Explore the NGV

In art galleries, you get to see the real thing – original artworks – and experience their colour, size, texture and detail, all the things that can be lost in a reproduction.

Art galleries have not always been around. The first public art galleries opened in the late 1700s. Before then, art collections were only accessible to a privileged few (although public places and buildings such as churches sometimes had wonderful artworks).

The National Gallery of Victoria was founded in 1861 and is the oldest public art gallery in Australia. Its collection spans art from ancient civilisations to contemporary artworks fresh from artists’ studios. All belong to the people of Victoria and can be seen free of charge at the Gallery’s two city locations:  the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia and NGV International.

Join us behind the scenes and find out how the Gallery collects and cares for artworks, creates exhibitions, and helps you get the most out of the art collection. You’ll also get to meet some of the people who work in the Gallery and learn about the work they do.

Collecting explains the process of finding, choosing and buying artworks for the Gallery’s collection.

Conserving explains how NGV conservators care for artworks in the Gallery collection and why their work is so important

Exhibiting and Interpreting looks at how artworks are presented in the Gallery and the role of curators and exhibition designers in creating exhibitions.

Explore the NGV activities and projects offers individual and group learning activities to use in the classroom and the Gallery.


Explore Art

About art introduces you to some ideas and questions to think about while exploring art.

How to explore art
introduces you to the Art Start model for exploring artworks.

Explore – the world in the artwork explains how what you see in an artwork helps you to uncover its meaning.

Explore – the world behind the artwork
explains how where and when an artwork was made – and who made it – helps you to explore the artwork’s meanings and ideas.

Explore – the world in front of the artwork explains how what has happened since an artwork was made influences how you interpret its meaning.

Exploring Tom Roberts Shearing the rams 1890 uses the Art Start model to explore this iconic Australian painting.

Explore art activities and projects offers individual and group learning activities to use in the classroom and the Gallery.