The Phillips Collection

1600 21st Street NW Washington DC

America's First Museum of Modern Art

VISITING WITH YOUR FAMILY

Tips for Your Visit


Look for the Family Icon 
Find kid-friendly spots in the museum.


VISIT THE NEW FAMILY GALLERY 
Explore specially-selected artworks displayed at children’s eye-level with kid-tested conversation prompts right on the walls. Relax on our family-friendly furniture and read a book together from our children’s art book nook.


Introducing new family programs

artful adventures gallery experience
Guided by a professional art educator, explore one to two galleries through fun, hands-on activities. Geared for families with children ages 4 to 8. Every Saturday, 10:30-11 am, included with museum admission. 

CREATIVITY WORKSHOP 
Let your creativity fly in our art-making stations—it’s an art materials “petting zoo” for the whole family! Comes with Artful Wellness Kit for parents and caregivers. Geared for families with children ages 2 to 8. Saturday, November 3, December 1, January 5, and February 2, 10:30 am-12:30 pm.  


FOLLOW THE DISCOVERY PACK FAMILY GUIDE 
The child-size, artful treasure hunt explores family-favorite artworks such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party. The Pack provides easy, engaging in-gallery activities and is strategically limited to four paintings to prevent museum fatigue. 

Download the Discovery Pack


CHECK OUT OUR ENGAGEMENT STATIONS 
These hands-on, kid-friendly activities in the galleries complement our special exhibitions.


SAFETY FIRST
Remind children to not touch the works of art. Natural oils on our hands can damage them.  Stay two feet (an arm’s length) away from the paintings.


the art of conversation with Kids!
To engage your children in fun and thoughtful conversations about art, try these prompts with almost any artwork: 

LOOK closely. What shapes can you find in the paintings?

IMAGINE you could step into a painting. Use your 5 senses to explore.

SHARE your favorite painting in this gallery. How do the colors make you feel?


Take a Break
Exploring any museum can be tiring. Try taking a break in the Community Exhibition galleries (Sant Building, Lower Level 2), shop, the café, or courtyard. 


Get Comfortable
Feel free to sit on the furniture or on the floor to engage with the artworks. Strollers are welcome in the museum. You may check items in our complimentary coat check. Changing tables are in the restrooms on Lower Level 1 and House Floor 2L. Museum staff can help guide you.


Heads up
Before your visit, browse the collection online or use the "see artworks currently on view" feature on the collection page to see which of your favorite paintings are on view. Let kids know what kinds of art they will see and show them pictures of one or two specific paintings before you get to the museum. This prepares them for their visit—and gets them excited about the paintings when they find them.


JAZZ N’ FAMILIES FUN DAYS
A free, fun family event on the first weekend in June, Jazz n’ Families Fun Days offers live jazz music in the Music Room and galleries, an instrument petting zoo, art-making activities, and more. 

PUT YOURSELF IN THE PAINTING

Encourage children to use their imaginations to pretend they are standing in a painting. Ask them questions like “What do you see?” “Do you smell anything?” “What is the weather like?” “What details can you find that make you say that?”


GO ON A SCAVENGER HUNT

Buy a few postcards at the shop and have your kids use the postcards to seek out those paintings in the museum. Kids will enjoy the search and they will have a souvenir of their visit. (Keep in mind, of course, that not every painting is always on view.)


BECOME THE ARTIST

Bring pads of paper and pencils and sketch different paintings or details from paintings. Sketching with regular, no.2 pencils is allowed anywhere in the museum, except for special exhibition spaces.

BE SPECIFIC

To get younger children interested in the artwork, ask them to find certain subjects or colors in the museum. You could ask them to find their favorite color or favorite animal in different paintings.


LESS IS MORE

When visiting with younger children, plan to see just four or five artworks. Choose art that they can connect to, like The Migration Series by Jacob Lawrence or The Way to the Citadel by Paul Klee. Have your child look for different shapes, colors, and lines in the paintings.

CONNECT ONLINE

Encourage teens to get involved with The Phillips Collection via social media—we're active on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and YouTube. The Phillips’s highly visual Experiment Station blog features a wide variety of behind-the-scenes Phillips voices.


LOOK FOR RELATED WORKS OF ART

Ask teens about some things they are studying at school, then research artworks at The Phillips Collection before your visit to find art that relates to what they are studying. Art can provide context for other times and places; it may also educate us in a different way from formal school learning.


BRING FRIENDS

If your teenager is uncomfortable in the museum setting, have them bring a friend or two when you make the trip.