Scavenger Hunts at The American Art Museum & National Portrait Gallery

  • public
  • private
  • adults
  • indoor

The American Art Museum Madness Scavenger Hunt

Two museums, one amazing all-American adventure!

We’ve uncovered the most extraordinary, bizarre, head-turning, and mind-boggling objects and sights of two Smithsonian museums and turned them into one incredible hunt. On our whirlwind tour of the American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, you’ll answer fun, funny questions about the secrets of eye-popping artwork and a parade of famous Americans, from George Washington to Andy Warhol.

Highlights of the hunt include strange and humorous folk art, famous inventions, surprising presidential trivia, fascinating conservation studios, Civil War scenes, and startling contemporary works.

On this museum scavenger hunt your team might discover…

  • Which “Irish rock band” seems to have crashed near President Kennedy
  • Who made cooked spaghetti look tense
  • What the Gipper said when he first saw his portrait
  • An electrified state with a plethora of potatoes
  • Which inventor might have been offered a job at Hogwarts

You don’t need any previous knowledge to triumph—you just need good teamwork and comfortable shoes.

If you’re looking for an after-work venue that’s impervious to weather, you’ve found it! These museums stay open until 7 p.m. every night of the week.

  • public
  • private
  • adults
  • indoor

The Naked at the American Art Museum Scavenger Hunt for Valentine’s Day

Take an unblushing look at nudity in art…

…at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. On teams, you’ll follow a trail of clues through the galleries and answer clever, entertaining questions about what you find.

Along the way, you might uncover…

  • An Eve who’d get you to bite an apple
  • A giddy drinker
  • Native men with no need for a gym
  • A “topless” horseman
  • A nude that gives new meaning to the word hot

Those are just a few of the highlights on this revealing romp through centuries of art and history. Plus, you’ll dip a toe into the adjoining National Portrait Gallery to learn the salacious secrets of some rakish presidents and other famous Americans. No knowledge of art, or nudity, is required. Participants use their own smartphones to play.

  • private
  • kids
  • indoor

The American Art Museum Madness Scavenger Hunt for Kids

Learn the mysteries in American history…

…on a whirlwind tour of two impressive, history-packed museums. Adults and kids team up to follow a trail of clues that lead you through the best of the exhibits—from freaky folk art and silly sculptures to Oval Office oddities, celeb secrets, and more.

You’re not collecting objects (put back that painting!) on this scavenger hunt. You’re finding answers to tricky and humorous questions that bring out the skills of everyone on the team.

Along the way, you might discover…

  • Portraits of the presidents—and the secrets some conceal
  • Appearances by many famous and colorful Americans, from the real Pocahontas to the man who worked closely with Bugs Bunny
  • Fascinating paintings that relate to kids’ interests, including the Headless Horseman’s wild ride, a balloon ride that might remind you of The Wizard of Oz, and a 19th-century “Wizard” suitable for Hogwarts
  • Modern art that will surprise and delight, including license plates with secret messages, art you can walk on, and the startling hidden home of a man named Sollie
  • Unusual folk art, which features surprising uses for tinfoil and wild whirligigs

No previous knowledge is required, but you’ll learn a lot along the way. It’s the perfect museum activity for any group that wants to get adults and kids working together and having fun—from school field trips, scout-group outings, birthday parties, you name it! Suitable for ages 7 and up.

What happy teachers are saying

“We took a group of 30 eighth graders on a private hunt of the National Portrait Gallery. The kids were entertained, focused, and learned something! A win on all fronts! We would definitely recommend this hunt to any school groups visiting D.C. It makes for a fun day of competition and helps students get more out of museums than they normally would by listening to a docent. Thanks, Watson Adventures!” –A reviewer on Yelp

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