Learning goals of guided tours in Ateneum and the connection of the tours to the basic education curriculum

Learning objectives of the Ateneum school tours and education materials

The students’ relationship with art and the art museum, objectives:

  • To give students an idea of what an art museum is.
  • To give visitors a sense of proprietorship in Ateneum and its collections: “This is my cultural heritage; we all own these artworks collectively.”
  • To produce the insight that art is about life, emotions, humanity: art is like a door to another person or to an entire world.
  • To encourage students to create their own interpretations of art, to form a personal relationship with art, to promote enthusiasm, questions, experimentation, activity.
  • To awaken an interest in visual art.
  • To foster the idea that there are many ways to express things visually, and also many ways to make observations of pictures.
  • To strengthen the realisation that, in art, one can question things without necessarily receiving clear and precise factual answers.

The students’ interaction skills, objectives:

  • To strengthen the students’ powers to focus on and unhurriedly study a single object (work of art).
  • To strengthen the students’ skills in listening and discussing in a group.
  • To strengthen the students’ critical thinking skills.

For the teacher, objectives:

  • To encourage teachers to visit the museum and use the services of its expert guides.
  • Encourage teachers to employ multiliteracy and a multidisciplinary approach in their work.
  • Encourage teachers to use the online education resources of the Ateneum as part of their teaching and the museum visit.
  • To strengthen the things learned during the museum visit and encourage teachers to continue working on the same themes back in class.

A house full of things to see: guided tours and the school curriculum

We have cooperated with education experts in designing an optimal way to integrate guided tours of the exhibition and the basic education core curriculum in Finnish schools. We have selected content and objectives from a variety of subject areas that are in alignment with the objectives and content of the guided tours. The selection of artworks, level of knowledge and degree of participation on each tour will be adapted by the Ateneum guides to fit the age of the group, yet with a firm focus on art throughout.

The new core curriculum supports multimodal and project-based learning and emphasises proactivity, interaction skills and also encourages teachers to use extramural learning environments. Ateneum Art Museum is multimodal by its very nature, embodying aspects of cultural history and multiculturality from the 19th century to the present. Museum exhibitions and collections are easy to integrate into lessons of history, Finnish language and literature, as well as art, of course. Media and visual literacy skills can also be linked to art. Since art is about life and the human condition, museum resources can easily be used also in connection with instruction in social studies, religion, ethics and psychology – even biology and geography as well. Guided tours can also be booked in foreign languages.


Visual perception and thinking: In the museum and on the guided tours, students learn (in line with the curriculum in visual art) to observe art and to discuss their observations and thoughts and provide arguments in support. (Objectives T1, T2)

Interpretation of visual culture: Students learn to use the conceptual apparatus of visual art, to identify works of art and examine them from different perspectives and in different contexts, to apply the methods of pictorial interpretation and consider the significance of art from the perspectives of the individual, the community and society. (Objectives T7, T8)

Aesthetic, ecological and ethical appraisal: Students learn to recognise values expressed in art and culture, to discuss them and form opinions about them. (Objective T10)

Visual cultures of the individual and the environment: Experiences in the museum are linked to the students’ personal visual culture and that of their environment (built and natural environment and the media), both during the guided tours and in the associated preparatory and follow-up assignments. (Content areas S1, S2)

The worlds of art: Students learn about the world of art and its practices, phenomena and different conceptions of art. They study the manifestations of cultural diversity in Finnish art in different historical periods. They learn about the Finnish art world, its history and key phenomena. They also learn about historical ideas of art and the significance of art for Finnish culture, and the manifestations in art of Finnish cultural reality, beliefs and philosophies. (Content area S3)


Understanding language, literature and culture: The museum visit guides students to appreciate their own culture and cultural variety while facilitating the construction of their own cultural identity. The students’ conception of culture broadens and they are offered opportunities to acquire and share cultural experiences. (Objectives T14, T15, T16)

During the museum visit, students learn first-hand about cultural diversity in Finland and become aware of their own cultural identity. The visit also develops their skills as users of cultural products. (Objective T17)

Interpreting texts: The museum visit encourages students to make observations about texts and to interpret them, they learn how to use strategies of textual comprehension and interpretation and develop various skills for the analysis, evaluation and interpretation of texts. (Objectives T5, T6, T7)

Students learn to consider the purpose and target group of texts. They learn to recognise the features of narrative, descriptive, normative and simple political texts. (Content area S2)

Understanding language, literature and culture: Students learn about customs and some aspects of folklore, and to examine intertextuality in a variety of texts. (Content area S4)

Interaction skills: The visit strengthens the students’ skill to function in interaction situations also outside school. (Content area S1)


The museum visit supports studies in history by awakening the students’ interest in the past, in human activity, in its significance and understanding. The visit can also give students tools to use knowledge of the past to understand historical developments leading up to the present.

Using historical information, Acquiring information about the past, Understanding historical phenomena: The museum visit guides students to acquire historical information – and to assess its reliability. They are assisted to understand that historical information can be interpreted and used in different ways in different situations, and to evaluate critically the reliability of interpretations. The visit strengthens the students’ ability to understand historical time and use different types of sources. (Objectives T2, T3, T4, T11)

Students are assisted to recognise changes in the history of their own family or community, and to understand how the same changes may have meant different things to other people. (Objective T7)

Students learn about the importance of culture in the construction of national identity during the period of autonomy and early years of Finnish independence. (Content area S3)

Students learn about societal ideologies, their significance and impacts and how people have been able to influence development in their own age. (Content area S2)


In connection with a variety of artworks, students learn about Finnish, European and global cultural heritage. They are assisted to understand the metaphorical nature of religious language and to consider symbols of different kinds. (Objectives T3, T5, S1) (biblical motifs, figures and religious symbols in art)

Artworks are used to examine fundamental questions associated with birth and death as well as respect for life, and to study the manifestation of justice in everyday life. (Content areas S1, S3) (genre depictions of folk traditions and celebrations)

Students learn about different ideas regarding the relationship between nature and humanity and about human dignity and individuality. They learn to understand the consequences of actions. (The ethical dimension, ability to reflect upon the difference between right and wrong and the idea of good life; valorisation and respect for nature and the environment; imageries in art that address or comment on ethical themes; war, poverty, disadvantages, life and death, the relationship between individual and society, depictions of nature)


The museum visit supports environmental studies and studies in biology by presenting nature and the built environment in works of art from different historical periods.

Meaning, values, attitudes: The museum visit awakens the students’ curiosity and interest in environmental phenomena and supports the development of their environmental sensitivity. (Objective T3)

Knowledge and understanding: The museum visit guides students to understand the totality of nature, human activity and related phenomena, and encourages them to study nature and learn to identify organisms and habitats. (Objectives T12, T15)

Me, a human being: Students study how the anatomy, growth and developmental stages of the human being appear in works of art. (Content area S1)

Observing the environment and its changes: Students learn to observe the features of the natural environment and its phenomena in all seasons of the year. The museum visits teaches them to appreciate diversity in nature and culture and strengthens their understanding of globality. (Content area S3)


The museum visit offers an opportunity to learn about national and international culture and cultural legacy. Craft studies are based on observations and study of the built environment and the multi-material world and adaptation of the knowledge gained thereby.

Design: Students learn about the social, cultural and technological development of habitation, mobility and dress through the consideration of locality and the traditions of different cultures, their present and future in planning, design and implementation. (Content area S2)