School & Youth Visits

Schedule an Educational Program at the Historic Site or in Regional Classrooms

Teachers can email Beth at with questions. Please scroll down for pricing options.

How We lead Student Tours

Art-making and engaging in conversations about art helps to develop important skills (like collaboration, creativity and visual literacy) that can be used across all disciplines. 

In our work with students, we focus on Thomas Cole’s work as an artist, writer, and early environmentalist. We believe that concentrating on these three identities helps students understand that myriad worldviews, tools, and identities are useful in understanding, communicating in, and creating change in the world.

We use Thomas Cole’s artwork as a jumping off point to have complex conversations about environmental science, technology, and ideas related to progress.

Honing our skills as artists, writers, and environmentalists allow us to become better thinkers, communicators, observers, collaborators, and makers of change. We believe that memorizing dates and names is less useful than understanding history and our world today through discussion and creation; for students, the experience of seeing, making, and talking about art will aid them for the rest of their lives, in and out of school.

Tour Options

Thomas Cole: Artist, Writer, and Early Environmentalist

Best for: All Classes, Grades K-12

How can we use many tools to express our ideas?

This tour is highly student-centered, incorporating group discussion, movement, and inquiry with contextual information about Thomas Cole and his creative process, the Industrial Revolution, and life in the early 1800s. In this tour, students learn about Thomas Cole’s work as an artist, writer, and early environmentalist as they tour through the historic house that he lived in and the studio where he painted for over seven years. Optional: Students can engage in hands-on art-making, writing, and environmental action activities.

Tour: 45 minutes

Visit Times

School visits are available Wednesday-Friday, between 9am-4pm.

Students can engage with contemporary artworks exploring environmental themes through our yearly exhibitions.


$10/K-12 student

$5/student for additional activity fee (if selected)

Public school students in Columbia and Greene County receive free admission

For college/university rates, please click here.

Please note that school group rates are only available when scheduled in advance. If you would like to schedule a visit, click the button below.

Sarah Cole and her brother Thomas both grew up to be artists. Read the Thomas Cole for Kids story, Picturing America.

Before Your Visit

Pre-Visit Materials 

Grades K – 4

We teamed up with beloved children’s book author and illustrator Hudson Talbott to present Thomas Cole’s illustrated story online for free. The story introduces young children to Thomas Cole, the 19th-century artist and founder of America’s first major art movement. The story follows Cole’s ups and downs as an economic migrant displaced by the Industrial Revolution in England who fell in love with the American wilderness and advocated for the preservation of this nation’s landscapes.

Read the story

Grades 5-12

Once you have booked your visit, please consider downloading our “Pre-Visit Packet” which orients students grades 5-12 to Thomas Cole, his home, and the ideas that mattered to him.

Download the Packet

To learn about our in-classroom educational programming, please visit Teacher Resources.

Made possible with the generous support of the Warner Foundation 

Supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Additional support provided by Susan Ball & John Brigham, Patti Hanson, Richard & Elizabeth Mason, Nina Matis & Alan Gosule and Alan C. Wanzenberg.



The Program Endowment that supports educational programs at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this the programs do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Jennifer GreimSchool Visits