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Youth and Family Programs

Youth and family programs at the National Portrait Gallery are designed to “inform, involve, and inspire” the visitor. Programs allow visitors to have an interactive gallery experience and an opportunity to create an original work of art inspired by the gallery experience.

teen competition

Third Annual Teen Portrait Competition

Entries accepted through Oct. 30, 2015

The National Portrait Gallery opens a "call for entries" for the third annual Teen Portrait Competition.

Teen Museum Council at the National Portrait Gallery
Wednesdays after school, September 2015, through June 2016, from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. (except during winter and spring breaks) and on days of Teen Council events.

Join the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery Teen Museum Council. The Teen Museum Council is an intensive year long program for D.C. Metro area teens (ages 14-18) who are interested in leadership; want to learn about themselves through portraiture, history and art; and want to make NPG a place for teenagers to have a great experience. Come help us make history!

Description and application

Open Studio Fridays
Education Center, Room E151
Friday afternoons
1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

(Schedule subject to change)

Join us on Friday afternoons for some creative fun! Check out a Portrait Discovery Kit to explore the museum. You may also explore a different art material each week as it relates to portraiture.

Check the calendar Open Studio Fridays dates.

Portrait Story Days Family Program
On select Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year

Young visitors and their families may drop in to listen to a story about a famous person from history and create a special piece of art in the Portrait Gallery’s Education Center.

Check the calendar for upcoming Portrait Story Days

Portrait Discovery Kits
On select Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year

Discovery KitPortrait Discovery Kits offer an interactive, imaginative self-guided tour of the people who are in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection and their contributions to American history. The kits include “Seek and Find” cards, “Portrait Detective” and “Historian Guides” and a “Compare and Contrast” activity using a doll. Visitors can check out kits at the National Portrait Gallery education center, room E151 on the first floor. Kits need to be returned prior to 4 p.m. Appropriate for families with children ages 4 to 14.

Check the calendar Discovery Kit availability dates.

Be the Artist Youth and Family Program

2:00 - 4:00 p.m. on select Saturdays throughout the year

Meets in NPG's Education Center, Room E151, first floor

This class is designed for children ages 5 and up and their families to explore portraiture more in-depth. Participants will take a brief guided tour of an exhibition focusing on an object or two, listen to a story or short gallery talk, and create a piece of art using some of the same materials or concepts.

Registration required. Class size limited to 34 participants. Parents and guardians must remain with their children. Please reserve spaces for everyone in your group - both children and adults.

Click here to register

Class size is limited to 34 participants. Parents and guardians must remain with their children.

FACING HISTORY: Girl Scout Programs

Juliette Gordon Low The National Portrait Gallery offers exciting interactive programs that allow Girl Scout Brownie, Junior, and Cadette troops an opportunity for an educational and culturally enriching museum experience while earning points toward Girl Scout Legacy badges and Girl Scout Journey completions.

Registration takes place up to two months in advance. Please consult with your troops before registering for a program to confirm their availability.

Click here to register

   Girl Scout program description

Young Portrait Explorers

Toddlers up to age five and their adult companions are invited to become a Young Portrait Explorer and to discover the National Portrait Gallery through history and art. The activities include looking at a portrait or two, listening to a story, and participating in a hands-on activity. Registration required. Registration is required.

Register here

Class size is limited to 25 participants. Parents and guardians must remain with their children. Gather in G Street lobby at 10:15 a.m. The program will begin promptly at 10:30 a.m.

Family Days at the National Portrait Gallery

mascotFamily Day programs at the National Portrait Gallery are interactive, fun, hands-on, and informative and include such elements as story time, a gallery self-guide (scavenger hunt), arts activities, and dance and musical performances. Themes for these family days incorporate permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as Smithsonian Heritage Month calendar observances. NPG partners with the Smithsonian American Art Museum for several annual family day events, such as Presidential Family Fun Day each February and Baseball Family Day each summer. Family Days are free and open to the public; no reservations are necessary. To check for upcoming Family Days, click on:

Check the calendar for upcoming Family Days. This program is sponsored in part by the Reinsch Family Education Endowment.

After School Opportunities

Does your school have a history club? If yes, we would love to connect with you. We offer limited after-school programs tailored for your interests. If you have any questions, please call 202-633-5385.

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Phone: (202) 633-5385
FAX: (202) 633-8521
Mailing Address:
Office of Education
National Portrait Gallery
P.O. Box 37012
Washington, D.C. 20013-0712


Self-Guide for Families

Visiting the museum with children? Please print this interactive guide to help you navigate the National Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum. Guides are also available at the Information Desk in the museum.

   Print the Self-Guide


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