Van Gogh Museum’s Free Interactive Lessons for in the Classroom and Online

Van Gogh Museum’s Free Interactive Lessons for in the Classroom and Online

The current coronavirus pandemic brings with it considerable challenges regarding education: for pupils and teachers, as well as for parents and carers. The Van Gogh Museum is therefore delighted that in these challenging times, in which it is not always possible to visit a museum, teachers, parents, and carers all around the world are still engaged with Van Gogh and his art. For many years, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has offered teaching materials through Van Gogh at School: a platform with free interactive online lessons for primary and secondary schools. During the first global wave of coronavirus in 2020, during which school closures meant a switch to distance learning, visits to the English-language lessons increased by 273%. The museum is constantly updating the range of lessons: last week, two new lessons were added to the free Van Gogh at School platform.

‘I think there would be children who became painters if only they saw good things’.
Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo, September 1889

Teaching materials for primary and secondary education

For several years and counting, the Van Gogh Museum has offered free (online) teaching materials on Vincent van Gogh for primary and secondary schools. The interactive lessons can be taught on classroom smart boards, but are also suitable for online (home)schooling, covering subjects including crafts, drawing, cultural and artistic education, languages, history, and geography.

All lessons address the life and work of Vincent van Gogh, featuring elements such as images, assignments and interactive quiz questions. The lessons are cross-subject, so they can easily be used in a wide variety of situations.

For example, the museum recently collaborated with high-tech company ASML to launch Masterminds & Masterpieces, a program of lessons for primary and secondary schools uniting art and technology, which challenge pupils to learn more about the effects of UV rays. Other lessons draw on stories related to Vincent van Gogh and the museum, such as a maths lesson related to Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen, the stolen painting that returned to the museum in 2017. The lesson uses the composition of the painting to teach children to estimate and calculate in percentages.

All of the teaching materials for (all levels of) primary and secondary education are offered for free on the Van Gogh Museum website and on the Van Gogh at School educational platform.

5x Van Gogh Museum online for children
The Van Gogh Museum has plenty more to offer online, for children of all ages.

  1. StoryZoo videos. StoryZoo is an educational animation series for children aged 3 to 6. The Van Gogh Museum has collaborated with StoryZoo to produce special episodes in which Bax, Pepper and Toby introduce young viewers to Vincent’s most famous paintings from the Van Gogh Museum collection.
  2. Colouring pages: download and print colouring pages to create your own version of Vincent’s masterpieces.
  3. Van Gogh on YouTube: this video, produced for viewers aged 9 to 14, reveals who Vincent van Gogh was, and how he became an artist.
  4. Learn to paint like Van Gogh: in these instruction videos, children learn to paint just like the famous artist.
  5. Children’s books: The Van Gogh Museum has published a range of children’s books, in various languages. Read and learn about Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and his friendships.

More tips are available on the Van Gogh Museum website.