The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in Melbourne is the oldest and largest public art museum in Australia. Operating across two sites in the city, on St Kilda Road and in Federation Square, the gallery has an enormous and important collection of Australian and international artworks.
The NGV’s main building (NGV International) is on St Kilda Road next door to the unmissable spire of the Arts Centre. Here you’ll find several floors containing an impressive selection of European paintings, fashions, textiles, furniture, photography, Egyptian artifacts, art, sculptures and antiquities from across the globe. Entrance to the NGV is free, although you should expect to pay a small fee for any temporary exhibitions that may be showing.
There are several cafes within the gallery and an excellent gift shop. Children will love the water wall that you pass at the gallery’s entrance and there is a kids’ corner designed to keep the little ones inspired and entertained. Another popular feature of the gallery is its stained glass ceiling, one of the world’s largest pieces of suspended stained glass.
The second NGV building (The Ian Potter Centre) is just across the river at Federation Square. Opened in 2002 to hold the NGV’s enormous Australian art collection, the museum displays prominent Australian Aboriginal art and Australian art through the ages: from the first colonial works to pieces by contemporary Australian artists.
Despite its age, the NGV is very much a modern art gallery that continues to educate and inspire its visitors. With touring exhibitions, workshops and a seasonal program of events, it’s a good idea to take a look at their website and plan your visit to coincide with tours or activities that interest you the most.