Family learning is at the heart of the museum visit experience and the exhibitions throughout the museum and art gallery have been created to offer inspiration to children and adults alike. In addition to formal education programs for school students, TMAG offers a dedicated program for families, with a particular focus on engaging visitors in early learning programs.

A range of hands-on programs and resources, events and exhibits allow families and children to explore the museum and art galleries at their own pace and in a way that best suits their group.

TMAG has recently developed a Kids in Museums Manifesto that outlines our commitment to ensuring visitors have a family friendly experience. It can be downloaded here. The manifesto was developed with input from the newly formed TMAG Children’s Reference Panel, as well as advice from the Commissioner for Children, Tasmania, and the Children and Young People’s Advisory Council.

Online resources

Family events

Family events

Family Days
Once a month on a weekend, TMAG hosts a Family Day that focuses on 3-8 year-old children with structured activities and tailored experiences particularly designed to foster a joyful and creative investigation of the collection and other relevant themes. Family Days repeat on the last Sunday of every month (except December). For details on upcoming family days, keep an eye on our events page here.

School Holiday Program
TMAG’s ever popular school holiday program returns each school holidays, offering a range of activities across the full spectrum of TMAG’s collection and into the community’s wider interests and environments.

Family resources

Family resources

Young Collectors at TMAG
The Young Collectors case has been a popular part of TMAG’s displays for many years. There have been collections about dragons, sheep tags, bones and dominoes, even simply 'green things', amongst many others. People collect all sorts of things for interesting reasons.

Do you have a collection that you would like to display and that would be interesting for other people to look at?

If so, please contact tmag.bookings@tmag.tas.gov.au to ask for a Young Collectors application form or ring (03) 6165 7001

Discovery Backpacks
Discovery backpacks are a free, in-gallery loan resource designed to help families explore specific areas of the museum in a fun, engaging and hands-on way. The backpacks are filled with objects, props, activities and resources across a number of subject areas including History, Art, Antarctic and Southern Ocean and Natural Sciences. Each backpack journey can take up to one hour and they are suitable for children aged 7-12 and their families. Backpacks can be collected from the Visitor Information Desk.

Museum Toolkits
If you just need the basics for your visit to TMAG then pick up your personal ‘toolkit’ from the Visitor Information desk. The free loan toolkits include several ‘tools’ to assist younger visitors in making their museum discoveries. Toolkits are suitable for children aged 4-7.

The Art and Museum Carts
The Art Cart and Museum Cart are gallery-based interpretive resources for use by visitors in either guided or unstructured sessions. The Art Cart is primarily designed for use with art education staff to enhance programming using a creative mode of discovery, particularly the visual arts. The Museum Cart focuses more on a multisensory engagement with the wonder of objects. Both carts incorporate strong playful elements and create social learning environments for younger visitors. The carts were designed by Tasmanian artist Patrick Hall.

Early learning programs

Early learning programs

The Early Learning Program specifically focuses on children up to the age of 5 in recognition of the important role a museum environment can play in early childhood development. The new Centre for Learning and Discovery space in the museum provides a bright, lively and playful area for exploration through guided programs. These programs include:

Eye Spy
A dynamic 1 hour weekly program over 4 weeks, for young children and adults to explore, enjoy and discover the museum together. The program invites children to look closely at collection objects and be guided in exploring and drawing them. Eye Spy is designed for pre-school children aged 3-5. Younger siblings are also welcome to attend. Eye Spy is a free program.

When: Wednesday mornings 9:30 am - 10:30 am

Term 2: Tuesdays 10, 17, 24 and 31 May 2016

Term 3: Wednesdays 20 and 27 July and 3 and 10 August 2016

Term 4: Wednesdays 2, 9, 16 and 23 November 2016

Bookings for the Eye Spy program are essential. 

Curious Caterpillars Playgroup at TMAG
This is a playful introduction to the wonders of lifelong learning in an environment of curiosity and awe – your museum. An eight week program will be offered each term to a new group of children aged 0 to 3 years and their carers. Themes explored across the eight weeks will include Curious Caterpillars, Furry Things, Bones, Moon Birds, Building the Museum, Sound and Music, Cold as Ice, and Artists at Work.

When: Friday mornings 9:30 am – 10:30 am

Term 2: Starts Friday 13 May 2016

Term 3: Starts Friday 22 July 2016

Term 4: Starts Friday 14 October 2016

Bookings for Curious Caterpillars Playgroup are essential.

Term costs:
$70 per child and adult (+ $10 per extra child over 6 months)
$60 per child and adult with a concession card
$60 per child and adult who is a member of a Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery membership group (TMAGgots, Friends of TMAG, TMAG Foundation)

Email bookings to TMAG.bookings@tmag.tas.gov.au

Payment is required at the time of booking and is non-refundable. This exciting development in early years programming at TMAG is assisted by funds from the Tasmanian Early Years Foundation.