Planning Your School Visit
We work closely with teachers to plan the content of a visit and to assist with the logistics. Let us work with you.
At a glance
- We offer school visits weekday mornings during the school year.
- Visits are recommended for middle and high school students. We also welcome college and university seminars and classes.
- All visits must be scheduled in advance by contacting our Education Director, Sue Wilkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Visits usually take 2 to 2 ½ hours.
- All visitors, students, and adults/chaperones must sign a waiver of liability form and bring it with them.
- Admission is $15 per student. Teachers and chaperones are free.
- Funding for buses and the price of admission is available for some students through our Urban Schools Partnership.
- Schedule early. Our busiest months are February to May.
May I visit ahead of time?
We recommend that teachers visit the Museum before bringing their students. These visits are free and can be arranged by contacting our Education Director, Sue Wilkins.
How many students may I bring at one time?
We prefer not to have more than 50 students at a time. Over 50, we stagger visits but we will work with you so all students have an opportunity to visit the Museum.
How many chaperones do you require?
We require attentive and engaged chaperones at a ratio of 10 to 1.
What are the rules for students, teachers and chaperones?
Visiting the Museum is highly interactive. We expect students to be responsible and chaperones to be attentive. See our Guidelines for Visiting School Groups.
What if a student does not have a waiver of liability signed by them and their parents?
The student cannot enter the Museum.
Where do buses drop students off and pick them up?
Students enter and leave at the front of the building where buses should drop them off. While waiting, buses may park in the Museum parking lot which is free.
What can students, teachers, and chaperones bring into the Museum?
We do not allow purses, tote bags, backpacks, or weapons of any kind to be brought into the Museum. You must pass through a metal detector when you enter and exit. No food or drink.
Is the Museum handicap accessible?
The Museum is all on one floor with a ground level entrance available. We can accommodate wheelchairs but do not provide them.
What about photographs?
We allow appropriate photography in some but not all areas of the Museum. Please see Guidelines for Visiting School Groups. During the orientation, a staff member will go over these guidelines.
Where can the students eat?
Unfortunately the Museum does not have a café at present. There are numerous cafés, delis and restaurants adjacent to the Museum. The Natick Mall is across the street. Our new Museum building will have a café and other visitor amenities.
Is there a gift shop?
What to Expect
Before your visit
- Pre-teaching about World War II is helpful though you can schedule a visit when it is most convenient for you.
- Asking your students to visit Explore the Collection is a useful orientation.
- The tone of the visit is worth talking to your students about ahead of time. We find that students are usually surprised by how intense their experience is. The Museum is bigger than it looks and the collection, with its multiple perspectives, can feel massive.
During your visit
- When students arrive, we give them a 10 minute orientation to the Museum and the collections. Staff members remind them of the rules and expectations for their visit.
- Then students engage in a supervised exploration of the collection for 2 to 2 ½ hours. Typically they complete lesson plans and worksheets developed in advance by their teacher, working with our Director of Education.
- Acoustiguide audio tours are available, free of charge. Please request in advance.
- At the end of the visit, students gather to debrief with their teacher and Museum educators. We encourage them to share their impressions of the collection and their insights into the War.
After your visit
Visits to the Museum are moving. Students can take awhile to fully process their experiences. We will offer you some suggestions for further debriefing and extension activities.
What we Hear from Students
- “The Museum changed the way I think about the war by making it a much more realistic and human event, not just a unit in history class.”
- “I was able to see and hold and learn about other countries in the war. We usually just learn about WWII from the US perspective.”
- “Before coming here, I’d seen many videos and read books about World War II and the Holocaust. And my grandfather helped to liberate Buchenwald. But seeing all the items at the Museum was very different. It really got me in the gut, and made a really big impression. I have a renewed sense of empathy for survivors of the Holocaust.“
- “The Museum changed my understanding of World War II. There was proof and evidence of the things everyone in the war went through.”
- “I didn’t realize how heavy a soldier’s gear was, and how hard it must have been to be a soldier.”
- “Seeing all of the artifacts really showed a side of the war I hadn’t been exposed to, and it was very emotional to see all of these different exhibits.”
- “I was really struck by the clothing worn by the prisoners, to know real blood, sweat and tears were absorbed into the same cloth I saw before me.”
- “Seeing the artifacts made me realize that these events actually happened and people actually experienced this.”