Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy ETDs

Art as Experience: A Case for Art Museum Field Trips in New Mexico’s Public School Art Education

Zoila A. Caamaño-Pumarol, University of New Mexico - Main Campus


Since 2011, multiple studies have found that school field trips to art museums and other cultural institutions produce measurable improvements in standardized test scores, academic engagement, and substantial improvements across a range of factors including empathy, critical thinking skills, and creativity. These findings are especially prominent with children in rural areas, from low-income families, and non- Native English speakers. Nevertheless, the priorities in U.S. public education have shifted away from field trips and art education since the 1980s.

In this case study licensed art teachers in the New Mexico K to 12 public schools shared their experiences, discussed the obstacles they encounter, and explained how they have found alternative sources of funding outside of normal structures to help cover the costs of trips to art museums.