A tiny Hall of Mirrors has been erected at the front of the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) to ensure Canberra's littlest art lovers can have their own experience of upcoming blockbuster Versailles: Treasures from the Palace.
The new 500m² space, which can cater for up to 150 kids, is called NGA Play and officially opened to the public on Thursday. It will now be a permanent fixture at the gallery, with its 'theme' changing twice a year to coincide with the gallery's major exhibitions.
With chandelier-making, carpet-weaving and furniture-gilding among the launch activities on offer, it's the perfect way for children to engage with Versailles: Treasures from the Palace.
NGA deputy director Kirsten Paisley said NGA Play had been about 12 months in the making and was built for the "young and the young at heart". She said the opening of the space was a significant milestone in the gallery's strategy to draw repeat visitation from a Canberra audience.
"It's a small percentage of visitors that are bringing children with them [to the gallery] but it's a very high percentage of visitors that have children," Mrs Paisley said.
"That's been useful information that we've wanted to tap into and address that.
"We wanted to create a room that would encourage people to visit multiple times - for Canberrans to visit multiple times - and there'd be something different each time you came.
"We wanted to bolster the incidental family visit and to assist visitors in their self-guided activities at the gallery."
Mrs Paisley said the NGA had drawn inspiration from children's play spaces nationally and internationally to inform the development of NGA Play.
"What we've done with NGA Play for Versailles is to create a mini palace - so it's quite spectacular and it's focusing on all of the craftspeople who made the magic of the palace come to life," Mrs Paisley said.
"It's fun, it's a tactile space ... but we also think adults are going to enjoy the activities as well.
"It's a new commitment to engaging children and families in a way that you don't have to book in, you don't have to pay, it's free all year round to come and experience."
NGA Play is open to the public from Thursday 1 December 2016. Free for all ages. Bookings not required.
Versailles: Treasures from the Palace is at the National Gallery of Australia from 9 December 2016 to 17 April 2017.