About the Program

A paid opportunity for Yale undergraduates to develop and lead interactive, close-looking tours of the museum for the visiting public. 

Admitted students meet with museum staff twice per week in the fall and spring semesters, learning about the collection from multiple perspectives. Throughout the year, students research, write, and rehearse unique thematic gallery tours, which they debut in April. Trainees collaborate with student groups at other university museums as well as take field trips to other regional museums, such as Dia Beacon, MASS MoCA, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The in-depth training requires a time commitment similar to that of an academic course. Following the completion of the first year of training, students remain involved with the Gallery Guide program by giving thematic Highlights Tours (for which they receive payment), developing new approaches to presenting the collection, and participating in continued weekly training sessions.

This is an excellent opportunity for undergraduates to integrate art into their experience at Yale and to join the Yale University Art Gallery community. In addition to becoming critical and observant museumgoers, Gallery Guides develop transferable skills in public speaking, visual literacy, research, and creative thinking. The program is open to first-year students, sophomores, and juniors in Yale College. Students in all majors are encouraged to apply.

A group of standing figures seen either from behind or in profile as they look toward an artwork presented in a vitrine. One figure faces the group and appears to speak.

On a Highlights Tour, Gallery Guide Fatou M’Baye, SY ’26, talks with visitors about the four-horse chariot on the Panathenaic Prize Amphora (ca. 490 B.C.).


Applicants must have a strong interest in art, museums, and education, but no prior training in art history or museum experience is required. Attendance is mandatory and essential to the success of the program. Fall and spring semester hours are Thursdays, 4:00–5:30 pm, and Fridays, 3:00–4:30 pm, with some Saturday excursions. As part of the training, students must complete two research assignments in the fall and two research assignments in the spring. Applicants must commit to leading tours of the Gallery for at least one year following their training; Gallery Guides usually continue to lead tours for the remainder of their time at Yale. Typically, Highlights Tours are scheduled for Thursdays at 6:30pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm.


The application period is currently closed. Interested students should check back in August 2024. We also encourage you to attend this year’s Gallery Guide tours.

Gallery Guide Guide

This new publication documents the core values as well as the operational nuts and bolts of the museum’s nationally renowned Gallery Guide program. Authored by former coleaders of the program Sydney Skelton Simon and Molleen Theodore, the Gallery Guide Guide is intended as a resource for museum and academic colleagues who are looking to start or refine student-guide programs or seeking inspiration for engagement strategies more generally.

Download the free Gallery Guide Guide (PDF)

Cover of the Gallery Guide Guide.

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