Back to Teaching & Research

Academic and Public Programs

Faculty Resources

With collections that span millennia, media, and cultures, the Harvard Art Museums are an extraordinary resource for Harvard University. And with the Art Study Center, University Galleries, classrooms, and lecture halls, the museums provide powerful opportunities for faculty and students to consider original works of art as engines that drive intellectual inquiry.

The museums’ facility is, in essence, a series of classrooms. Students are invited to engage with the collections in ways that will enrich and inspire their studies.

The museums’ team of educators, curators, conservators, scientists, and technologists consult with faculty from all disciplines to explore how the collections might support their course goals. The museums also bring together faculty for exhibitions, symposia, workshops, lectures, and seminars that deepen and advance university-wide conversations.

Harvard Curricular Support

The Harvard Art Museums collections and exhibitions serve as catalysts for teaching and research projects across disciplines. Museums staff are available to consult with Harvard faculty and teaching fellows to identify ways that the museums can best support course goals, including helping identify relevant works of art for discussion, facilitate gallery conversations, lead materials-based investigations and experiments, design assignments, and share research materials such as collections data, object files, treatment records, and archival documents. The museum setting promotes active learning and interdisciplinary thinking, challenging students and teachers to develop evidence-based interpretations and to make connections across cultures and time.

For Self-Guided Class Visits:
Sarah Lieberman
Cunningham Fellow in Academic and Public Programs

For Harvard Curricular Support:
Jen Thum
Associate Director of Academic Engagement and Campus Partnerships and Research Curator

Teaching Remotely

Resources for teaching remotely with our collections can be found here.

Objects Used for Past Courses

Faculty who are interested in teaching with our collections can browse the objects used by a selection of past Harvard courses by visiting this page. Click on the course title to view its description and the list of works the faculty member selected. Please note that some lists include works that were used across multiple iterations of a course.

Special Topic Resources

The following selections of objects from the museums’ collections were compiled as a resource for instructors and students exploring special topics:
Climate Change in the Collections
COVID in the Collections (objects related to diseases and their impact on society)
Latinx Experience in the Collections
African American History in the Collections
Native American Experience in the Collections

Curatorial File Access

Please see this document for how to view curatorial files.

Art Study Center

Designed to offer an environment for both small-class and individual study, the Art Study Center provides teaching, learning, and research opportunities through close examination of original works of art. Comprised of three study rooms and two seminar rooms on Level 4, as well as spaces at the museums’ Somerville Research Facility, the Art Study Center provides access to thousands of works of art across all media during weekdays between 10am and 5pm. Faculty are invited to develop class sessions for up to 15 students. Museums staff are available to assist with object selection. To schedule a visit, please fill out a request form.

For teaching in the Art Study Center:
Laura Muir
Associate Director of Academic and Public Programs
and Louis Miller Thayer Research Curator

University Study Gallery

Located on Level 3, the University Study Gallery supports the coursework of numerous Harvard departments and schools. It is a gallery classroom dedicated to the installation of original works of art from the museums’ collections that serve as primary source materials for interdisciplinary study. Installations (which typically include up to eight objects) might relate to general themes of a course, a particular segment, or serve as the subject of an assignment. Class sessions (for up to 15 students) can be held in the gallery or students can visit on their own. If you are interested in developing a course-related installation during the academic year, please contact Laura Muir.

For the University Study Gallery:
Laura Muir
Associate Director of Academic and Public Programs
and Louis Miller Thayer Research Curator

The Materials Lab

The Materials Lab serves as an environment for art making as a means of learning and knowing. Programs explore the complex physical lives of artworks through close-looking, hands-on experimentation, and interaction with experts. It also supports individual research projects.

For the Materials Lab:
Francesca Bewer
Research Curator for Conservation and Technical Studies Programs