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Visitor Policies

Please note that additional policies have been implemented in accordance with health and safety guidelines. Visit for details.

Gallery Conduct
For the protection of visitors and staff, as well as to preserve the Gallery's collections and facilities, the following policies apply when visiting:

Please do not touch objects in the galleries. Dirt, moisture, and other contaminants present on hands can stain or corrode the surfaces of artworks. Some works are more fragile than they appear, and even simple touching can cause permanent damage. 

Children may not be carried on the shoulders of another person or in a backpack child carrier. Unattended children under 12 years of age are not permitted in the galleries. Please keep your children with you at all times.

Please check or carry your backpack while in the galleries.

Prohibited Activities

While on any Gallery premises, you may not

  • Destroy, damage, or remove property
  • Climb on any part of the building or exhibits
  • Use loud or abusive language, or perform obscene or indecent acts
  • Loiter, sleep, or participate in unauthorized assemblies
  • Engage in disorderly conduct
  • Use, possess, or sell illegal drugs
  • Bring any of the following with you
    • Aerosol containers or nonaerosol sprays (except prescriptions for medical needs)
    • Firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either openly or concealed. The prohibition on firearms applies to all visitors, including those with firearm permits; only active law enforcement personnel authorized to carry firearms while here on official duty are excepted.
    • Coolers of any size
    • Flags on poles or sticks that do not fit into a backpack
    • Wagons, Segways, bicycles, skateboards, or powered or manual scooters. However, they are permitted on sidewalks.
    • Dogs or other animals (except service animals). However, they are permitted on sidewalks.

While on any Gallery premises except sidewalks and designated grassy areas, you may not

  • Protest or conduct a demonstration. The term “demonstration” includes demonstrations, picketing, speechmaking, marching, holding vigils or religious services and all other like forms of conduct that involve the communication or expression of views or grievances, engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which is reasonably likely to draw a crowd or onlookers.
  • Display or carry placards, signs, or banners
  • Solicit or advertise for commercial or charitable purposes or distribute advertisements, pamphlets, handbills, and flyers

Do not project images of any kind on Gallery buildings or works of art.


Checkrooms are free of charge and located at each entrance. Security requires all bags be inspected before they can be placed in the checkrooms, and all bags are subject to security inspection before entering the Gallery. The Gallery requires visitors to check luggage, backpacks, umbrellas, and any other item that cannot be carried reasonably and safely in the galleries at the checkroom. Luggage and other oversized bags must be presented for X-ray screening.

The Gallery is not responsible for loss or damage to laptop computers, cameras, fur coats, and other items of substantial value. Such items cannot be left in our checkrooms but may be carried into the galleries. Items larger than 17 x 26 inches (43 x 66 cm) are not permitted into the checkrooms or galleries.

The Gallery reserves the right to refuse other items and is not responsible for items held at the checkrooms.


All galleries and facilities are wheelchair accessible. Wheelchairs are available at all entrances on a first-come, first-served basis.


Strollers are available at all Gallery entrances on a first-come, first-served basis.


Sketching is permitted in the galleries (pencils and dry media only, no ink or paint).

School Tours 

For information about bringing your school group to the National Gallery of Art, see School Tours.

Independent Groups

At this time, guided tours and independently led groups are not permitted. Please explore the Gallery through our self-guided resources.

Food and Drink

Food and drink is permitted in the Gallery cafés only and may not be carried into the galleries or auditoriums. Outside food and drink may not be brought into the Gallery.


Smoking is prohibited in all Gallery facilities.

Photography and Video

Photography for personal use is permitted except where specifically prohibited. Monopods, tripods, and selfie sticks are not permitted inside Gallery buildings. Small tripods may be used by visitors on the Gallery's outdoor grounds, including in the Sculpture Garden, except during heavily attended events.

The use of drones and other unmanned aerial devices or systems is prohibited on the property and grounds of the Gallery.

Cellular Phones

Talking on cellular phones is not permitted in the galleries or auditoriums.

The Gallery offers free Wi-Fi, accessible by selecting the “NGA_Public_WiFi” network. Review the Gallery's Wi-Fi policy here.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the National Gallery of Art.

Have a question or a comment? Complete this form.