National Gallery Library

Did you know that the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. has a library and all of us may borrow books in the mail from there? I just got my first volume and we are enjoying it immensely.

An Eye For Art - a book we borrowed from the National Gallery of Art

An Eye For Art – we borrowed it from the National Gallery of Art

The process to sign up for this library is as easy as 1-2-3: (1) you create an account; (2) you choose the learning resource you want to borrow; (3) you click “request this resource” right there on its page.

There are no late fees and the borrowing times are generous. We just received our book and we do not have to return it until December. Yes, you read that right.

You can also ask for resources ahead of time, to have them staggered. The process is very intuitive as you work your way through the borrowing windows.

Many resources are available as downloadable images and PDFs. You will find that you may not need to borrow physical books that often, but, of course, it depends on your needs and your children’s ages and level of interest in art.

There are CDs to borrow, too, and DVDs with all sorts of art documentaries. One other resource I would recommend are the videos on the YouTube channel of the National Gallery. You will learn so much about the two buildings in D.C., who donated the land and the money, how and why it is not part of the Smithsonian Institution, and about the collections themselves.

Our family lives about eight hours away from the National Gallery. We have already visited the Smithsonian in D.C. and walked past the National Gallery, but, alas, we only had time for the Air and Space Museum and the Natural History Museum. The next time we visit D.C., which I hope is later this year, we will definitely have to go into the National Gallery.

There are collections we can view ahead of time on their website, so that the children may feel excited about seeing these masterpieces in person. Also, there are treasure hunts. These Family Guides which you can print at home or request when you get there will enhance your visit as you go from gallery to gallery.

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