As summer is approaching and you’re planning your vacations, we hope you’ll include a visit to a few art museums! Join us today as we discuss the benefits of visiting museums with your kids and how to prepare for a really fun trip to the museum!
Links to Things We Mention
- The National Gallery of Art
- The Met
- City Pass
- Podcast Episode #19: Why Study Roy Lichtenstein
- Thomas Cole and The Voyage of Life series
- Podcast Episode #27: How to Teach Art in the Dialectic and Rhetoric Stages
- Vincent van Gogh exhibit in Houston, TX
- Our new drawing art lesson plans: Science Meets Art
- My upcoming book!
Why Visit Museums?
- The art is different in person (color, texture, size).
- Seeing art expands ideas and exposes us to different cultures.
- Museum docents are so knowledgeable!
- Live storytelling
- Sets aside time for looking and noticing
- Becoming a part of life experience
Plan Your Visit!
Go to the museum’s website or call the museum!
- When is the museum open? (Days, Hours)
- What does it cost? Are there discounts available? (Group discounts, Sister museum discounts, City pass discounts, etc)
- Are there other large group coming the same day you’re planning on going? (Can you change your date to a day when there’s not a large group?)
- Are there tours available? If so, plan to take the tour! What time is the tour? Do you need to register in advance? Are there tour discounts available? Audio tours are better than nothing, but you do all end up a little isolated
- Does the museum have an app? If so, download it ahead of time. Sometimes the app is from the museum and other times it’s from a 3rd party.
- Do you need to print a map ahead of time?
- What does the museum allow? (Snacks, backpacks, strollers) Bag checks can be very convenient if you know ahead of time.
- What exhibits will be showing the day you’re planning on going? Sometimes the most famous pieces might be traveling and not on exhibit.
- How much time do people typically spend at the museum? Decide ahead of time how much time you’ll want to spend there. Only increase the time if EVERYONE wants to. One hour is a good starting point. The time should depend on the age of the children, the experience level they have with museums, the subject matter at the museum and the personality of everyone going.
Research the Subject Matter
- The less interactive the museum is, the more you want to learn/prep in advance
- Read up about any special exhibits
- Watch any videos the museum has online
- Look for lesson plans, coloring sheets, scavenger hunts, etc, provided by the museum
- Do a full lesson plan about that subject
- Look for connections with other things you’re studying.
Make Your Own Scavenger Hunt
Create one of these fun activities for your children and then talk about them after the museum visit:
- Ask your children to write down or take a photo of a few memorable pieces of art:
- one piece of art you thought was happy,
- one piece you thought was sad
- one piece you thought was yucky,
- one piece you thought was strange,
- one piece you loved
- Start the day at the gift shop, purchase a postcard with a work of art that you know is on display on the museum, and then be looking for it all day (you can ask someone in the gift shop to help you pick it out)
Set Expectations for Your Children
Tell your kids what to expect and what you expect from them.
- Use a quiet voice.
- Walk, don’t run.
- Keep a few steps back from the art.
- Where can children sit if they get tired?
- How will you navigate crowds?
- What to do if you get
seperated? When and where to meet older kids so they can explore the museum on their own?
- They may need to wait for the appropriate time to ask questions, especially if on a tour.
- How much time will you spend at the museum?
- What will you do afterward? (play at a park, go out to eat, go home and play outside, etc)
- Arrive well fed, in practical clothing and shoes!
- Locate the restroom. If it’s up front, visit it as soon as you get there.
Check-infor your tour.
- If you’re not taking a tour, set a timer for 1 hour.
- When you look at a piece of art:
- Ask questions appropriate to their layer of learning.
- “How to Teach Art in the Dialectic and Rhetoric Stages” Episode #27.
What tips do you have for smooth and fun museum visits?