NGAkids Art Zone interactives require the Shockwave player. Without it, activities will appear blank. There are other parts of our Web site that use Flash, QuickTime, and Acrobat (PDF). If you're using a recent browser you're probably familiar with these popular plug-ins. Let's see if you're ready to use them. If you have the necessary  plug-ins, you'll see animated QuickTime, Shockwave, and Flash displays in the box below. If not, you will see broken icons, which means you need to download and install the plug-ins.

After downloading Shockwave, follow the installation directions. Once the program is installed, relaunch your browser and come back to NGAkids.  If you have an older version of the Shockwave player installed already, you may be prompted to "'update." For best results, do not use the auto update option.  Click the "Different operating system or browser?" link on the Shockwave page, select your operating system (Mac or Windows), and then download the "FULL" installer (not the "SLIM" version). Use the uninstaller to delete the earlier version, then use the new installer to replace it. 

For Windows-based PCs, we recommend Internet Explorer or Firefox.  If you experience any display difficulties, please update your Shockwave to the most recent version using the FULL installer (as described above). Here is a direct link to the FULL version. Shockwave Player ONLY runs on 32-bit browsers. Here's a link explaining how to install Shockwave if you have a 64-bit system. 

For the Macintosh, we recommend Safari 4 running in 32-bit mode or Firefox 3.6.  Safari 5.0 also works well with Shockwave version 11.5.x, but Safari 5.1 and Shockwave  11.6.x  have introduced major incompatibiities. If NGAkids interactives are working well for you now, please do not update your browser or Shockwave plug-in. The update may disable the programs.

2012 update:  After a few false starts, Firefox 10.0.2  seems to work well in Snow Leopard, but only if you are running it in 32-bit mode. If you try to access a Shockwave file while the browser is in 64-bit mode, Firefox will issue an alert and offer to restart itself. Allow it to do so, and then reload the NGAkids program.

Apple and Adobe frequently revise their software, and we hope these Mac performance issues will be resolved eventually. We have been working with Adobe to resolve these issues and any information you can provide will help us troubleshoot issues with the newest versions. We are offering offline (CD) versions of eight interactives to help you work around this problem.

LION ( OS 10.7.x)
If you are using Lion on your Apple computer, NGAkids interactives no longer function properly due to incompatibilities between the  operating system and the Shockwave plug-in.  There are two workarounds. If you have Bootcamp, Parallels, or VMfusion installed on your Mac, you can still run the online programs using a Windows emulator,  Internet Explorer or Firefox for Windows, along with the Shockwave player for Windows.

For Macs running "Lion" we suggest that you order the NGAkids CDs described below and run the programs from your computer's hard drive.


We have recently published a set of eight NGAkids imteractive CDs for MacOS and Windows. If you are experiencing playback problems with our Web programs, if your network access is slow, or if you wish to limit your children's access to the internet, visit our LEARNING RESOURCES page to register and request the free discs. The freestanding applications do not require the Shockwave plug-in or internet access.

NGAkids CDs

To switch your Mac browser to 32-bit mode:

  1)  Quit Safari if it is open. 2) Right Click (or command click) on Safari  3) click on 'Show in Finder' in the Menu that appears.  4) in the Applications menu that opens, view the applications as a list, then right click  (or command  click)  'Safari'  5) Select 'Get Info'.  6) On the window that appears make sure that you check box the box that has 'Open in 32 bit mode'.  It looks like this:


After you have checked "Open in 32-bit mode," close the info window and launch Safari. Your browser will now be running in 32-bit mode. Art Zone programs work with Safari running in 64-bit mode, but the program offers a more intuitive screen drawing experience in 32-bit mode.

Firefox 3.6.x is a good alternate browser for Macs running Snow Leopard 10.6. More recent versions of Firefox have introduced new incompatibiities that may disable some Flash and Shockwave functions. The programs may load, but the 'drawing' functions won't display properly. Firefox 10.0.2  seems to be working well, if the browser is running in 32-bit mode.

If you are running OS 10.7 (Lion), you most likely will not be able to use our programs until the next update. We have been working with Adobe  to identify a solution for this new incompatibility, but the prospects for Shockwave compatibility do not seem promising for Lion or Mountain Lion OS.


If you have an older PC or if you experience problems with the latest version of Shockwave, prior versions of these interactives remain online. Please note:  Mac users may experience a delay as the older programs load, and the printing function is disabled on these early applications. We strongly recommend using the newer versions of these programs.

If you are using Shockwave 10 on Intel-based Macs running Rosetta, there is an Adobe tech note titled Using Shockwave Player on an Intel-based Macintosh that may help you set up your computer.


We have updated the printer drivers on our program so Windows and Macintosh users can print the art created with NGAkids interactives. You also can save a screenshot and then print the saved file. Here's how


Shockwave 11.5+ addresses some compatibility issues, as well, but some Mac users'  screens turn blank after the Shockwave module has loaded. In other instances, clicking on the background of the Web page that contains the module will make the interactive "disappear"  or break apart.

corner of browser - drag diagonallyAn easy way to fix this problem is to simply resize the browser window by dragging or slightly repositioning the lower right corner. After you resize the window, the interactive should reappear and be fully functional. We hope Firefox's developers will address this "onmousedown" bug in the next browser update. Until then, the best way to avoid the problem is to use Safari on the Mac.


Adobe has additional tech support information that may be useful if you are getting other "shockwave errors" or if you're having trouble updating the plug-in.  Please read their SHOCKWAVE HELP page. You may need to adjust download permissions or security settings on your computer before installing the player. If you do not have administrative access to install plug-ins, your Windows-based browser may send an error message. HINT: In most cases, the program will work correctly, even though an error message was generated at launch. Give it a few seconds and see if the program loads normally after the error message is dismissed.

Here's a link explaining how to install Shockwave if you have a 64-bit Windows system.


Use the following links to download Shockwave Player, QuickTime, Flash, and Acrobat.

get shockwave Get Flash Get Acrobat

Get QuickTime


dollhouse screenshot



Click the print button at the top right of the interactive to send the picture to the printer. print button
Do not use the browser's print menu -- if you do the print out will be blank.

To save a version of your art on your computer, you also can take a screen shot. Here's how:

Macintosh users:

To save part of the screen image, hold down the APPLE KEY (COMMAND) + SHIFT KEY + 4 with one hand (HINT: use your thumb + pinkie + index/pointer finger at the same time). CLICK and HOLD DOWN the mouse button with your other hand, then DRAG/SELECT the area you wish to save or print. When you release the mouse button, the picture will be saved.

To save the entire desktop, hold down the APPLE KEY (COMMAND) + SHIFT KEY + 3 and a screen shot of your entire desktop will be saved automatically. In OS X a PDF file named "Picture #" will appear on your Desktop.  On an old OS 9 computer, a PICT file (named "Picture #") will be saved on your hard drive, instead.

PC/Windows users: click the PRINT SCREEN key (it's usually located near the F12 key), then open any word processor or graphics program and create a new document. Use the PASTE menu command to insert the "remembered" screenshot into your new document. NAME and SAVE the new file, then PRINT it.

If you have a picture editing program on your computer, you can CROP the screenshot, RESIZE it, or make other adjustments before printing.  If you don't have graphics software, just print out the full screen shot and then cut out the part of the screen shot you'd like to save.

Remember, use the print button at the top right corner of the interactive. If you try to print directly from the Web browser's FILE/PRINT menu, the interactive portion will print blank.


If links don't seem to be working, or if you keep getting redirected to the top of a page you're already viewing, that simply means that your browser is not reading javascript pop-up window links properly. Check your preferences to make sure javascript is enabled and that pop-ups are not being blocked. The "low tech" version of the NGAkids splash page contains conventional (non-javascript) HTML links.

Copyright © 2012 National Gallery of Art