Voluntary guides

Becoming a Guide is one of the most rewarding art experiences in Australia. Learn and share your knowledge of the NGA’s collection following a supportive and informative training program.

Volunteer now

NGA Guides receive:

  • free membership
  • free access to most exhibitions
  • discounts at the Gallery shop
  • training and ongoing education support
  • access to the research library and Guides own library
  • monthly meetings to share stories and build relationships to support the work of the Guides

Want to know more?

The NGA guide program is popular so apply today if you are interested.  The NGA conducts an training program every two years and trainees are selected by interview and are required to commit themselves to the year-long education program. It’s a commitment and the benefits are great. Once you have graduated NGA Guides are working with the public and school audience facilitating access to the collection and exhibition.

Continuing education is also important. At any one time there are more than 2000 works on display from the NGA’s permanent collection of over 100,000 artworks, which are changed on a rotating basis. There is also a constant flow of special and major exhibitions. Guides attend regular fortnightly training and workshops to keep their information up to date, plus education programs specific to major exhibitions, and carry out independent research.

The NGA offers a range of tours designed to meet the needs of the visitor. Every day except Christmas Day, guides are rostered to conduct hourly tours of the NGA from 10.30 am to 2.30 pm. Guides also provide daily guided tours of major exhibitions and highlights tours of major works for pre-booked school groups.

Pre-booked guided tours for NGA Members are included in the calendar and may be arranged for special interest groups, corporate events, private celebrations and VIPs. Guides also give public lectures, slide talks to community groups in an outreach program and, by arrangement, conduct tours in French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Norwegian and Dutch.

The training program

The NGA requires dedicated, hard working, outgoing, well-informed volunteers, who enjoy interacting with the public and promoting the role of the Gallery and its collection.

The NGA provides one of the best art education courses in Australia and your life will be enriched by the experience of becoming a guide.,

Initial training is approximately 40 weeks, taking place on Wednesdays of each week during school term, from 9.15 am to around 4.00 pm. One other day should be available per week for research. Each training day combines talks by educators, curators and artists

Each training day consists of:
  • an art history lecture delivered by Learning and Access or curatorial staff or visiting lecturer
  • workshops in the gallery with small groups delivering talks to the whole group in front of works of art
  • trainee-delivered tutorials on an important artist from the period
  • an appropriate film or excursion realted to the collection.
  • each trainee delivers at least two 20–30 minute tutorials on specific artists
  • twice during the course trainees are expected to hand in their research so that the accuracy of information can be monitored
  • during the Discovery Tour training each trainee observes at least three tours and delivers a feedback tour to a member of staff who evaluates the tour and gives constructive feedback to the trainee
  • contributions in workshops in front of works of art.

The outreach program

Over the years, the Guides’ outreach program has successfully ‘taken the Gallery’ to many groups who are unable to visit in person and is an invaluable service to the community.

Walangkura (Jackson) Napanangka Untitled 2009 (detail) National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Acquired in acknowledgement of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations with support from The Myer Foundation, 2010. © the estate of the artist, licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Ltd

The NGA Voluntary Guides Association provides:

  • support for Guides and the services they provide to the Gallery
  • a forum for guides to share their experiences and contribute to the improvement of art education for visitors

To book a tour by voluntary guides please call +61 2 6240 6588


For more information, please contact:
Access Services
Joanne McCcarthy
National Gallery of Australia
phone +61 2 6240 6588
[email protected]