School Programs

Bring your class for a day of engaging experiential in-gallery learning with turnkey solutions designed to complement classroom education. In addition, our programs integrate with Arizona state curricula standards for third through sixth grade.

Funding for museum admission and bus transportation for the 2019-2020 school year is available to Title 1 designated Arizona schools.

Homeschool days are also available. These four-hour, primarily self-directed sessions are designed to accommodate a variety of age levels and include hands-on activities throughout the galleries, as well as special guests that bring lessons to life.

Request a time and date for your school’s visit by completing the field trip application form and submitting it to Education Manager Wade Weber at You may also contact him via email or at 480-530-3461 for more information.

Download the school field trip application form here.

Download the Title 1 school field trip application form here.



SMoW’s educational offering includes six educational themes for the 2019-2020 academic year including:

  • An Introduction to the American West –Students will learn how the natural resources, wildlife and diverse civilizations of the American West came together to shape livelihoods such as ranching, influence art and culture, and create opportunity for a growing nation. This overview of the early events and populations that influenced the formation of the West includes an emphasis on the story of the American bison, the largest mammal to roam the plains, and offers students a chance to meet our life-size model, affectionately dubbed “SMoW.”
  • The Oregon Trail and Westward Expansion Students will hear the stories of courage, perseverance, resilience and hope that were an essential part of heading West and the quest for a better life. They will experience the journey of the Lewis and Clark Expedition through interpretive activities that blend objects and storytelling into a dynamic portrayal of the adventures and challenges faced by the expedition team.
  • Moments in Arizona History– This education offering highlights Arizona’s historic events as depicted in a series of paintings created by artist Bill Ahrendt, which provide the framework for compelling storytelling and enables students to discover the key events and personalities that shaped the Grand Canyon State.
  • The Five Cs of Arizona– Students will learn about the defining role of Copper, Cattle, Cotton, Citrus and Climate played in the development of our state. This exploration delves into the influence and impact of the Five Cs and will also challenge students to consider how we might revise this list to reflect today’s Arizona.
  • Spanish and Mexican Influences in Arizona– The Vaquero (Spanish cowboy) tradition helped shape the ranching industry in Arizona. Students will learn how cowboy skills and culture evolved from these horsemen and gain a better appreciation for life in the saddle as they try their hand at roping and other skills. Stories about the life of missionary and explorer Father Kino help provide additional links to early Spanish culture and the historic impact on the region.
  • Sustainability– How we meet today’s needs without compromising those of future generations is an increasingly important and relevant conversation. SMoW’s building is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold Certified and underscores the museum’s commitment to healthier spaces that reduce stress on the environment. Students will encounter sustainable elements of design, landscape and architecture, while learning about “green” principles.


How do I schedule a field trip to Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West?

Title 1 schools seeking free admission and/or supplemental transportation funding should complete and submit the TITLE 1 SCHOOL FIELD TRIP APPLICATION FORM.

All other schools should complete and submit the museum’s FIELD TRIP REQUEST FORM.

Submit completed forms as an e-mail attachment to or mail to Education Dept., Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West at the address, below. You will receive an e-mail confirmation with important information about your visit within five (5) business days. Your reservation is not final until you receive a confirmation.

How far in advance should I make my reservation?

Reserve your field trip at least two weeks in advance.

When can I schedule a visit for my class?

School group visits are scheduled Tuesdays through Fridays with three entry times – 9:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 12:30 p.m.

Is there a limit to the group size?

A maximum of 100 students can be accommodated at each entry time.

Do I need to arrange to have additional adults accompany my class as chaperones?

The requirement is one adult for every five students in grades K-8, and one adult for every ten students in grades 9-12.

What are the costs for a field trip?

The discounted price for school tours is $5 per student; chaperones are no charge within the designated ratio. The discounted price for additional adults/chaperones is $10 each. Bus drivers are admitted at no charge. Title 1 schools should inquire about supplemental funding availability.

Can teachers who have booked a school tour pre-visit the museum?

Teachers can visit for free to pre-visit the exhibits for the future school tour.

Can we eat our lunches at the museum?

You are welcome to use the shaded, outside areas on the campus surrounding the museum.

How do we make our payment?

Accepted forms of payment are cash, business check, credit card, and purchase order. We encourage school districts to pay via purchase order to receive an invoice. No refunds will be given for reduced attendance the day of the visit on pre-written checks.

Sign up for the museum’s educator mailing list to learn about upcoming programs and events.

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Read more about our Smithsonian Affiliate museum.

Additional questions?

Contact our Education Department at (480) 686-9539, ext. 212 or send an email to