A tour inside the Palmer Museum of Art

Virtual tours and class visits via Zoom will keep you and your students engaged with the museum until we reopen to the public in January 2021. 

For more information about these offerings, click here to visit our Tours page.


Art After Hours

Art After Hours logo

The Palmer's popular evening program for Penn State students moves to a remote format during the fall, with two "live online" events. Each of these programs will offer a variety of experiences, such as virtual talks, student-led discussion panels, art-related games, and creative making activities.  

Halloween at Home 
October 29, 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.  
Link to join:  
Gather candy snacks, don an art-inspired costume, and zoom in for a howling good time. Activities begin at 6:00 p.m. with a ghoulishly-inspired Insight: Museum Conversations talk about the odd, creepy, or surprising objects in the museum's collection and storage facilities. Starting at 7:00 p.m., enjoy art games and show off your costume for a chance to win a prize.


Online Art Club

Online Art Club logo

Children and families can stay active with the Palmer through art-making videos and live online art club meetings. Together, we'll explore some of our favorite works in the museum while introducing art-making prompts inspired by themes and styles found in the Palmer's collection. All ages and artistic skill levels are welcome! Check and subscribe to the Palmer's YouTube channel to view new videos as soon as they are available.  

#1 - Vik Muniz
#2 - Theodore Robinson and the Impressionists
#3 - Stamps
#4 - Portraits
#5 - Water

Insight: Museum Conversations

Insight: Museum Conversations logo

Join Palmer Museum staff, Penn State students, and special guests "live online" for this series of lively conversations about the inner workings of an art museum. These webinars will feature questions and interviews of staff posed by museum interns and graduate assistants. Participants will also be able to join the conversation and gain more insight into museum practices. Program recordings will be posted for later viewing and on the Palmer's YouTube channel.

Check our Events page for more information, including dates, speakers, topics and links to join.

Gallery Talks and Lectures

A lecture inside the Palmer Museum of Art

African Brilliance: A Diplomat's Sixty Years of Collecting - William Dewey, Associate Professor of Art History

Caring and Sharing: Object Insights from Museum Registration and Preparation Staff - Beverly Sutley, Registrar; William Bergmann, Chief Preparator; Craig Witter, Preparator
Palmer Museum of Art registration and preparation staff discuss their roles in the museum and their work related to object care, handling, and installation.

Collection Focus: Old Master Paintings - Patrick McGrady, Charles V. Hallman Senior Curator
Join senior curator Patrick McGrady to discover the drama and naturalism of Baroque paintings in the collection. 

Drawing on a Legacy: Highlights from the John Driscoll American Drawings Collection - Adam Thomas, Curator of American Art
Revisit this special exhibition with curator Adam Thomas, who will showcase a selection of watercolors and drawings from the recent gifts by longtime Penn State and Palmer Museum supporter Dr. John Driscoll. 

From Nomoli to Export Ivories: 16th Century Sierra Leonean Artists and Their Local and European Patrons Kathy Curnow, Associate Professor of Art History, Cleveland State University 
Learn all about a multitude of artists from coastal Sierra Leone who made small soapstone figures (called 'nomoli' today), as well as wooden figures, masks, ivory items, and more. They retained their figurative style and some motifs, but adapted their works for foreign tastes later, creating a cottage industry that lasted for less than a century. Co-sponsored by the Palmer Museum of Art, African Studies Program, and the Department of Art History.

From Social Realism to Photo Realism: Post-1945 Highlights from the Palmer Bequest Joyce Robinson, Assistant Director
Enjoy a lively presentation by assistant director Joyce Robinson, who will shine a light on contemporary artists in the collection. 

Grounded: Environments in Flux Melissa Leaym-Fernandez, Ph.D. Candidate in Art Education and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

The Missionary as Collector: Dr. George W. Harley in Liberia, 1925–1960 Christopher B. Steiner, Lucy C. McDannel '22 Professor of Art History and Anthropology and Director of the Museum Studies Program, Connecticut College
Hear Dr. Steiner explore the history of African art collecting in Liberia by examining the work of American medical-missionary Dr. George W. Harley. Harley shifted from ethnographic collecting to later marketing objects for a burgeoning African art market in America. Steiner considers such issues as the ethics of field collecting, the cultural construction of authenticity, and the role of provenance in the contemporary market for "high end" African art. Co-sponsored by the Palmer Museum of Art, African Studies Program, and Department of Art History.

Women in Art: Activism + Resistance - Chelsea Borgman, Graduate Assistant in Art Education and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
The year 2020 marks the centennial of the passage of the 19th amendment, guaranteeing women’s constitutional right to vote. Join us to celebrate this milestone and discover amazing women artists in the Palmer’s collection. 

Museum Sketchbook Series

Museum Sketchbook Series logo

Each of these nine videos, created and hosted by Penn State student interns, highlights an artist in the museum's collection. A brief introduction to the artwork leads to a creative prompt that encourages participants to explore artmaking through simple, low-stakes, sketchbook activities. Videos were created for summer 2020 programming and will remain available via YouTube throughout the current academic year to support teachers, families, and anyone looking for creative inspiration. Generous support for this project provided by Art Bridges. 

#1: Introduction 
#2: Laylah Ali 
#3: Henry Pearson 
#4: Color Blocking 
#5: Tim Rollins and K.O.S. 
#6: Jean Dubuffet 
#7: Clementine Hunter and Memory Painting 
#8: Ed Paschke and Layering 
#9: Arthur Garfield Dove and Watercolor

Palmer in Your Pocket

Palmer in Your Pocket logo

Beginning in late September, get ready to like, friend, and follow the Palmer's social media accounts to find short videos created by Palmer student interns that feature collection highlights, art trivia, food for thought, museum tips and tricks, and similar "light fare" designed to provide a fun or restorative art break.

#1: Meet the Team!
#2: Art, Museums, and Social Justice
#3 - Decoding Museum Labels
#4 - Neal Slavin and Group Identity
#6 - De-stress During Midterms
#7 - Art After Hours - Halloween @ Home
#8 - Fall Reflections + Activities
#9 - Art-Related Memes
#10 - Celebrating Indigenous Artists

Art-Making Activities

Still from an art-making video

Enjoy these instructional videos or downloadable activities inspired by the museum's permanent collection and special exhibitions.

Assemblage Activity after Louise Nevelson - This short video is a fun and easy art project using supplies from around the house. It walks you through making an 'assemblage,' inspired by one of artist Louise Nevelson's works in the Palmer Collection, Diminishing Reflection XXIII. Nevelson (1899-1988) was an American sculptor known for creating large-scale sculptures from used, cast-off, and found materials. She referred to herself as "the original recycler" because of her extensive use of discarded objects. After collecting, cutting, and manipulating everyday materials, she would assemble them into large 3D collages and spray them a single, unifying color, often black. Her use of color served to disguise the material's original purpose and highlight the visual elements of line, space, shape, and repetition within her composition. Send photos of your finished creations to or post a pic and tag us on social media! Created by Palmer Museum education intern Jules Edelmann.

Coloring Pages inspired by African Brilliance - Looking for new coloring ideas for the kids? - or for yourself to keep calm and create? These coloring pages feature artwork from African Brilliance: A Diplomat's Sixty Years of Collecting. Download the images to print and color or save them on your phone or tablet to use with a coloring app. Created by Palmer Museum graduate assistant Chelsea Borgman.

Cyanotypes  - Spend some time in the great outdoors with artist Michele Randall as she experiments with creating cyanotypes, images that use photo-sensitive materials to create a beautiful blue silhouette. (Some special materials are needed; supply links are shown in the video).

Mancala Gameboard inspired by African Brilliance  - Kids and families love to play Mancala. It's a simple game that rewards players who master its challenges with thoughtful strategy. If you're looking for a new game to try at home, this video guides you through creating your own Mancala gameboard using a recycled egg carton. The art activity and game were inspired by the Palmer's spring exhibition African Brilliance, which features an intricately carved wooden gameboard in the likeness of a ram, a fiercely competitive animal. Created by Palmer Museum education intern Hannah Thornton. For a step-by-step PDF lesson plan of how to make your gameboard and instructions on how to play Mancala, click here.

Paper Beads Activity inspired by African Brilliance - Enjoy making your own beads for decoration or jewelry with simple supplies from around the house! In this activity, create beautiful beads inspired by the Kuba beadwork from the African Brilliance exhibition with just paper, glue, and scissors. Created by Palmer Museum intern Jules Edelmann.

Repetitive Pattern Drawing Activity inspired by African Briliance -This quick and simple drawing tutorial is for everyone, no matter what you think of your drawing skills. Inspired by the Kuba patterns of the textiles in African Brilliance, use shapes and lines to jazz up your sketchbook or create your own coloring pages. Created by Palmer Museum intern Hannah Thornton.

Weaving Activity inspired by African Brilliance  - Looking to stay creative at home? This video features an easy and relaxing weaving activity, complete with tips on how to use supplies from around the house to create a loom and even make your own materials. The activity was inspired by the Palmer's spring exhibition African Brilliance that includes beautiful woven raffia textiles made by the Kuba people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Created by Palmer Museum education intern Jules Edelmann. For a step-by-step PDF lesson plan of how to create your weaving, click to view or download here.


Collections Database

View of the Collections Database

The permanent collection of the Palmer Museum of Art includes American and European paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, and sculpture; contemporary European, American, and Japanese studio ceramics; Asian ceramics, jades, paintings, and prints; and objects from ancient European, African, Near Eastern, and American cultures. This database contains descriptions of more than 7,000 works, as well as images for many of them.

Click here to view the Collections Database