Museum Dance Off

Jun 2, 2014

The National Portrait Gallery of Australia kindly invited the Visit Canberra #humanbrochure participants to discover the museum after dark. The evening provided an insight into the inner workings and psyche of Canberra’s youngest cultural institution. Taking up residence in its current location nestled in between the National Gallery of Australia and the High Court of Australia in 2008, the Gallery is youthful not just in age but as I discovered on Wednesday in attitude and behaviour as well.
Gallery Director Angus Trumble welcomed our group and set the mood for the visit by sharing a clip of the Gallery staff’s entry into the world wide Museum Dance Off competition. Yes, it’s a real thing, an international Museum Dance Battle (voting details below)!

With our feet all tapping from the catchy song in the dance clip, we were let loose on two of the gallery’s vibrant exhibitions. The National Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition selected entrants from a national field and include Australia's aspiring and professional portrait photographers. My favourite exhibition of the evening, PROMO: Portraits from prime time, took us behind-the-scenes and into the spotlight with professional photographers and the Australian stars they capture.
I felt like I was peering into the private on set moments of Australia’s best known television, movie and music stars. The styling of the exhibition was fun and whimsical complete with astro turf, hills hoist and over sized outdoor beanbags, which were equipped with iPads to learn more about the exhibition. The vibrant colours, quirky elements (and beanbags) make it a perfect exhibition to bring children and introduce them to portraiture.

As a family we try visit galleries and museums on our travels and portrait galleries are always on top of my list to visit with children. With 100s of portraits to discover from royalty to modern day celebrities, I find the art form “easy” to understand and relate to for children (and adults). The National Portrait Gallery of Australia is no exception. From dancing staff to fun and accessible exhibitions, the Gallery oozes youthful charm and is one of Canberra’s best and under rated indoor attractions to explore with kids. On the occasions that our party of three (the husband, Tweeny Traveler and I) have visited, it has never been overwhelming and crowded and we have been able to participate in the free family programs of the day.  

I spent some time chatting to Gallery staff during our behind the scenes evening and they revealed a full calendar of events over the winter period. The family program planned sounds extra delightful; with ice sculpting on the agenda!
To keep up to date with ice sculpting preparations, check out the National Portrait Gallery of Australia

To vote in the daily Museum Dance Battle visit When You Work in a Museum.  The National Portrait Gallery of Australia was victorious in its dance battle against Otago Museum of New Zealand and now awaits its round three draw!