Sketching and Note-taking Guidelines

The NGV welcomes sketching and note-taking in its permanent galleries, and since it’s re-opening after the 1999-2003 redevelopment has relaxed the previous rules, including allowing photography in our galleries.

However in the case of temporary exhibitions, with items borrowed from public and private collections around the world, the loan agreements regularly specify that sketching and note-taking are not allowed, as a condition of the loan.  This is understandable, as there is a higher risk of unintentional damage being done in the context of large, moving crowds.  This is an international convention which binds the NGV.

The following are our general guidelines:

Permanent Collection

The National Gallery of Victoria encourages artists and students to make full use of the permanent collection, and encourages the practice of sketching and note-taking in all permanent collection galleries.

The following conditions apply:

  • pencils rather than pens must be used
  • no spray fixatives and/or varnishes may be used
  • easels and paints are permitted with written permission in advance; sketchbooks or paper must not be larger than an A3 sheet (42.0 x 29.7 cm).
  • when sketching or note-taking in the permanent gallery spaces sketchers should take care not to obscure works on display from other visitors, school tours and other tour groups and be mindful of congestion within the gallery.

Temporary Exhibitions

As a condition of loan to most exhibitions, lenders or insurers regularly specify that no pens, pencils or other writing implements may be used in the exhibition. We agree to these conditions of loan to ensure that we are able to include the best examples of work for the exhibition. If lender restrictions apply they will be signed at the ticketing desk and entry to the exhibition.