Hannah and Lilian Warmbrand seek inspiration from the exhibition Chinoiserie (2009-2010) at NGV International before taking part in the NGV Kids Tot Spot Picture Plates session.
© National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Visiting with a family

There are many ways of exploring the NGV and looking at art with children. Below are a few tips for planning your visit and some practical information once you arrive. 

Getting Started

  • Explore this website at home and decide which part of the collection or exhibition you’d like to see during your visit.
  • Don’t try to see too much in one visit, and mornings are often better for younger children.
  • Allow 30 to 90 minutes for your visit and if necessary break up your Gallery time with another activity. At NGV International, you can visit the Sculpture garden and children can use up their energy on the climbing frame.
  • An empty stomach and looking at art do not mix. It’s a good idea to eat prior to your visit or plan to picnic in the garden at NGV International or to enjoy a snack at any of the Gallery cafes.
  • NGV Kids Trails and Activities have many ideas for what to see and how to look at art with children.
  • Talk to your children about what they might expect to see. Children enjoy finding works of art that they have seen before. Discovering Tom Robert’s painting Shearing the rams or Tiepolo’s, The Banquet of Cleopatra is much more exciting if they have seen a picture of the works beforehand.
  • Discuss why we don’t touch the works of art. They are precious and it is the NGV’s role to display and look after them. The oil on our fingers will actually cause damage and if we run in the gallery spaces we may accidentally knock something over.Let your eyes do the exploring and if those fingers just can’t behave pop them behind your back or to rest in a pocket!

At the Gallery

  • Make up fun activities. Play I Spy or counting games such as ‘how many birds, hats, dragon claws can you find?’ Imitate poses and facial expressions in the works of art. Go on a treasure hunt and find something furry, made of wood, gold or something you could wear. Make up stories to match a picture.'
  • Put into practice the strategies you have learned from the NGV Kids Activity Trails.
  • Older children may be interested in how to read labels and search for the oldest work of art or work out what objects are made from.
  • Choose from the NGV Shop a picture postcard of a work of art you have seen to take home as a memory. 
  • Look into joining in the extensive activities and programs NGV Kids has to offer.