Tips for Visiting an Art Museum with Your Kids
Have you ever taken your child on an adventure to an art museum? Or is your first instinct to gasp and declare “that is no place for a child!” We’re pretty certain not many of you would side with the latter, but there might be a little hesitancy for some. Art museums have a reputation for being stuffy, quiet, and a place designed for adults and serious art aficionados. Well, we’re going to change that today with a few tips on how to have a successful art museum visit with your child.
First comes first, find the right museum!
Check out the websites of the local museums in your area. If you have a child who loves to roam outside and enjoy gardens, look for some spots that have outdoor galleries, sculpture gardens, and the like. You’ll also want to check the website for any special discounts for kids, or programs that allow free entry for your child. Don’t be surprised that the majority of museums love to cater to kids! You’ll often find a Children’s Room designed specifically for kids to explore different art mediums with hands on projects.
Once you’ve decided on your museum, check out a few artists whose work you’ll see there. Then visit your local library to learn about these artists, check out a few books, and do a few art projects (Classic Play has a ton of artist inspired lessons to look through!). When you get to the museum you’ll be very impressed with how much your child retained about each of the artists’ lives.
Review good manners
Kids always enjoy being “in the know”, shhhhh it’s a big well-kept secret! Let them in on the secret, museums are for good manners, no running, screaming, touching. Remind them that museums are where we touch with our eyes. Discuss with them how they feel when they’ve worked really hard on something, like a Lego set, or an art project, and someone just comes and puts their hands all over it. It certainly doesn’t feel good, and it’s all of our jobs to respect these beautiful masterpieces.
Depending on the age of your child you might want to pack a few snacks, water, and a stroller. If they’re older, good walking shoes are a must. The worst thing at a museum is to cut your visit short because of sore feet, or a blister. Also, have your child bring a camera! If they have an iPod that takes photos, a disposable camera, or any point and shoot camera, bring it! They will love to document the pieces they find most interesting. And it will engage them much more in the different exhibits. A sketchbook or small notebook and pencils are musts! You never know when inspiration will strike your child (or you!).
Grab a map
Upon arrival, get a map and take a few minutes to plot out the different exhibits you’ll want to visit. This was one of the favorite things for my son to do, he had full control over where we went and the route we took to get there.
Limit your expectations
Sometimes I think our expectations are our downfall. Don’t go into the experience with high expectations of reading every plaque and studying every piece of art. Make sure it’s enjoyable for your children, otherwise your museum going trips will be short lived.
Tell me, do you have any tips for taking your child to a museum? What is the age you would recommend for a first timer?