The Museum Experience Program is a collaboration among the School Art League, the New York City Department of Education, and four unique NYC museums. Under the guidance of museum staff and professional artists, selected high school art students identify social justice issues in their community and develop plans to use their artistic skills to influence positive change. Students learn how art can promote active engagement in their own communities and how cultural institutions can support their personal growth as artists and leaders.

Over the course of each school year, participating students are empowered to work with their peers to become influencers of positive change through art. The program is made available to eight schools across New York City that offer a sequence of visual arts classes that prepare students for advanced study and careers in the arts. Each school year, a cohort of 35 students who have demonstrated a commitment to the visual arts is recruited and invited to participate and learn to develop leadership and cultural competency skills through a series of in-depth, full-day, museum experiences. Students meet four times throughout the school year, during vacation weeks. Each museum experience is designed to target the museum’s current exhibition and reveal what makes an exhibit unique and relevant. The students tour exhibitions and make art that connects to issues relevant to their own communities. They receive information about museum internships, both paid and unpaid, that can prepare them for work in the museum world or related fields. The museums visited change each year. Past museum partners include the Society of Illustrators, the Rubin Museum of Art, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, The Museum of Arts & Design, the Museum of the City of New York, the International Center of Photography, The Morgan Library & Museum, the New-York Historical Society, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

The Museum Experience Program is made possible through the generosity of the School Art League, the New York City Department of Education, partnering museums, and the Citizens Committee for New York City.