Museums National Parks/Monuments Travel

National Gallery of Art

(Last Updated On: January 28, 2019)

One of our favorite stops in Washington, DC was the National Gallery of Art. Though you could walk around in the gallery for weeks, we spent about an hour exploring some of our favorite artists. There are two buildings in the National Gallery, the east and the west. The east is primarily filled with modern art, though there are other pieces as well, but we really like the old masterpieces, so we visited the west building.

In order to make your trip worthwhile, here are a few tips that helped us enjoy our visit to the National Gallery of Art.

Prepare Your Kids

Before we went in, we had a little talk with our children about classic art. We wanted to make sure that they understand that some artists depict nude people in their pieces. We explained how we felt about this and gave our children options about how to react when this situation arises, because it will certainly arise. So, we leave it to you to talk to your kids about this topic, but in our case, it helped our boys to handle the art in the museum because they had an expectation before they went in.

Rembrandt

Choose Your Artists

The National Gallery is arranged by period and style we recommend figuring out what style or artist you want to see and asking for the gallery number at the front desk. Then wander through galleries along the way looking at other pieces until you reach your destination. This gives you a chance to see unexpected pieces and still see your favorites. If you try to take in all the pieces, particularly with children, you’ll wear out pretty fast, because you could wander for weeks without seeing every painting.

The museum itself is beautiful.
We headed right for the Impressionist Gallery.
Monet is one of our favorites.

Enjoy the Artwork

As you can see from the pictures, we like impressionists, particularly Van Gogh, so we found his gallery number. Then instead of going straight through the main corridor to the gallery, we wandered back and forth through rooms along the way, picking out Rembrandts, and as we got closer, Renoirs, Monets, and Gaugins. This seemed to be a good strategy for exploring the National Gallery.

Along the way you may take as many pictures as you want, but be careful about posing with the art. Stay at least a foot away from the walls and be careful if you’re wearing a backpack. Most of all, have fun!

Van Gogh is our favorite!
It was fun to share our love of Van Gogh with our children.
Our oldest has studied lots of artists at school so he was excited to recognize many paintings.

A Few More Tips

  • No Food or Drink is allowed in the Museum
  • You cannot carry children in carriers, or kids on shoulders.
  • Strollers are welcome.
  • There is a security check to enter the building.
  • They do not allow large bags or backpacks in the National Gallery of Art. You can check your bag and other items for free at the door.
  • There are different family guides at the front desks. They are booklets that focuses on a certain type of art such as French or Italian. There are different activities and things to look for as you view this artwork, and it has a map that shows you where to go.
There is artwork everywhere.

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