Admission for regular visits for kids 14 and under is free when accompanied by an adult (minimum of one adult required for every five youth admissions). Special admission rates apply for groups of 10 or more.
There is a cost associated with both MOHAI-guided and self-guided field trips. Some programs also include additional resource fees per class.
MOHAI offers scholarships to schools and student groups for both field trips and the portable museum program.
MOHAI requires a minimum of two weeks’ notice for field trip reservations. However, many popular guided field trips sell out much earlier, typically by the early fall of any given school year. Self-guided field trips can also sell out, particularly in the spring and summer. Groups are encouraged to book field trips as far in advance as possible.
Field trip scheduling for Fall dates (September—December) opens on January 1, and Winter/Spring dates (January—June) opens on April 1 for the following school year.
Late changes disadvantage other teachers! All date changes and cancellation requests made within 14 days of your scheduled visit date incur a fee. Guided field trips incur a $50 cancellation fee. Self-guided filed trips incur a $15 cancellation fee.
Reservations are required for all youth student groups coming to the museum. This helps staff provide a positive museum experience for all groups and ensure the safety and security of the museum galleries. Groups visiting without a reservation on other dates will not receive the discounted group rate, will not have access to field trip resources, and may experience long wait times at the Admission Desk.
MOHAI offers Unscheduled Group Visit Days where groups of up to 150 students can visit the museum without a reservation. Groups are provided with an introduction by museum staff, storage for personal belongings, and a self-guided gallery activity if desired. Admission is guaranteed to all groups on Unscheduled Group Visit Days, and all groups receive the discounted self-guided group rate.
Reservations should still be requested for Free First Thursday. MOHAI does not offer guided or self-guided field trips on First Thursdays, although groups are welcome to visit. MOHAI does not guarantee the availability of group resources (including use of the group entry, storage for personal belongings, lunch space, etc.) on First Thursdays. Groups should also be prepared to experience large crowds in the galleries. Special exhibit admission rates may apply.
MOHAI requires a minimum one adult teacher or chaperone per five students. Groups may bring additional chaperones up to a ratio of one adult per two students at no extra cost. Additional chaperones beyond this ratio must pay regular admission rates. Students must be with chaperones at all times.
Each guided field trip requires one hour per class, and therefore the total length of a field trip depends on how many classes are visiting (a one or two class visit requires two hours; three classes requires three hours; four classes requires four hours etc.). A standard self-guided field trip lasts approximately two hours, although they can be tailored to groups’ specific needs.
MOHAI educators can only lead one class (maximum 30 students) at a time through a guided program, due to limits on the primary resources and program space available. Classes cannot be combined, as programs are designed to be highly-facilitated and inquiry-based, and are successful in groups of 30 students or fewer.
MOHAI validates parking at the ACG Building Parking Lot on Westlake Ave N, and has dedicated parking for ADA-permitted vehicles. Additionally, there are a number of parking lots surrounding the museum.
There are several bus loading areas available near the museum, as well as parking lots that may be used for temporary load and unload.
Groups do not need to bring anything on their field trip; MOHAI staff provide worksheets, clipboards, pencils, and iPads that students use in programs. Students should not bring backpacks as they are not allowed in the galleries, and should leave all valuables at home.
Pre-visit curriculum and other preparatory activities are available. These resources are a great way to introduce important concepts to students that complement museum visits. Camp groups are strongly encouraged to have planned activities.
MOHAI does not have dedicated indoor lunch space for groups, and food and drink is not allowed in the galleries. It is recommended that groups eat lunch at school if possible. If it is necessary to eat lunch at the museum, groups should notify museum staff in advance and plan to eat outside the building in Lake Union Park (even in the case of inclement weather).
In the case of rain, groups can request in advance for special permission to eat lunch seated on the floor inside the museum. Education Department staff must be notified in advance of plans. Exact space and timing of lunch in this case may vary based on availability.
MOHAI does have a Café to purchase food and dine. However, the Café does not allow outside food or beverages.
MOHAI does offer staff-led field trips, although these are not traditional gallery tours. Each program is a one-hour, inquiry-based game, using real artifacts, documents, and historic photos to explore various topics in Seattle and Puget Sound history. These programs also involve a high degree of chaperone involvement, and each chaperone leader helps guide students through the program.
While MOHAI does not tailor individual field trips to specific, requested topics, resources are available to help teachers plan their own self-guided gallery activities or assignments relating to the subject area of their choice. Please visit Educator Resources for more information, or contact the Education Department with additional questions.
Our Hands on History guided field trip program is specifically designed for mixed-age groups, and we recommend that field trip groups visiting with students of varying ages request a Hands On History program for their students. Self-guided field trips are also a great option for mixed-age groups.
MOHAI can provide one of two scavenger hunt activities to all field trip groups for their time in the galleries: an electronic hunt on museum iPads (one iPad per 4-6 students, max of 5 iPads per class), or a paper-based hunt (one for each student, clipboards and pencils provided). These activities are not intended to be assignments, and are a tool to help students focus on the content of the museum exhibits and to spur discussion in chaperone groups.
While some groups are able to complete the scavenger hunt in one hour, most do not—and that’s okay! Scavenger hunts are meant to be a starting point for students to engage with exhibits.