Docent Tours

Walk-in Docent Tours 

Meet in the F Street Lobby 

Please join us for a tour and experience portraiture beyond the frame! The National Portrait Gallery’s collection of artists, politicians, scientists, inventors, activists, and performers helps us understand who we are and reminds us of what we can aspire to be. We look forward to sharing the faces and stories of inspiring Americans with you. The Portrait Gallery offers public walk-in Highlights tours led by volunteer docents at 12:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. daily. Last-minute cancellations may occur due to volunteer docent availability.  

Free. No reservations necessary. See our Events calendar for tour times and dates available.

Scheduled Group Tours

In-person and online via Zoom

The National Portrait Gallery offers pre-scheduled volunteer docent-led group tours for a a minimum of ten adults. Tours on the following topics are available by registration with six weeks' notice:

Highlights of the National Portrait Gallery Permanent Collection
This tour offers an introduction to the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection and building history through the lens of portraiture, biography, and history. Our volunteer docents will share visitor favorites and permanent collection standouts. Learn about familiar faces from American history and encounter some new ones!

America’s Presidents
Join one of our volunteer docents for a walk through presidential history, from our nation’s origins to today. See the art and hear the history as you experience “America’s Presidents,” the only complete collection of presidential portraits outside the White House. The tour features presidents with varying political, social, and economic perspectives.

Women’s HERstory
Discover HERstory through portraiture! One of our knowledgeable volunteer docents will discuss the some of the remarkable women who have changed our nation. Learn about their contributions to law, science, the arts, social activism—and more. Always a visitor favorite!

Change Agents
How did we get to where we are today? Engage in conversation with one of our volunteer docents about the activist who have shaped our nation. Be inspired by their efforts on behalf of  the LGBTQ+ community, farm workers’ rights, Indigenous peoples’ rights, civil rights, and women’s rights.

Special Exhibitions

Use the provided link to explore our current special exhibitions:

Then select one exhibition that your group of ten or more would like to experience with a volunteer docent.

Reservations must be requested at least six weeks in advance of the desired tour date. 

>> Click here to complete the form online