with the Heart of America Alzheimer’s Association, provides engaging and interactive museum tours for those living with memory loss, their families, and their care partners. Come explore art in a safe, welcoming, and caring environment with specially trained docents sensitive to the interests and abilities of visitors.

For more information, please call the Manager, Education Volunteers at 816-751-1269. For the best experience, we highly recommend that facilities bringing a group request their desired date at least three weeks in advance.

Ratio of care partners or facility staff to individuals with memory loss: 1:2 Example: if there are 8 people living with memory loss, there should be at least 4 companions.

Modern & Contemporary Art Collection

The Nelson-Atkins has outstanding collections of modern art from the 1860s to mid-1900s and contemporary art from 1960 to the present. Modern artists re-imagined, reinterpreted, and rejected traditional aesthetic values, styles, and materials. Contemporary artists use diverse media to reflect on individuality, creativity, and respond to the changing world. From painting, sculpture, and decorative arts to performance, digital imaging, and video, artists examine and comment on the desires, fears, and experiences of their time.
If you would like to see a particular artwork of collection, please include this information in the Notes section of the online request form. We do our best to accommodate requests but cannot guarantee every request.

Maximum Size: 75 participants

Native American Collection

The Native American collection features art and cultural artifacts created in North America and dated from pre-European contact to the present. Deeply engaged with cultural traditions and the land, learn how Native American artists selected materials and techniques to convey meaning about customs and daily life on multiple levels. Observe Native American visual cultures by looking at art and cultural artifacts including pottery, basketry, quill and beadwork, textiles, paintings and sculpture. Discuss how objects represent both the individual and the group, as well as traditions and living cultures

Maximum Size: 75 participants

Photography Collection

Beginning in 1839, artists have used the constantly changing medium of photography to create and depict the world around us. This tour examines photographic imagery and considers how artists have creatively used photographic processes both past and present. This tour includes artworks in the context of the medium’s history and a focused, thematic exhibition. Come tour often! The galleries change several times each year to protect the light-sensitive images and to display the deep holdings of the museum’s Photography Collection.

If you would like to see a particular artwork, please include this information in the Notes section of the online request form. We do our best to accommodate requests but cannot guarantee every request.

Maximum Size: 45 participants

Real to Surreal: 19th & 20th Century Art

European art in the 19th-and 20th-centuries was influenced by momentous social, political, scientific, and technological changes that delivered Europe and the world into modernity. This conversation-based tour explores themes from Neoclassicism to Post-Impressionism, and situates the artists and their artwork within the context of its time. From industrialization and the invention of portable paint tubes to Freudian psychoanalysis and WWI, artists experimented and created new forms of art.

Maximum Size: 60 participants

Religious Art

Many religions have a long and rich heritage in the visual arts. Artistic imagery using religious inspiration and stylistic motifs can be found throughout the world and across time. Explore art objects from the museum’s collections that communicate and depict the history, ideas, practices and figures of some of the world’s major religions.

If you would like to explore a specific religion or see a particular artwork, please include this information in the Notes section of the online request form. We do our best to accommodate requests but cannot guarantee every request.

Maximum Size: 75 participants

Sculpture Park Collection

The Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park is great for outdoor enthusiasts and those wanting to view art in a different kind of setting. As you explore the museum grounds, you will stop at several sculptures to consider the materials, techniques, subject matter and artistic styles of these outdoor objects.
In case of inclement weather, the tour will be inside the museum with comparable works of art.

Maximum Size: 90 participants

Self Guided: Clubs, Groups & Organizations

The Nelson-Atkins provides the opportunity for clubs, groups, and organizations to reserve their own custom tour within the museum. Whether it is an in-depth exploration of a single gallery or far-flung adventure through the whole history of art, the museum is happy to help enable your own treasure hunt.

Maximum Size: 75 Participants

Self-Guided: College and University

The Nelson-Atkins provides the opportunity for faculty and students from colleges and universities to reserve time and space for their own custom tour within the museum. Whether it is an in-depth exploration of a single artwork and gallery or far-flung adventure through the whole history of art, the museum is happy to help enable your museum experience.

Maximum Size: 75 Participants

Write Way to Art Tour

The written word has been used alongside visual arts for centuries. This tour offers a unique opportunity to explore personal and group communication and understanding by looking at and discussing original works of art. Docents guide participants through an in-depth looking experience in the museum’s galleries and offer prompts for participants to express their responses. The looking and writing activities expand participants’ ability to look at, respond to, and communicate what they see. No art or art history background is needed. This experience is highly recommended for teambuilding and language learners.

Maximum Size: 90 participants