Performance of "Portraits Alive" -- theatrical gallery tours led by teens

For Teens

Teen Museum Council

Ever wonder what it might be like to work in a museum? Are you curious about American history or pop culture? Do you have a passion for art? Want to create fun activities for your friends and other area teens? Enjoy working with social media? If you said “yes” to any of these questions, join the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery Teen Museum Council.

TMC is a year-long commitment that meets once a week (September-May) on Wednesdays during the school year. Applications to the program are open to D.C. Metro area teens between the ages of 14 and 18 years old. Teens must be enrolled in high school and be in good standing. Apply by August 25, 2017.

Group photo of the Teen Museum council - a young diverse group of 13 students


Do you have fun taking photos? Do you like portraiture? Want to say more about who you are? Looking at famous people and portraits, using cameras, and more, you will create a unique portrait during this 5-day workshop, June 19–June 23, 2017, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. daily.

For teens ages 13 - 15. Applications launched March 31, 2017.

Learn more and apply >>

Imagine=Image students, taking photo portraits in the museum

Teen Portrait Competition

The Teen Portrait Competition was designed by teens, for teens. The call for entries for the 2017 competition launches in Fall 2017. Please check back for more information.

Learn more >>


Deep Thought by Tiffany Vargas, Winner of the Teen Portrait Competition, 2015
Deep Thought by Tiffany Vargas, Winner of the Teen Portrait Competition, 2015

Portraits Alive!

The Portraits Alive! program provides DC teens an opportunity to work at the museum during the summer.  The program takes place over a six-week period, typically late June through early August, for teens ages 16 - 17. Teen Ambassadors learn about portraiture by conducting research about an individual depicted in the Portrait Gallery collection, participating in writing and theater workshops with a local playwright, and creating monologues about their subjects. Costumed to look like their chosen sitters, they perform their speeches in front of the portraits for museum visitors. This interactive tour truly brings the portraits to life!

Students are selected through a partnership with the Department of Employment Services’ Mayor Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program.


Have a question about our teen programs? Email Blair Kirkbaumer, Teen Programs Coordinator, at KirkbaumerB@si.edu