Guided Programs Frequently Asked Questions
To book a guided program, please read the information found on this page and fill out the booking form. Someone will reach out as soon as possible to get your program on our schedule!
If you plan on bringing packed lunches to eat inside at the museum, you must reserve a 30-minute time slot in one of our group lunchrooms. If you indicate you need a lunchroom on the booking form, a lunchtime will be scheduled for you based on availability (the time and location will be listed on your confirmation letter). If you don’t see a lunchtime listed but would like to reserve space, please contact Group Visits as soon as possible.
Payment is due no later than one week prior to your visit, and is submitted along with your signed confirmation letter. Payment can be accepted by check made out to Carnegie Institute or by credit card. Please let Group Visits staff know if these payment options are a barrier for your school or group.
Yes! We have scholarships available for schools and groups booking guided programs who demonstrate financial need. Funding decisions are based on free and reduced lunch eligibility or other comparable factors. More information is on the field trip booking request page.
Planning for Your Visit
Backpacks are not permitted to be worn on your back in the museum. We recommend leaving backpacks and large bags in the provided green carts when you arrive. If it is necessary to bring backpacks into the galleries, they must be carried at your side like a briefcase or worn on your front.
Food and drinks are not permitted in the museum. All food and drinks must be consumed and stored in the lunchrooms or outside.
Chaperones and teachers are admitted free for field trips at a ratio of up to 1 adult for every 5 learners, and additional chaperones can be included at a reduced admission rate. The required minimum is 1 adult for every 10 learners.
About one week before your scheduled program, we will be in touch by email with information on how you should divide your group. For tours, each group will be assigned a Natural History Interpreter to guide the tour. Groups are usually about 10 learners (or 5-7 for our youngest learners). We suggest having assigned groups before you arrive.
If you need a specific number of groups or have any questions about this, please contact CMNHTours@carnegiemnh.org at least two weeks in advance.
Day of Program
The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History are located in Oakland at 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.
For guests arriving in cars or vans, there is parking available onsite at the museum for $10 per day (pay on entry). The parking lot entrance is located at the corner of Forbes Avenue and South Craig Street. Additional free and metered street parking is available in Oakland near the museum on a first come, first served basis.
Bus parking is not available onsite at the museum. Please refer to the map in your confirmation packet for bus parking suggestions.
K – 12 Guided Program Groups check in at the Portal Entrance located in the rear of the museum. Buses should enter the museum parking lot at the corner of Forbes Avenue and South Craig Street to unload at the back of the museum at the Portal Entrance. Security and Visitor & Museum Services staff greet buses when they arrive and direct learners and chaperones into the building. The group leader should check in with museum staff in the small office located in the back right of the Portal area.
Afternoon and weekend guided tour groups may be directed to check in at the front desk. Please keep an eye on your email in the week leading up to the tour for information about where to check in and meet for your tour.
During a guided tour, trained Natural History Interpreters lead their groups through one or several exhibitions, making many stops to observe, ask and answer questions, and explore hands-on materials when possible. Every tour is a little different – Interpreters customize each experience based on the needs and interests of each group. We encourage talking on the bus ride home and sharing some of the favorite things that each group learned!
If you have time to spend on your own before or after your program, we suggest exploring the museum! Museum staff can provide maps and suggest exhibitions that your group might enjoy exploring.
Here’s a look at the museum’s exhibitions by floor.
Benedum Hall of Geology
Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems
Wertz Gallery of Gems and Jewelry
Dinosaurs in Their Time
The Age of Mammals: Cenozoic Era
Bone Hunters’ Quarry
Art of the Diorama
If you are running late, please call 412.622.3289 or 412.622.3288 to give us a heads-up. Unfortunately, we are not able to adjust program times for late arrivals, but we will do what we can to make sure everyone still has a great visit!
Yes! Please call 412.622.3289 or 412.622.3288 as early as possible, preferably before 9:30am, if you are not able to make your scheduled visit due to the weather. We can work with you to find another visit date. We will contact you as soon as possible if the museum is closed due to the weather.