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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Portrait School

Visiting the National Portrait Gallery
Video: 1 minute

Eyes this way. In Portrait School your students will discover Australia’s most creative and innovative thinkers and achievers. Through close engagement with the portraits, these programs are dynamic, participatory and encourage collaboration and critical thinking; and include a variety of creative activities that cater for different learning preferences.

All of our programs are available Monday to Friday between 10:00am - 4:30pm and are run by a passionate, professional Learning Facilitator who holds a Working with Vulnerable People registration. During the onsite programs, teachers/adults (max. two per group) must stay with their students.

If you have any queries or additional requirements, please email bookings@npg.gov.au

Portrait school programs and fees

We have six topics you can choose from: Visual art; Civics and citizenship; English; History; and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander activism and Visual Thinking Strategies™.

The programs run for 60 minutes and cost $3 per Australian school student, no matter whether they’re in Preschool or Year 12. If you’re wanting to beam in for a virtual excursion from across the country, good news, they’re free! If you're reading this from overseas, please email us at bookings@npg.gov.au for costs.

Preschool, Foundation and Year 1 60 minutes $3 per student
Years 2 and 3 60 minutes $3 per student
Years 4, 5 and 6 60 minutes $3 per student
Years 7, 8 and 9 60 minutes $3 per student
Years 10, 11 and 12 60 minutes $3 per student
Tertiary 60 minutes $3 per student
Virtual Excursion 60 minutes free

In some instances, visits to us count for PACER rebate purposes when booking a Civics and citizenship or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander program. Please visit pacer.org.au for information.

Available Programs

Visual art

Our visual art programs investigate ways students can interpret portraits. They’ll look at aspects of biography, identity and culture; look at portraits that use different styles and media; and learn through discussion, activity and drawing.

English

In our English programs, we consider portraits as source, record and narrative. In them, students examine traditional and contemporary portraits – actively using language, dramatic expression and pictorial techniques and devices. They’ll learn about the lives of Australian literary figures; discuss the portrait of an author in relation to texts; create imaginative responses; and explore the nexus between image and text.

History

Our history programs identify significant historical periods, events and ideas through key individuals who have shaped Australia’s social, economic, political and cultural developments. Students will explore portraits through visual analysis, contrast and compare works from different eras, pictorial representation; and discover how portraits can be used as historical documents.

Civics and citizenship

In these programs we emphasise recognition of individuals from diverse backgrounds and fields of endeavour who have excelled and contributed to society. Students will discover ways to examine the portraits of significant Australians – past and present – through discussion, role play and drawing.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievements and activism

This program identifies significant events and ideas in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, through key individuals who have shaped the political and cultural developments involved. Students will explore portraits via visual analysis, debate and pictorial representation; and discover how portraits can be used as historical documents.

Visual Thinking Strategies™

In collaboration with Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS™ New York), we present critical thinking and visual literacy programs for all levels of education. In them we incorporate concepts of ‘close looking’; verbalising observations and backing up theories with evidence, close listening and developing the skill to simultaneously hold different and sometimes conflicting ideas as possibilities.. Students are provided with new skills to navigate and critically examine our image-saturated world. The emphasis is on discussion-based, student-centric learning.

We have a number of ways you can engage in VTS with us:

  • Choose a VTS program for your students when you book a program.
  • Attend one of our VTS programs for teachers.
  • Consider making your school a VTS partner with us. You can visit us with students or we can live stream with VTS programs into your classroom.

Bookings

Want to book in for any (or all) of these programs? Head over to our bookings page.

Related information

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

Visit us, learn with us, support us or work with us! Here’s a range of information about planning your visit, our history and more!

The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night

Support your Portrait Gallery

We depend on your support to keep creating our programs, exhibitions, publications and building the amazing portrait collection!

Visiting the Gallery
Visiting the Gallery
Visiting the Gallery
Visiting the Gallery

Plan your visit

Timed ticketing, location, accessibility and amenities

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency