Student Guide Program

2017–18 Student Guides, Library Court, Yale Center for British Art, photograph by Richard Caspole


The Center is home to an active Student Guide Program, offering Yale undergraduates from all disciplines the opportunity to work closely with works of art and museum departments. Student guides meet weekly to learn about the Center’s collections, refine their touring skills, spend time in the Rare Books & Manuscripts and Prints & Drawings departments, take trips to area museums and galleries, and work on an annual student-curated Art in Focus exhibition.

Yale undergraduate teaching painting to three other students, fourth-floor galleries, Yale Center for British Art, photograph courtesy of Education

The Student Guide Program began in the fall of 2002 with the aim of increasing the profile and use of the Center among Yale undergraduates. Guides develop introductory tours of the Center’s collections based on their interests. The program is run under the guidance of Linda Friedlaender, Senior Curator of Education.

Submissions are now open for the 2019–20 academic year. If you are a Yale undergraduate interested in becoming a student guide, applications are being accepted through Tuesday, September 10, 2019. Register online today!

For more information, contact Education ( | +1 203 432 2858), or follow the Center’s student guides on Facebook and Instagram.

2017 Student Guides with John O'Brien, photograph courtesy of Education

John F. O’Brien Acquisition Program

As a longtime Friend of British Art, John O’Brien has established an endowment in support of arts education at the Center with the specific aim of increasing undergraduates’ appreciation of, and commitment to, the arts by involving them in the acquisition process. The fund will be used to support both the purchase of artworks for the Center and the students’ involvement in their acquisition, including research and travel.

The idea for this inspired gift came from O’Brien’s own experience as an undergraduate at Georgetown University. While in school, he began visiting galleries in Washington, DC, and gained considerable knowledge from the dealers beyond the classroom. This experience proved invaluable as he formed a significant collection of Japanese prints and Italian paintings. While history of art courses and student guide experiences afford undergraduates the opportunity to learn about various aspects of the collections, O’Brien recognized that the acquisition process might remain a mystery without this special opportunity of hands-on experience. 

Read more about the this program here.

2017–18 Student Guides, second-floor galleries, Yale Center for British Art, photograph by Ronnie Rysz

Art in Focus

Art in Focus is an annual initiative for members of the Center’s Student Guide Program, providing curatorial experience and an introduction to all aspects of exhibition practice. In researching and presenting the exhibition, the students are mentored by Linda Friedlaender. Previous student guide exhibitions include Art in Focus: Gazes Returned (2012), Art in Focus: St Ives Abstraction (2013), Art in Focus: Wales (2014), Art in Focus: Relics of Old London (2016), Art in Focus: The British Castle—A Symbol in Stone (2017). In 2018, returning student guides researched and presented the exhibition Art in Focus: John Goto’s “High Summer.”

Students making T-shirts that read "Keep Calm and ..."

Art Club

Each semester the Student Guide Program hosts an Art Club social event at the Center for students from across the university. Student guides offer gallery tours, refreshments, and art-making that is inspired by a British artwork, artist, or theme.