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Around the galleries

Art for all the family

— July 2011

Associated media

Film still from Azur and Asmar (Michel Ocelot, France, 2006/2008), to be shown at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC Saturday, August 6, Sunday, August 7 and Wednesday, August 10.

Cassone’s round-up of summer fun in some leading art galleries


There are activities for children and families at many museums and art galleries. Ask the one nearest you what they are doing for families this summer. Below we give details of what is available at the National Gallery, London; the Victoria and Albert Museum and its offshoot, the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood, London; the Royal Academy, London; the National Gallery of Art, Washington; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh; Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum; Tate Liverpool. Contact the galleries for more information.

At London’sNational Gallery,all sessions are free and there is no need to book for workshops, talks or story sessions, but places are limited and allocated on arrival. Children must be accompanied by an adult to all events.

Family Sundays July–August 2011

Every Sunday is Family Sunday at the National Gallery. Join in a range of activities designed especially for families to enjoy and learn together. This season, activities are inspired by Gallery paintings that were made during the Renaissance, 500–700 years ago. Meet in the Education Centre Foyer (Orange Street entrance) for all events unless otherwise stated.

For families withchildren aged 5 to 11 there areDrawing and Studio workshops on Sundays at11 a.m., repeated 2 p.m.

Studio Sundays Hands-on workshops that start in the Gallery and are followed by a studio session. Alternate Sundays; workshops last two hours.

Drawing SundaysExplore how the National Gallery collection can be used as inspiration. Drawing workshops take place on alternate Sundays in the Gallery only. Sessions last 80 minutes, but families can feel free to drop in and out as long as places are available.

Saving Knights and Graces Studio Sunday 10 July, Studio Sunday 14 August

Rally round artist Al Johnson to investigate size, shape and space in this sculpture (Studio only) and drawing workshop.

The Peacock’s Compass Studio Sunday 3 July, 24 July, 21 August

Navigate through the crowd and up the stairs to the peacock with Thomas Gosebruch in this mixed-media (Studio only) and drawing workshop.

Pocket-Sized Cities Studio Sunday 17 July, 7 August

Calling all architects! Hold the world in your hands in this paper construction (Studio only) and drawing workshop with artist Harriet Hill.

What’s Your Perspective? Studio Sunday 31 July, Studio Sunday 28 August

Walk through the streets and open doors onto your own creative point of view in this collage (Studio only) and drawing workshop with Mary Evans.

For children aged 2–5

Magic Carpet storytelling 10.30–11 a.m. and 11.30 a.m.–12 noon every Sunday

Fly away on the magic carpet, which comes to land in front of a different painting each day. Each story ties in with the workshop themes for this season.

For all ages

Family Walk and Talk First Sundays: 3 July, 7 August, 12.30–1.30 p.m.

Join a journey through the collection where your guide will walk, talk and bring paintings alive!

Holiday activities

July–August 2011

Meet in the Education Centre Foyer (Orange Street entrance) for all events unless otherwise stated.

Workshops for families with children aged 5 to 11

Body TalkTuesday 2, Wednesday 3 and Thursday 4 August, 10.30 a.m., repeated 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. (80 minutes each session).

Explore the body with anatomist Sarah Simblet and her skeleton in this gallery drawing workshop.

Rhythms Abound Tuesday 9, Wednesday 10, Thursday 11, Tuesday 16, Wednesday 17, and Thursday 18 August, 11 a.m., repeated 2 p.m. Sessions last two hours.

Join artist Marc Woodhead and music group Saltarello on a sonic journey during this art and sound workshop.  

For children aged 2–5

Storyscape Tuesdays 2, 9 and 16 August, 11.30 a.m.–12 noon

These interactive story sessions will take you on a wild and wonderful journey as you discover quirky characters, curious sounds and fantastic places.

Drawing Stories Wednesdays 3, 10 and 17 August, 10.30–11.30 a.m.

Tell a story through art-making and play.

Growing Out Loud Thursdays 4, 11 and 18 August  10.30 a.m.–12 noon

Talk, play, sing and create.

For all ages

Family Walk and Talk Wednesdays 3, 10 and 17 August, 12.30–1.30 p.m.

Join a journey through the collection where your guide will walk, talk and bring paintings alive!

More family fun

Trails and audio tours – available every day all year!

The Marvellous Blooms and Katie’s National Gallery Adventure trails are available for £1 at the Gallery, or print them out from

 There are additional trails on the website to help you explore the Gallery. Or discover more with a family audio tour, available every day from the Audio Guide Desks. For more information on National Gallery family events, please visit or telephone 020 7747 2894/2885.  

You can also sign up to the Gallery’s monthly e-newsletter and receive emails about family activities such as holiday workshops. Visit to subscribe.


Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Family Art Fun: Make-It: Clay.  Every Monday in August 2011; 10.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. (5–7yrs) & 2.30–4.30 p.m. (8–11yrs)

Artist Phoebe Cummings will run a workshop in the Ceramic Studio, where children can make their own clay models. £7.50 per child. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Advance booking essential: 0207 942 2211.

Fashion Summer Schoolthroughout August 2011

A series of creative workshops exploring fashion. Workshops include hat design, how to apply stage makeup, fashion photography and how to designa fashion show. £15 in most cases. Advance booking is advised on 0207 942 2211. 13–19 years




The Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, Cambridge Heath Road, London E2

Family Workshop: Vtech Digi-Fun.6, 13, 20 & 27 August 2011; 2.00 p.m. – 3.00 p.m.

A series of digital workshops for children. Visitors can explore the collections and create new works with the very latest child-friendly technology, including digital and video cameras. Bookings taken 14 days in advance. Ages 4–9

Special Event: Summer Festival. 7 August 2011; 11.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m.

The Museum’s annual summer festival. There will be live bands, street performers, rickshaw rides, activities and food.Drop-in; all ages.

Special Event: Tiger Tea Party. 12 August 2011; 12.00 noon – 4.00 p.m.

Visitors will be able to have their face painted like a tiger, drink tea and take part in tiger-themed arts and crafts, in celebration of the book The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr. All ages

Special Event: Feline Festival. 19 August 2011; 12.00-4.00 p.m.

Children will be able to dress up as a cheetah, tiger, lion or leopard and then take part in a special ‘cat walk’ for the chance to win a prize. Drop-in; all ages.

Special Event: Sketch, Scribble, Squiggle. 26 August 2011; 12.00–4.00 p.m.

Inspired by Rebecca Fortnum’s portraits of children, visitors can take part in an afternoon of sketching and drawing. Drop-in; all ages.



Royal Academy, Piccadilly, London

The Royal Academy offers families a range of enjoyable activities to take part in during the Summer Exhibition. There is a fun-packed programme of hands-on art activities, workshops, talks and spacious galleries full of colourful paintings and sculptures to explore.

Family Workshops  Wednesdays and Fridays 22 July–12 August

Each workshop comprises an introductory tour and a practical hands-on session. 11 a.m.–1 p.m.; free with an exhibition ticket; pre-booking essential on 020 7300 5995. 

Family Gallery Tours Sundays in July

45 minute introductory tours around the Summer Exhibition  2.30 p.m.; free with an exhibition ticket, no booking required.

Art Detectives  

Art Detectives are exhibition trails for younger visitors to enjoy. Each guide includes creative activities and is available free from the RA Education desk or as a download from the website. 

Art Trays

Designed to encourage the artist in everyone, these free activity trays for young visitors and their families are used in the galleries to create works of art inspired by the Summer Exhibition. The trays contain sketchbooks and pencils.

Schools Programme

RA Education offers an exciting programme of exhibition visits, gallery talks, workshops and educational resources for teachers and students. Please call 020 7300 5995 or visit the website for further details.


The National Gallery, WashingtonDC

Films for Children and Teens

All films are shown in the East Building Auditorium. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Groups are welcome. Free and subject to change without notice. For up-to-date information on the current month's films, please call (202) 789-3030.

Sweet Tweets
Saturday, July 16, and Wednesday, July 20, 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, July 17, 11:30 a.m.
ages 4 and up
(approximately 55 minutes)

In this collection of animated films from around the world, the avian protagonists have big personalities guaranteed to make you smile. Films include Canary Beat (Germany, 2006), Maestro (Hungary, 2005), Birds of a Feather (U.S., 2010), Pingu Goes Fishing (Switzerland, 1986), Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (U.S., 2009), The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin (Canada, 1986), and Philadelphia Chickens (U.S., 2010).

Azur and Asmar
Saturday, August 6, and Wednesday, August 10, 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, August 7,11:30 a.m.
ages 6 and up
(Michel Ocelot, France, 2006/2008, 99 minutes)

Celebrated animation master Michel Ocelot delivers an awe-inspiring and exquisitely crafted epic tale in Azur and Asmar. A treat for the eyes, Ocelot's animation style was influenced by the illuminated manuscripts of medieval France, Persian miniatures, and the Islamic architecture of Spain and North Africa. English-language version.

Stories in Art

Storytelling is used to introduce children aged four to seven to works of art from the Gallery's collection. Workshops include reading a children's book, viewing an artwork, and completing a simple hands-on project. The summer series is presented in a four-year cycle—Explore Italy, Discover Dutch Art, Tour de France, and American Adventure—where each topic highlights a different part of the permanent collection.

These free drop-in events are designed for individual families, and the Gallery cannot accommodate groups. Space is limited to 70 children per session. There is no advance registration; participation is on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign-in for Stories in Art will take place in the West Building Rotunda, beginning at 10:00 a.m. on weekdays and at 11:00 a.m. on Sundays, and will continue until all spaces are filled.

Each programme lasts approximately 60 minutes and departs from the East Building Atrium at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. on the dates listed below. For information, call (202) 789-3030.

Summer Story Series: Discover Dutch Art

Pack your imagination and travel to the Netherlands this summer at the National Gallery of Art. Visit a windmill, sail the seas, discover mince pie, and join a party. Participants learn about landscapes, still lifes, seascapes, and genre scenes by reading children's books, looking at 17th-century Dutch paintings, and making a souvenir to document each adventure. You will receive a passport to the summer story series and a stamp for each program attended. Collect three or more stamps at the end of the summer and receive a prize!

Landscape: Visit a Windmill
 Sundays, July 10 and August 7
Mondays, July 11 and August 8
Tuesdays, July 12 and August 9
The Hole in the Dike, retold by Anne Norma Green, illustrated by Eric Carle. 
Visit the windmills and canals of the Netherlands through this classic tale and the Gallery's Dutch landscape paintings.

Still Life: Enjoy a Feast
Sunday, July 17
Monday, July 18
Tuesday, July 19
Still Life Stew by Helen Clare Pittman, illustrated by Victoria Raymond.
Discover new foods in Dutch still-life paintings, and then create a delicious collage.

Seascape: Sail the Seas
Sunday, July 24
Monday, July 25
Tuesday, July 26
Sheep on a Ship by Nancy Shaw, illustrated by Margot Apple.
Sail the high seas with some adventurous sheep, then explore Dutch seascapes.

Everyday Life: Join a Party
Sunday, July 31
Monday, August 1
Tuesday, August 2
All in a Day by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Nikki McClure.
Step into a country scene and learn about everyday life in the Netherlands, then make a favourite children's toy to take home.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Storytime in Nolen Library July: Tuesday–Friday, 10:30–11:00 a.m., Wednesday 3:00–3:30 p.m.  Come and hear art tales in the library’s special corner for kids! Then go and find art on a treasure hunt in the galleries. Meets in Children’s Reading Room, Nolen Library, Uris Center for Education. Ages 3–7

For the following events, meet in Carson Family Hall, Uris Center for Education, ground floor (with the exception of How Did They Do That?)

Start with Art at the Met Plus  17July , 2:30–3:30 p.m. Sketch, explore, listen to stories, and discover the meaning of art. Participate in art-making activities based on a fun topic. Ages 3–7

El Primer Contacto con el Arte (For Spanish speakers)Los sábados el 7, 14 y 21 de mayo y 4, 11 y 18 de junio de 11:30 de la mañana a 1:00 de la tarde, En las galerías charlaremos sobre diferentes temas, y los niños tendrán la oportunidad de aprender y divertirse haciendo dibujos y actividades didácticas.Ages 4–10

Art Trek Plus  Sunday, 24 July, 2:30–3:30 p.m.Be an art explorer! Take a new voyage around the globe every time you visit the Met. Enjoy a performance or other surprise related to a special theme. Ages 5–12

How Did They Do That?

Saturday and Sunday, 9–10 July, 30-minute sessions from 1:00–4:00 p.m.

Peek at technique and learn – through handling tools and materials – how works of art were created. Delve into Roman fresco painting. Check the Met’s website for meeting locations. All ages

To learn more about what you can see and do at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, visit


National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

Portrait Detectives! (Ages 3-12) Sunday 10 July, 2–4 p.m.

Collect a Portrait Detectives kit and find evidence and clues in order to solve crimes by characters from Scottish history.

Easel Sketching in the Park Fridays: 8, 15 & 22 July, 10.30 a.m.–3.30 p.m. Princes Street Gardens, West side (weather permitting). Relocated to main floor of National Gallery if necessary.  Sketch outdoors in one of the most beautiful cities in the world where spectacular views abound. Easels and all art materials supplied. Artist David Forster will be on hand to help.

A Right Royal Knees Up! Sat 16 July, 2-4.30pm.  To celebrate ‘The Queen: Art and Image’ exhibition and to commemorate this year's Royal Weddings, we invite you to put on your best suits, frocks and hats and join us for a special afternoon. Take photos of friends and family with our Queen lookalike, enjoy the sounds of Pure Brass while taking royal afternoon tea in The Scottish Café and Restaurant and have a go at some royal-inspired design activities. Tickets to see The Queen: Art and Image are 2-for-1 on the day (children under 12s go free). Right Royal fun for all the family!

National Galleries of Scotland Art Competition for Schools 2011 11 June–19 October (IT Gallery).  In the eighth year of this highly successful competition, come and see the 53 winning works of art from nursery, primary, secondary and special education schools all inspired by the National Collection. With an Olympic flavour this year, themes include: Celebrate!; Splish, Splash, Splosh; Super Shoes - Higher, Faster, Further; Move Your Body and Traces, Tracks and Trails.

Booktrust Best New Illustrators Award 2011 4 August-16 November.  An exhibition of work by the top ten rising stars of picture book illustration in the field today, who demonstrate remarkable creative flair, artistic skill and boundless imagination. The judging panel included Anthony Browne, Children's Laureate and Lauren Child, the author/illustrator of Charlie and Lola.

Katie's Loch Ness Monster Art Competition 4 August–19 October.  View the winning entries from Katie's Loch Ness Monster Art Competition for children organised by Orchard Books in 2010. The winner has their very own drawing featured in Katie in Scotland by James Mayhew published this year. How fantastic is that!

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

Bags of Art (Ages 3–12) Sundays: 17 July, 21 August, 2–4 p.m.  Collect a bag of activities from the art station to help your family explore the collection and create your own artworks. Supported by the Friends of the National Galleries of Scotland.


At Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum,there is no shortage of activities to keep the young ones out of mischief.

Alice's Day Saturday 9 JulyOxford turns into Wonderland for the day.

Each year, Oxford celebrates the very first telling of Alice in Wonderland (on 4 July 1862) with colourful events and activities, promenade theatre, exhibitions, walks and talks – all in historic and beautiful locations around town and nearly all of them free. This year is the fourth celebration, with more than a dozen popular venues taking part. Alice's Day is coordinated by the Story Museum. Take a look at the colourful programme.

At the Ashmolean on 9 Julyaccompanied children can enjoy a range of activities.

Magic Carpet Stories, with Peter Chand on the Ashmolean Forecourt 11.00– 11.20 a.m.; 12.00–12.20 p.m.;2.00–2.20 p.m.  Join storyteller Peter Chand on the Magic Carpet for a journey to faraway places and magical encounters – inspired by Alice’s adventures in Wonderland.

Drop-in crafts 1–4 p.m. Create a hat fit for a Mad Hatter. Free, no booking necessary.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party 3–6 p.m. Join the ‘frabjous’ rooftop tea party on the grass with jam tarts and drink-me potions and eatme cake. Have fun discussing your favourite character in Alice’s Wonderland. £3.50 children, £5 adults, no booking necessary.

Family Fun Trails Learn more about Alice with the Alice Tea Party Trail or the Rabbit Trail – self guided tours through the Museum available throughout the day. Free.

Splash Saturdays – See, Play and Learn at the Ashmolean All sessions run from 1 – 4 p.m. Free, donations are very welcome. Drop in, no booking required . Venue: Education Studio & Galleries. Please note that all children must be accompanied by an adult.

Japan Saturday 10 Sept, 1–4 p.m.

Explore the Japan galleries looking for pictures and patterns, and then decorate your own Japanese fan.

Drop-ins for under-5s

Big Dig Thursday 7 July, 2–4 p.m.

Become an archaeologist and dig for treasure in our sand pit. What will you discover?

Feel Good Wednesday 8 September, 2–4 p.m.

Discover the materials objects are made of in a multi-sensory activity.

Friday Mini Tours Every Friday from 29 July–26 August, 2–2.20 p.m.

20-minute tours suitable for ages 3+, led by Ashmolean Education Volunteers. Free, no booking necessary. Children must be accompanied by an adult to all events.

Craft Activities Wednesdays & Thursdays through the summer, 1–4 p.m.

Roman Discovery 27 & 28 July

Printing Power 3 & 4 August

Archaeological Adventure in Ancient Greece 10 & 11 August

Brush-Free Painting 17 & 18 August

All About Money 24 & 25 August



Too far south? There are events at Tate Liverpoolwith lots of fantastic activities linked to the Magritte exhibition for families this summer, and they're all free! Some details below, and more info on the gallery’s website:   

Join in for a Month of Magritte – an exciting programme of activities exploring the work of René Magritte. For ages 5+ accompanied by an adult. Free.

Living Wallpaper Wednesday 3 August–Sunday 7 August, 1.30–4.30 p.m.

Try on costumes and then be photographed in a dream-like landscape inspired by Magritte’s Surrealist paintings.

Imaginary Faces Wednesday 10 August–Sunday 14 August, 1.30–4.30 p.m.

Design and paint your face with a Magritte-inspired imaginary landscape.

Hats off to Magritte Wednesday 17 August–Sunday 21 August, 1.30–4.30 p.m.

Create fantastical hats from recycled materials.

Magritte Feet Wednesday 24 August–Sunday 29 August, 1.30–4.30 p.m.

Bring your old shoes or Wellingtons along to paint and create your own Magritte style feet..


Media credit: National Gallery, Washington DC

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