Youth and family programs at the National Portrait Gallery are designed to “inform, involve, and inspire” the online and on-site visitor.

Family Resources


Introducing… a new kind of story time! We shine a light on some of this country's lesser-known history makers and their portraits. With a Portrait Gallery educator, children will learn more about art, hear the stories behind the portraits, and even learn some new vocabulary. Select story times will be in Spanish. For children ages 3 and up and their families.

>> View the Introducing videos in the Learning Lab

Open Studio

The National Portrait Gallery is bringing art workshops to your home via YouTube with a new activity or technique. Grab a family member or your roommates, or make a virtual date with a friend, and get creative with artist Jill Galloway. Artists of all ages and skill levels will enjoy creating art inspired by the National Portrait Gallery’s collection.

>> View the workshops in the Learning Lab


Check out the offerings below and head over to our online calendar to see when the next festival is taking place. Bring your friends and family, these events are free and open to all ages.

President’s Day Festival (February)

Celebrate President’s Day with the National Portrait Gallery! Packed with activities for all ages, the festival includes art projects, musical performances, spotlight talks, and workshops. While you are at the museum, check out the Portrait Gallery’s permanent exhibition, ‘America’s Presidents’ and visit the museum’s iconic collection of presidential portraits.

Women’s History Month Festival (March)

Join us for a celebration of Women’s History Month and pay homage to some of the remarkable women in the Portrait Gallery’s collection with a series of programs, discussions with guest panelists, art activities, workshops, and other festivities.

Girl Scout Festivals

NOTE: This festival is currently on hiatus

The National Portrait Gallery offers an exciting interactive program that allows Girl Scout Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes an opportunity for an educational and culturally enriching museum experience while earning points toward Girl Scout Legacy badges and Journey completions. Programs are approximately two hours in length and include:

  • An interactive tour of the National Portrait Gallery, showcasing women who have made a significant contribution to American history and culture, including the portrait of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA
  • A hands-on activity in the Kogod Courtyard
Hispanic Heritage Month Festival (September)

Join the National Portrait Gallery in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Learn about highlighted Latinx sitters from the Portrait Gallery’s collection in this bilingual celebration for all ages. The festival offers story times, live entertainment, arts and crafts, gallery tours, and much more.

Hispanic Heritage Month represents an opportunity to honor and highlight Latino achievements and contributions to U.S. history in various fields, such as arts and culture, economics, politics, athletics, and science.

Día de los Muertos (November)

Celebrate el Día de los Muertos with the National Portrait Gallery! This yearly event brings artists and performers from around the United States and Latin America to the Portrait Gallery for live music, folk dancing, art, culture, and tradition. This bilingual event is free and open to all ages.

Bring the Family!

Young Portrait Explorers

Join our virtual workshop for children ages 3-6 and their adult companions as we learn about art, history, and more! Portrait Gallery educators will lead a 30-minute activity that incorporates close looking at portraiture, movement and artmaking. This program takes place virtually and in-person. Please visit our Eventbrite page to see when the programs are taking place and to register. 

Interested in planning a lesson of your own? Check out our Young Portrait Explorers Learning Lab collections where teachers, parents, and caregivers can access the lesson plans of past programs.  

Weekend Workshops 

Select Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 12:00—3:00 p.m. 
National Portrait Gallery Education Center, E151 

Calling all artists! Discover; Create; Be inspired 

Get creative during our drop-in workshops for all ages. Learn about artists and changemakers, and create art inspired by their stories.  Head over to our online calendar to see when the next Weekend Workshop is taking place.  

This program is sponsored in part by the Reinsch Family Education Endowment. 

Portrait Gallery Kids

Mondays, 11:30 a.m.– 12:30 p.m.
National Portrait Gallery Education Center, E151

Children and families are invited to learn, play and create at the Portrait Gallery! Join educators every Monday as we explore topics like colors, emotions, STEM and history. Through close looking at art, hands-on activities, music and movement, Portrait Gallery Kids is a fun way to engage with art and each other.

Free—No Registration Required.

Explore! Space

Explore! is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Hours are subject to change. 

The National Portrait Gallery presents its first-ever space dedicated exclusively to children! 

Kids ages eighteen months to eight years old can delve into portraiture like never before. A variety of activities and experiences help answer questions about portraiture and identity. 

Choose from striking a pose for the camera, building faces with blocks, exploring shapes with felt and magnets, and so much more. 

Under the principle that children learn through play, Explore! was designed to give visitors the experience of learning in a fun and unique environment. The space is bilingual and features a variety of activities so that all may participate. 

Tips and Guidelines 

All children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Food and drink is prohibited. Bottled water may be kept in a bag. Nursing and bottle feeding are allowed. 

Visitors who intentionally compromise the safety of Explore! or its occupants will be asked to leave. Facilitators are there to assist, encourage and experiment, but are not responsible for supervising children.