Monday, December 28, 2020

How to Enjoy a Museum With Kids


January 2020 Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City

Let's say it's been one of those days. Everybody is either laying around on screens bored or bouncing off the walls. Or maybe you're having a washer repair situation and need to be out of the house while the other parent stays home and deals with it. 

You're dying to head to the local art museum, but you're eyeing your kids and picturing them running wild through the place, screaming and touching priceless artifacts while a guard yells after you and patrons glare at your family.

Yes, children’s museums have been popping up all over the country, and they are great fun for everyone. But sometimes you want to go to a grown-up museum with your child … for your sanity and for their art education. So how do you pull it off? The secret to a good day at an art museum with a child is preparation.

Do your research

Call ahead to make sure you know the hours, directions, cost, where to park, and any museum policies.  You don’t need extra surprises when you have small children. Also, show your kids pictures from the museum website so they are on the lookout for certain pieces of art.

Go over the rules

Make sure your kids know that they need to be quiet (use the indoor voice), not run, not touch any paintings or sculptures, etc. or you'll have to leave. 

Pick the best time for your family

Go when your child is at his best.  For example, going in the late afternoon when your child is hungry or tired would be a bad idea.

Talk about the exhibits

You don’t need a degree in art history to be able to converse about a painting with a child.  Children sometimes have interesting insights into things. There are some great books about art that you can look at and read with your kids before going to the museum, as well as some fabulous videos online.

Don't push it

Don’t stay too long.  About an hour would be a good time limit for your first trip, then you can work your way up to longer visits.

Level up!

If the museum has some sort of cafe, take the kids there and let them experience some treats! Our local museum has this fantastic area called Rozzelle Court, which is not only beautiful but also offers tasty treats!

*Our dream is to go to the Smithsonian museums, but for now we are content with our local museums and the ones we get to visit when we travel.

More fun posts about museums!

Here's a post from April 2017 when we went to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry and one about our visit to Adler Planetarium

Please enjoy a post from a 2015 visit to the Museum of Natural Science in Houston, Texas

A post from 2012 about a visit to Kansas City Museum

And this is from 2008 when we had a not-so-great experience at our local museum

Went to a museum in Phoenix in 2008 as well 

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