Tour Information

Docent-Lead Tours
Docent-Led
Tours At
The Norton

Appropriate for tourists and tots, seniors and students, and even experts and ignorami, the Norton’s tour program offers a wide range of topics, themes, and possibilities to enhance your group’s visit. Tours may even be customized for your specific studies or needs.

Over 20 tours create the core of our docent-led program. Explore American History from the colonial period through the closing of the frontier or see art in the New World evolve from the colonial Limner tradition through to 20th century Post-Impressionism. Gain insight into highlights of our European collection or focus exclusively on 19th century French Art History. The scope and breadth of study is entirely up to you!

Each tour lasts approximately 45 minutes with time for questions at the end. Guided tours are available by appointment only for groups of 10 or more people. To schedule a guided tour, call the Norton at (318) 865-4201 ext. 128 or email at least three weeks in advance of a planned visit. Scheduling is limited to availability.

Group Tour Programs and their descriptions


Durrie Five Miles to Salem
AMERICAN ART HISTORY

During the colonial period and the early days of the Republic, American artists painted either imitations of European subjects and styles, or in a somewhat primitive limner tradition. Then art met transcendentalism and the first truly American style was born with the painters of the Hudson River School. The wonders of the American landscape continued to enthrall native and immigrant artists through the Luminist, Barbizon, and American Impressionist styles. At the Norton we’ll explore the journey through American art history with the innovations and master works of American painters like Thomas Sully, Rembrandt Peale, Thomas Cole, George Inness, and Mary Cassatt.

Unknown Artist George Washington
AMERICAN HISTORY

How was America born? Where did her people come from? What challenges did they face? Using paintings, porcelain, and sculpture, students explore the timeline of American History from the first Native American inhabitants to the closing of the frontier in 1890. Works by Thomas Sully, Rembrandt Peale, Charles Russell, and Frederic Remington are included in this tour.

Inness Edge of the Hill
COLORFUL CREATIONS (Smalls' Tour)

This tour is a fun, uncomplicated introduction to artistic vocabulary where students learn to appreciate artwork by putting in their “artist’s eyes.” A reading of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See, begins a great hunt for colors, and we’ll have fun with finding lines and forms in art work after reading Lines that Wiggle.

Wedgwood Mercury
GRECO-ROMAN TOUR: MYTHS AND WARS

Any visit to a museum is automatically a visit to Greco-Roman history. The word “museum” itself derives from a Greek phrase mean “Home of the muses”. The Greeks and the Romans, long after they were political powers, continued to educate, inspire, and inform Western culture; they provided the foundation for the civilization in which we continue to live, and their thoughts and deeds continue to awe and instruct us more than a thousand years after their world ceased to exist. The tour explores the classical influence of ancient Greece and the Roman Empire on works and artists in the gallery, and unravels in depth the history depicted in the tapestries.

Perils of Pigment Poster
PERILS OF PIGMENTS

This tour was born with a young man’s questions: “When was color invented?” The Norton explored the history of painter’s pigments, delving into how the old masters created their first paints. We uncovered some gruesome discoveries: 20,000 insects expired for a scintilla of scarlet; 12,000 mollusks gave their lives for a pinch of purple, and countless artists paid the price for color in infirmity, invalidism, and even death. The high cost of art hasn’t just been measured in dollars and cents. Combining science and history, we’ll identify which artists used what type of paints to create their masterpieces.

Russell Self Portrait
REMINGTON/RUSSELL

One was a professional artist and an amateur cowboy, while the other was a professional cowboy and an amateur artist. Exploring the painting and sculptures of the powerhouses of cowboy art - Frederic Remington and Charles Russell - students will learn how the mythology and legends of the Old West were created or captured.


Seasonal Tours

Halloween Poster
OCTOBER: HALLOWEEN TOUR

Mystery lies at the heart of every horror experience: who’s that tap-tap-tapping on my window? Why is that shadowy figure lurk-lurk-lurking in the corner? What IS that how-how- howling at the moon?! Delve into the deep mysteries of the R.W. Norton Art Gallery on this terrible tour of terror!

Get revved up for Halloween with this story filled-tour inspired by our spookiest art. All new ghost stories await those brave enough to attend. Our professional storyteller is fully capable of protecting even the youngest of our visitors from the fearful denizens lurking in our midst, so feel free to bring the whole class. We’re just DYING to meet y’all....

This tour is free of charge and limited to groups of 30 people.

Christmas
DECEMBER: HOLIDAY TOUR

What makes gift-giving so precious has nothing to do with money. It has everything to do with the quality we might call mindfulness – paying attention, knowing what was really important, giving something that reflects an understanding of those often intangible things that are most important to the recipient. Join us as we explore the gifts our artists have given to friends, family, and the world at large with this guided tour of our permanent collection.

Our professional storyteller will spin all new yarns about the days of yore, warming hearts and eliciting grins about the spirit of the season.

This tour is free of charge and limited to groups of 30 students.

Spring Garden Tour
SPRING: GARDEN TOUR

Celebrate the season with the Spring Walking tour! We'll take the guided tour outside for a tip-toe through the tulips. Wear your walking shoes - we have 40 acres of manicured gardens, including our famous azalea beds, bronze statues, and watergardens to explore.
Do dark skies threaten on the day of the tour? Fear not! We'll enjoy an indoor Rainy- Day tour, exploring spring-themed artwork throughout the museum.

This tour is free of charge and limited to groups of 30 students.

First Saturday Tours

The First Saturday Tour program was launched in February 2007 as an opportunity to present thematic tours to the general public at a regular intervals.

These tours have explored such serious matters as “Depictions of Native Americans in Art,” comparing and contrasting the evolution of American thought and attitudes towards the continent’s original inhabitants and the plight of female artists in “Great Artists Who Just Happen to be Women”.

We’ve also taken a light-hearted view of our collection with the “Guys and Dolls” tour, which explored the complex (and sometimes comical) battle between the sexes, as well as touring our Antique Dolls and Firearm collection.

We’ve even tackled the technical aspects of our works with the “Painting Techniques” tour, answering the age-old (and often asked) question: How do they do that? We have even offered performance based tours centered around our spookiest art with the Halloween Tour and shared stories of the season with the Christmas tour.

Thought-provoking, chuckle-inducing, and all around good fun, the First Saturday Tours are completely free to the general public every first Saturday of the month at 2 p.m. No reservation is needed, but groups of 10 or more are asked to call 318-865-4201 ext. #128 in advance.


The Classical Influence Tour

4 October 2014 @ 2:00 pm

After a short visit to our "Origins of Western Art" gallery to see the inspiration of genuine classical art, we'll explore Renaissance, 18th, 19th, and 20th century works inspired by the historical and mythological figures of the classical age, along with the stories surrounding these key figures of Western Civilization.



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Celebrating the Natural World

1 November 2014 @ 2:00 pm

From prehistoric times onwards, artists have been fascinated with the world around them. The earliest art usually depicted animals and it is still flora and fauna of the natural world that is most often painted today by professional and amateur alike. 



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Christmas - The Power of the Word

6 December 2014 @ 2:00 pm

A family favorite, the Christmas tour uses artwork and stories to explore the true meaning of Christmas, culminating with an exploration of the Norton's annual in-house Christmas exhibition, featuring religious works celebrating Christmas throughout the Christian world from East to West.



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Self-Guided Tour Information

For those who wish to see the Norton at their own pace, we offer Self Guided tours. These brochures may be picked up in the lobby or downloaded below.

American

American Art History

Traces the evolution of painting styles in America from Birch to Bierstadt and beyond
Decorative Arts

Decorative Arts

An appreciation of the decorative arts including our collections of Steuben glass, colonial silver, Cybis porcelain, and Wedgwood
HRS School

Hudson River School

A complete walk through the first significant American art movement from Cole and Durand to Bierstadt and Sonntag
American History

American History

A journey through early American History which includes our Civil War Gallery and the conquest of the West
European Experience

European Experience

A look at significant European works including our tapestries, paintings by Dutch masters, Les Animaliers sculpture, and works by Rodin
Painting Techniques

Painting Techniques

Answering the question, "How did they do that?", this tour explores several works of art and their techniques and terminology
American Sculpture

American Sculpture

Takes a look at great American sculptors, including Borglum, Farnham, Russell, Remington, Saint-Gaudens, and others
French Art History

French Art History

Explores Barye to Barbizons, Romantics to Rodin, complete with French art terminology
Perils of Pigment

Perils of Pigment

Uncovering the artistry and history of color and divulging the dangers of painting
Cowboy Artists

Cowboy Artists

Covering Russell and Remington, but also the works of other significant "cowboy" artists like Stanley, Shreyvogel, and A.D.M. Cooper
French Sculpture

French Sculpture

Explores French sculpture from neo-classical to the Romantic to the Modern using the works of Barye, Dalou, Rodin and others in the permanent collection
Remington/Russell

Remington/Russell

An in-depth look at two of America's premier western artists in galleries dedicated to their work



To schedule a guided tour, call the Norton at (318) 865-4201 ext. 128 or email at least three weeks in advance of a planned visit. Scheduling is limited to availability.



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