On Jan. 28, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in D.C., in partnership with Explore! Children’s Museum, will open its first-ever interactive exhibit specifically designed for children. The multi-sensory, bilingual exhibit entitled Explore! with the Portrait Gallery is geared toward visitors ages 18 months to 8 years, and it seeks to answer questions such as “What is a portrait?”, “How do I see myself?” and “How do others see me?”
“We hope that after visiting the Explore! with the Portrait Gallery, families look at our portraits in a new way, noticing expressions and poses,” Rebecca Kasemeyer, associate director of education and visitor experiences at the National Portrait Gallery, says.
Visitors can expect a fun, experimental space where children can observe portraits and even make self-portraits. Explore! also features hands-on activities. Families can create silhouette portraits to learn about the role both artists and subjects play in the creation of a portrait. Then, children can consider expressions and emotions with illustrated building blocks (pictured above) and practice their poses during an interactive video program. Plus, there multimedia supplies will be available, so kids can make their own portraits.
Located on the first floor of the museum, Explore! is a bilingual and multi-sensory exhibit, so kids with a variety of languages, abilities and backgrounds can enjoy and interact with it.
“We are always thinking about ways to engage visitors of all ages,” Kasemeyer says.
Explore! With the Portrait Gallery will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday. In addition to the new exhibit, the National Portrait Gallery has regularly scheduled weekend education programs and special events for families. Learn more at the gallery’s website. // National Portrait Gallery: 8th Street and F Street NW, Washington, D.C.