Does the thought of tackling an art museum with your children give you hives?
If I had thought about it before we began doing it regularly, I’m sure I wouldn’t have taken my children. And we all would have missed out.
We set our expectations low: meet at ten, lunch at 11ish, leave by 12. In reality, our morning lasted till almost one, but if it hadn’t, no one would have been upset.
First, we review the museum rules: don’t touch the art. No running. Quiet voices.
Our museum has lots of hands-on areas, but even if yours doesn’t, you might be able to step out of the way in a gallery to draw with a pencil. Or with a little advance preparation, you could prepare a scavenger hunt in the art. (Find one king, two girls, three horses, four dogs…) Or, we like to let the children pick out one postcard each from the gift shop and then hunt those pieces down.
Notice the photo-bomber on the back of the tortoise.
Allow the children to direct the pace. Over time, my kids have found favorite places, where they want to spend a long time. But maybe there’s gallery you love that won’t speak the same way to the kids. Allow them to move you along, and you can come back another day without them. You want their introduction to the museum to be a fond memory.
Try to hit the museum when it’s not too busy. We didn’t plan that so well this time, but a call ahead to the front desk would have told me that six tours of junior high kids were going to be there.
This is my architecture-lover. There was an architecture tour leaving from the lobby just as we arrived, and he asked to be allowed to go on it one day. Let the kids’ interests direct you. So what if I have a unit on Chagall planned? If they fall in love with Guiseppe Arcimboldo’s fruit faced portraits, the day is a success.