Educational Resources

The Development of Medieval Armor Over Time

German, Basinet Helm with Aventail (mail hood) and “Dog-Faced” visor, about 1360–1370, steel, iron and brass with modern leather, cord and restorations

The knight in shining armor conjures hundreds of images. While the Middle Ages lasted roughly one thousand years (500-1500 CE), the steel plate armor associated with the knight was only in use from 1350 CE onwards. Why did knights change from using mail armor to plate armor? How did the armors work? Learn about the development of armor and its usefulness during a time of changing battle techniques..

Museums for Digital Learning (MDL) offers dynamic, free to use, digital museum content for K-12 educators. Searchable by subject and grade, teachers can engage with authentic, curated museum collection resources, and activities that meet national education standards. Museums from across the country are continuing to contribute interdisciplinary resources on a regular basis.

LEAP 4th Grade VTS Tour Program

Photos showing children sitting around a painting in a WAM gallery

We enjoy working with the 4th Graders of the Worcester Public Schools as part of The Culture LEAP (Learning Through Arts Partnerships) initiative. Students spend time with our docents looking at art and discussing what they see using the Visual Thinking Strategies method. Visual Thinking Strategies is a research-based education nonprofit that believes thoughtful, facilitated discussion of art activates transformational learning accessible to all. Click here (1.01MB) to learn more about our 4th grade VTS tour program and to see some of the works of art students experience at the Museum.

Culture LEAP is a partnership among the Worcester Public Schools, cultural institutions, the Working Education Subcommittee of the Worcester Cultural Coalition, and the Worcester Educational Development Foundation, Inc. The program receives generous support from the George I. Alden Trust and the Stoddard Charitable Trust.

Visual Learning Strategies training at WAM is generously supported by the Hanover Insurance Group Foundation, Inc.

Portraits and Propaganda Tour

“John Farnham, Gentleman-Pensioner to Elizabeth I” by 
Steven van der Meulen

This spring the WAM Education Department launched a new Portraits and Propaganda tour for middle school students. The selected portraits show visitors how political power was conveyed through art from the Meroitic civilization to 1830s America. In this slideshow, you can explore five portraits from the tour. Click here (1.09MB) to experience the tour.

Student Packet for Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere

“Paul Revere” by John Singleton Copley

The Worcester Art Museum is hosting the American Antiquarian Society's exhibition, Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere, which explores Revere's life as a maker. Revere's works of art were wide-ranging, from beautiful and utilitarian metal objects to provocative illustrations. Revere was an innovator who engaged in industrial espionage to master the production of rolled copper for a new nation. We share a curriculum packet for students and interested individuals to learn more about this American icon's craftsmanship here (1.04MB).

Medieval Knightly Armor Presentation

Medieval Armor presentation cover showing a suit of armor

When visiting the Worcester Art Museum, a popular feature for school groups is our Higgins Collection of Arms and Armor and its accompanying live Arms and Armor Presentations. These interactive, hands-on demonstrations help orientate students and guests to the fascinating story of armor. We share a version of our Medieval Knightly Armor Presentation for schools and interested individuals here (8.34MB).

Two young students examine art works in a gallery

Please call 508.799.4334 for further information
about any of these programs or services.

About the Permanent Collection

A fully intact 12th-century Chapter House, the largest collection of Roman mosaics in America, Colonial American portraiture, and Paul Revere silver are among the treasures you will find at the Worcester Art Museum! Art from the Western world — ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome; Medieval and Renaissance Italy; 18th- through 20th-century Great Britain, France, Holland, and Belgium; 18th- through 20th-century America; Contemporary art; and art from Pre-Columbian Central and South America, Japan, India, and China — are all a part of the permanent collections on view in the Museum's galleries.

In addition to our world-renowned permanent collection, special exhibitions showcase masterworks, seldom-seen gems, and important works on loan.

You may be able to fund your Museum experience with a Massachusetts Cultural Council PASS or Local Cultural Council grant. For more information, contact the MCC at 1.800.232.0960 or

Guides and Instruction Sheets

Make the most of your group visit to the Worcester Art Museum by downloading the following guides and instruction sheets.

Roman Art

Roman art

Ancient Greek Art

Greek art

Ancient Egyptian Art

Egyptian art

Curriculum Guides

The Worcester Art Museum is working to make its Special Exhibition content more accessible to teachers, homeschool groups, and family audiences. With easily-understandable connections to grade-level standards, these curriculum guides make exhibition connections (and school field trip justifications) stress-free.

View our Curriculum Guides

For Teachers and Educators

In-service programs are a great way to exchange ideas, explore ways to integrate the arts into other curriculum areas, or provide expertise in techniques for teaching art, art history, criticism, or art appreciation. Programs and services available to teachers include:

Studio Art Classes and Workshops

Explore the Museum, try new materials, and engage with professional artists and educators! Register online today or call the Studio Programs Office at 508.793.4333 for more information.

  • Scholarships – Please inform us if a student would benefit from classes but requires financial assistance. To learn more, contact 508.793.4339 /
  • Professional Development – The Worcester Art Museum has been approved by the Massachusetts State Department of Education as an official provider of professional development points (PDPs). Teachers can take any of WAM's adult classes for Professional Development points at no additional cost. Contact to request a PDP Certificate. The number of PDPs awarded will equal the number of hours of the course you complete.

Teacher Workshops

  • Teacher Institute – Each summer, WAM offers an intensive 1-week, 37.5-hour class for graduate credit. Designed especially for teachers, the class is developed on a new theme each year and includes lecture, demonstration, hands-on studio time, and a research project component. See for upcoming opportunities.
  • Professional Development Workshops – WAM would be happy to host or help your department or district develop a Professional Development Workshop to fit your needs. To learn more, contact 508.793.4462 or Must be scheduled 6+ weeks in advance.

Master Series Talks

WAM highlights selected works of art in galleries throughout the Museum as the focus of a Third Thursday art talk, presented by a scholar in the field. Master Series talks are perfect for teachers interested in learning about an artist or object in a special exhibition that they want to highlight in their curriculum. Learn more about Master Series talks.

Institutional Membership

Enjoy free admission for students and faculty year round! Learn more.

Museum Library

The Worcester Art Museum Library is a bibliographic resource dedicated to the history of art reflecting the collection strengths of the museum. Located on the second floor of the Museum, the Library extends its resources and services to the community, including teachers, students, faculty, collectors, museum docents, scholars, and the general public. Read more about WAM Library.

Massachusetts Teachers Association

Members receive two-for-one Museum admission!

Education programs at the Worcester Art Museum are supported by the George I. Alden Trust Assistant Director of Education Fund, George I. Alden Trust Docent Education Fund, Booth Family Fund for Education and Outreach at the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, Isabel Baker Carleton Memorial Fund, Burrow Movie Fund, Martha A. Cowan Fund at the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, Dorothy Frances Cruikshank Education Fund, Docent Education Fund, David Freelander Memorial Education Fund, Nehemias Gorin Foundation Fund, Nathan and Barbara Greenberg Discovery Fund, Nathan and Barbara Greenberg Fund for Education, Amelia and Robert H. Haley Memorial Lecture Fund, Hiatt FAME Fund, Christian A. Johnson Discovery Fund, The Christian A. Johnson Resource Center Fund, Bernard G. and Louise B. Palitz Fund, Susan Ella Reed-Lawton Fund, Arthur J. Remillard, Jr. Youth Education Fund, Romanoff Education and Library Fund, Norman and Dorothy Sharfman Education Fund, Ethel M. Smith Education Fund, Spear Fund for Public Programs, Stoddard Discovery Fund, Alice Eliza Waite Memorial Fund, Worcester Art Society, and the Worcester Educational Development Foundation.

See also: School Programs