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National Portrait Gallery to undergo renovation work

15 March 2018

The National Portrait Gallery will undergo renovation works in 2019 to maintain the integrity of its building and the Gallery’s collection of prized artworks.

The need to undertake repairs reflects issues that have emerged with the building over a long period of time, some stemming from the original construction and others that have been progressively identified since the gallery has been operational.  The seriousness of the leaks through the podium became more apparent after heavy rains in 2016.

The Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Mr Angus Trumble, says that to ensure the safety of the collection, and to keep disruption to a minimum, it is anticipated that the Gallery will close for a six month period from April to September in 2019 to allow scheduled work to be completed.  

A program of exhibitions and activities will be available for the public to visit and engage with before, during and after this period.

“The Gallery’s signature National Photographic Portrait Prize will go ahead as per usual. The exhibition of finalists will be on display in early 2019, prior to the closure at the end of April,” Mr Trumble said.

“During the closure the Gallery will focus on its outreach programs with an increase to the travelling exhibitions program. In addition, Learning and Education staff will accompany the travelling shows to deliver bespoke programming. Locally, focus displays drawn from the Gallery’s collection are planned for alternative exhibition venues in Canberra. The Gallery will continue to also have a strong online presence through the website and an expanded program of live, fully-interactive virtual excursions. These are just some of the activities that will allow the community to continue to engage with the Portrait Gallery,” Mr Trumble said.  

“The Gallery will reopen at the end of September in 2019 with the inaugural Darling Portrait Prize exhibition. The Prize aspires to be the most prestigious portrait painting prize in the country, held at the home of Australian portraiture. The winner will receive a cash prize of $75,000 and will be an important addition to Gallery’s exhibitions program.” 

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Ngunnawal people, the traditional custodians of the land upon which the NPG stands.