Due to COVID-19, the Hammer Museum is temporarily closed. More information.

Teacher professional development


The Hammer Museum’s free three-day teacher institute, Strengthening 21st Century Skills Through Art, takes place every July. Discover strategies for enhancing 21st-century skills—critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity—through art, and explore activities that integrate art with humanities themes. This year's institute takes place July 20–22, 2020. Registration opens in April.

Teacher attendees from Title I schools are eligible for bus funding for one field trip, and LAUSD teachers are eligible for salary points.

Learn more about last year's institute and view photos on Flickr.

Guides for Engaging with Art

The Hammer Museum offers resources to help facilitate discussions around artwork before, during, or after your visit to the museum. 

Guide to Thomas Heatherwick's Spun Chair
For families and K-12 students and teachers
Download Spun Chair Guide (PDF, 40KB, 1p.)

This one-page guide lists fun facts and activities to inform your experience of Thomas Heatherwick's Spun Chair. Several chairs are usually placed throughout the Hammer courtyard.

Art Cards
For K-12 students and teachers
Download Art Cards (PDF, 36KB, 2 pp.)

Art Cards is a resource for teachers visiting the museum with their students. These cards will help you facilitate discussions around the artwork in any gallery and foster conversations among classmates.

Discovery Guide
For families and K-12 students and teachers
Download Discovery Guide (PDF, 289KB, 9 pp.)

This guide is designed to help you make meaningful connections to artworks of your own choosing. We encourage you to pick a place in the museum that interests you, and use the prompts provided to discover more about art.

Getting Started with Contemporary Art
For high school teachers
Download Conceptual Art (PDF, 40KB, 1 pp.)
Download Installation Art (PDF, 40KB, 1 pp.)
Download Performance Art (PDF, 34KB, 1 pp.)
Download Video Art (PDF, 34KB, 1 pp.)

These one-page guides are designed to be used in conjunction with a visit to the Hammer Museum, where students might encounter a range of contemporary art forms. Each guide focuses on a different art form, but they are not mutually exclusive; for example, conceptual art can be performance-based. All guides contain 1) information and discussion prompts that can be used to engage with art during your visit or in preparation for your visit with images available on our website; and 2) an activity to extend student learning in the classroom after your visit.

Guides to Past Exhibitions

These guides can be adapted to explore artists and ideas during your visit to the Hammer or in the classroom using digital images available on the Hammer website.

Make in L.A. (PDF, 758KB, 9 pp.)
For grades 6 and up

Take inspiration from Los Angeles artists and foster reflection, discussion, experimentation, and creativity. 

Learn more about the related exhibition, Made in L.A. 2018, on view from June 3–September 2, 2018.

Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology Question & Connect Guide (PDF, 2MB, 6 pp.)
For grades 6 and up 

This exhibition guide explores American artists whose work focuses on appropriation and institutional critique between the late 1970s and early 1990s. Question how artists dealt with these themes, and connect to its messages with various activities.

Learn more about the related exhibition, Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology, on view from February 9–May 18, 2014.

A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living Teacher Guide (PDF, 741KB, 16 pp.)
For grades 5–12

Explore architecture by looking at projects, photographs, and drawings created by architect A. Quincy Jones. Learn about architectural terms and images, and explore how spaces and buildings are designed and inhabited through interactive activities. Related past exhibition: A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living.

Teaching the City: Modern Architecture for Today’s Classrooms (PDF, 5MB, 6 pp.)
For grades 6–12

Use the city of Los Angeles as your classroom with a map of the city’s modern architecture, featuring buildings ranging from public museums to private homes built between 1922–2003. Related past exhibition: A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living.

Graphic Design: Now in Production Teacher Guide (PDF, 1.5MB, 24 pp.)
For grades 5–12

Engage students with the history and impact of visual communication through graphic design. Focus on the elements and principles of design through the study of various forms of media such as books, magazines, and posters. Related past exhibition: Graphic Design: Now in Production

Now Dig This! Teacher Guide (PDF, 26MB, 79 pp.)

Explore key figures and artistic movements of African American art in Los Angeles from 1960–1980, such as assemblage, post-minimalism, and performance art. Related past exhibition: Now Dig This: Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960-1980.