Art Detective – an investigation into art

The Art Detective is a new family trail project, which has been running as a trial since Te Papa’s re-developed art galleries Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa (Level 5) opened during Easter this year.

The Art Detective is aimed at 7-11 year olds and their various detective partners (parents, siblings, carers). It takes you through most of the Ngā Toi galleries by following clues, solving riddles and finding art works – all while sleuthing around in detective deer stalkers and magnifying glasses.

Art under investigation. Photographer: Kim Gustavsson © Te Papa

Art under investigation. Photographer: Kim Gustavsson © Te Papa

The intention is to engage young art lovers by giving options of a ‘way in’ to the work.  There are so many ways of ‘looking’ at art, and there are so many different kinds of art!

Art Detective touches on art themes like the composition of a painting, story telling in art works, and form and function in design. It talks a bit about what a museum collection is and invites you to start your own collection by making things in response to some of the works you find. Art Detective also attempts to communicate the fine line, and sometimes conflicting messages, of how to behave in an art gallery: how close can you go to look at an art work? what does the white line in front of the work mean?

So far this project has received encouraging and positive feedback from participating families, and hopefully with continued visitor support it can become a permanent activity for visiting families interested and curious about art and art’s mysteries!

Sleuthing through the window. Photographer: Kim Gustavsson © Te Papa

Sleuthing through the window. Photographer: Kim Gustavsson © Te Papa

If you are interested in trying the Art Detective with your own family or for yourself, you can find the detective kits by the Information Desk on Level 2. Just ask a friendly host and they will be able to assist you.

Please also let us know your thoughts on your detective experience, we would love to hear your feedback!

Sleuth on!

Kim Gustavsson, audience engagement facilitator

2 Responses

  1. Natalie Clausen

    Are the sleuthing packs/detective available all the time or was it just today the 13 July? We missed it today and would really love to do the trail – it sounds brilliant!

    Is this the family art trail that I saw advertised somewhere in Te Papa?


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