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Release Date: May 24, 2010

With a New Children's Audio Tour and an Array of Family-Oriented Activities, the National Gallery of Art is the Ideal Summer Destination for Visitors of All Ages

Washington, DC—This summer, family activities at the National Gallery of Art promise excitement and education in a variety programs for children of all ages, including international films, hands-on art making, poetry writing, and an exploration of Italian art. In July the Gallery will launch a free audio tour of highlights from the collection that is specifically designed for children. All of the Gallery's family programs are free. No advance registration is required; participation is on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, visit or subscribe to the Gallery's monthly e-newsletter for families at Family and teen programs are made possible in part by the generosity of the Prince Charitable Trusts. Additional support for 2010 has been provided by The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.

Children's Audio Tour: West Building Highlights

Explore 50 paintings in the West Building with an audio tour designed especially for children ages 7 to 12. Handheld digital audio players allow children to move at their own pace and choose from a list of stops that include works by Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, and Winslow Homer. The audio tour will be available free of charge beginning in July and may be picked up at the Acoustiguide desk located in the Rotunda on the Main Floor of the West Building. For group reservations (10 or more), call (202) 842-6592. The audio tour, with images, will also be available on the Gallery's Web site at beginning in July. The National Gallery of Art Children's Audio Tour is made possible through the generous support of the MSST Foundation.

Family Guide: Italian and Dutch Art at the National Gallery of Art

Pick up a free family booklet at one the Gallery's information desks. Designed for families with children ages 6 and older, the booklet helps visitors explore the Gallery's Italian and Dutch collection, using activities and questions to encourage discussion. Study a portrait by Leonardo da Vinci, a Madonna by Raphael, or a Dutch landscape or still life, then sketch your own portrait. The booklet is also available to download at This family guide is made possible through the generous support of the MSST Foundation.

Film Program for Children and Teens

With an exciting selection of recently produced foreign and domestic films, the Gallery's Film Program for Children and Teens offers innovative programming, enhances visitor enjoyment of the Gallery's collections and exhibitions, and fosters an understanding of film as an art form. A variety of films—including animation, live action, and classics—is presented to appeal to both youth and adult audiences. Age recommendations are intended to assist parents in choosing the most emotionally and intellectually stimulating films for their children. Feature films are in English unless otherwise noted.

All film programs are shown in the East Building Auditorium. Food and drink are not permitted. No advance registration is required. Programs are free and subject to change without notice. Seating is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Groups are welcome. For up-to-date information on the current month's films, please call (202) 789-3030.

Reel Harmony
Saturday, July 10, 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, July 11, 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday, July 14, 10:30 a.m.
ages 4 and up

Sound is vital to film, enhancing and creating many moods, from the comical to the magical. Tune in to this selection of international short films that use music and sound, instead of dialogue, to help tell the story. Films include Boogie Doodle (Norman McLaren, Canada, 1941, 4 minutes), Tah-Dah (Stacey Chomiak, Canada/USA, 2009, 3 minutes), RosaSommer (Lale Nalpantoglu, Germany, 2008, 5 minutes), An Artist (Michèle Cournoyer, Canada, 1994, 5 minutes), Pupil's Concert (Jan Otto Ertesvag, Norway, 2009, 10 minutes), A Little Symphony in the Forest (Masataka Hiroyasu, Japan, 2009, 3 minutes), and Jeu (Georges Schwizgebel, Canada, 2006, 4 minutes).

Eleanor's Secret
(Dominique Monféry, France, 2009, 76 minutes)
Wednesday, August 4, 10:30 a.m.
Saturday, August 7, 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, August 8, 11:30 a.m.
ages 6 and up

In this colorful animated feature, characters from classic fairy tales come to life to help a young boy learn to read. When seven-year-old Nat goes to spend summer vacation in the seaside villa that belonged to his eccentric aunt Eleanor, he learns that she has left him the key to her attic library. While he has fond memories of Eleanor reading to him from her enormous collection of storybooks, Nat is frustrated and embarrassed by his inability to read the books himself. Just as his parents are selling the collection to a shady antiques dealer, Nat discovers that the library is magical and he sets off on an adventure to save his friends and their stories. English-language version.

Summer Drop-In Programs

Summer programs for families are organized into two series—Stories in Art (ages 4–7) and Artful Conversations (ages 8–11)—designed to engage children and adults with works of art in the galleries. While many of the Gallery's family programs work with a broad range of ages, these summer programs are age-specific. Children's developmental stages have been taken into account in the planning of the programs, so as a courtesy to the group, we will only accept sign-in for children in the age ranges listed.

These free drop-in programs are designed for individual families, and we cannot accommodate groups. Space is limited to 70 children per session. There is no advance registration; participation is on a first-come, first-served basis. Each program lasts approximately 60 minutes. Program times, dates, and topics follow. For information, call (202) 789-3030.

Stories in Art
ages 4–7

This series of programs uses storytelling to introduce children to works of art. Led by museum educators, each program includes reading a children's book, looking at one work of art in the galleries, and completing a simple hands-on activity. The summer series is presented in a four-year cycle—Explore Italy, Discover Dutch Art, Tour de France, American Adventure—where each topic highlights a different part of the permanent collection.

Programs are offered on Sundays at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 1:30 p.m. and on Mondays and Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 12:30 p.m. Sign-in for Stories in Art will take place in the West Building Rotunda, beginning at 10:00 a.m. on weekdays and at 11:00 a.m. on Sundays, and will continue until all spaces are filled.

Summer Story Series: Explore Italy

It's time for children to pack their imaginations and travel to the National Gallery of Art. They'll meet Italian artists, investigate paintings and sculpture from Italy, and make a souvenir to document each adventure. Ride a gondola through the canals of Venice, learn how artists painted with gold, tour ancient buildings of Rome, and meet a mysterious giant. Children will receive a Passport to the Summer Story Series and a stamp for each program they attend. If they have three or more stamps at the end of the summer, they will receive a prize.

Ride a Gondola
Gaspard on Vacation by Anne Gutman, illustrated by Georg Hallensleben
Sundays, July 11 and August 8
Mondays, July 12 and August 9
Tuesdays, July 13 and August 10

Travel to Venice with Gaspard and have a wild adventure paddling through the canals. Examine Canaletto's paintings of Venice to learn more about this unique city, and then use oil pastels to create your own view of Venice.

Meet an Artist

A Boy Named Giotto by Paolo Guarnieri, illustrated by Bimba Landmann
Sunday, July 18
Monday, July 19
Tuesday, July 20

Hear the story of a shepherd boy named Giotto who becomes a famous painter, learn about how he made his painting with gold, and then make your own "golden" work of art to take home.

Tour the Pantheon
Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
Sunday, July 25
Monday, July 26
Tuesday, July 27

Visit one of the most famous architectural sites in Rome through the paintings of Giovanni Panini. Then listen to a story about Iggy Peck, a young architect who saves his teacher through creative engineering.

Visit a Village
The Mysterious Giant of Barletta by Tomie DePaola
Sunday, August 1
Monday, August 2
Tuesday, August 3

Hear a folktale from southern Italy, investigate sculptures, and then create a clay sculpture to take home.

Artful Conversations
ages 8–11

Designed for children and adults to participate in together, this series of programs uses observation and discussion to explore works of art in the collection. Led by museum educators, each program includes looking at one work of art in the galleries, accompanied by a creative writing activity.

Programs offered on Wednesdays and Sundays at 1:00 and 2:30 p.m. (see schedule below). Sign-in for Artful Conversations will take place in the East Building Atrium, beginning at 12:30 p.m., and will continue until all spaces are filled.

Artful Conversations Summer Series

Many museum visitors spend only seconds looking at a work of art. Find out what visitors can discover when they spend an hour exploring one work of art. These guided discussions will delve deep into masterpieces from the Gallery's collection. This summer will explore 19th- and 20th-century American and European paintings, and each week participants will create poems inspired by the painting they investigate. Each participant will receive a booklet to accompany this series and a stamp for each program attended. If children have three or more stamps at the end of the summer, they will receive a prize.

Week 1: Artful Acrostics
Sunday, July 18
Wednesday, July 21

Week 2: Harmonious Haiku
Sunday, July 25
Wednesday, July 28

Week 3: Creatively Concrete
Sunday, August 1
Wednesday, August 4

Week 4: Dashing Diamante
Sunday, August 8
Wednesday, August 11

The Children's Shop

The Children's Shop on the Concourse level offers an array of art-inspired items for children, including books, games and puzzles, toys, artists' supplies, and DVDs. To browse a small selection online, visit

Dining at the Gallery

Cascade Café
East Building, Concourse Level

The Cascade Café, with a view of the cascade waterfall, offers an affordable selection of soups, salads, specialty entrées, wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches, daily Chef's Table specials, and a selection of fresh pastries and desserts. A selection of Value Meals is available at several food stations, including sandwiches, pizza, hamburgers, and chicken tenders. For those with limited time, we offer prepackaged lunch boxes containing a sandwich, chips, cookie, and a beverage, which may be ordered in advance. For information about boxed lunches and group lunch vouchers, please call (202) 712-7458. Hours of operation are Monday–Saturday, 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. and Sunday, 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Espresso & Gelato Bar
East Building, Concourse Level

A full espresso bar offers 19 flavors of house-made gelato, sandwiches, antipasti, and a selection of fresh pastries and desserts. It is open Monday–Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. and Sunday, 11:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Garden Café Français
West Building, Ground Floor

Inspired by the French impressionist masterpieces in the Chester Dale Collection, Chef Michel Richard developed the Garden Café Français menu primarily around classic French dishes that were popular in the 19th century and continue to be served on many French tables to this day. Children aged 10 years and younger may enjoy the buffet for a reduced price of $8.95 (regular price is $19.75). Continuing the Gallery's popular themed menus inspired by exhibitions, Richard's offerings for Garden Café Français will be available through February 10, 2011, in the West Building Garden Café.

Garden Café Français is open Monday–Saturday, 11:30 a.m. –3:00 p.m., and Sunday, noon–4:00 p.m. One of the most distinctive dining spots in the nation's capital, the Garden Café features a fountain with Herbert Adams' sculpture Girl with Water Lilies (model 1928) near the West Building entrance at 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW.

Pavilion Café
Sculpture Garden

With a panoramic view of the Sculpture Garden, the Pavilion Café offers specialty pizzas, sandwiches, salads, desserts, and assorted beverages. Outdoor seating is available weather permitting. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Pavilion Café is open Monday–Thursday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.; Friday, 10:00 a.m.–8:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Located on the National Mall at 7th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, in the block adjacent to the West Building of the Gallery, the Sculpture Garden has six entrances and is accessible to visitors with disabilities. For questions or comments regarding the Pavilion Café, please call the café manager at (202) 289-3360.

More information about the many dining options at the Gallery, as well as menus and recipe cards available to download, may be found at

General Information

For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000 South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]

The Gallery also offers a broad range of newsletters for various interests. Follow this link to view the complete list.

Press Release