Museum Tips

I took my three children to an art museum recently.  I had never been to one before and I wasn't sure how much they would enjoy it or if it would even be age appropriate.  I did know that there would be a lot they would not be allowed to touch and that might not be the easiest for a 4, 5 and 7 year old.

With all that being said, we ended up have a blast and I was told that "this has been the best day all week".  Ah, sweet mothering success.

Here are my tips for visiting a "grown-up" museum with your kids.

#1:  If you have a long drive, let them run around in the outdoor area or look at the outdoor sculptures first.  This will get out a lot of their pent up energy.  You can even go back to run around at the end before the long ride back home.

pretending to be sculptures

identifying their age

#2:  The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) opens at 11.  We ate lunch before we got there, but it might be best to eat outside and get there a little later.  I found that the busier it got, the less stares I got from the workers about the noise my kids were making.

#3:  Kids and noise and the look with your eyes rule.  Even when they are quiet, kids are noisy.  You will get disgruntled looks.  The workers will tell your children to Not Touch Anything (even if they're not).  Make sure that you have on your thick skin for the day :)  Also, it helps if your kids wear something with pockets.  You can say "hands in your pockets" and "look with your eyes".

#4:  Make sure to visit the kid section.  The kids can be loud and they can create...which is what kids are great at.  Then when you are out in the rest of the museum you can compare works of art that they made with other works (the museum even has signs that tell you where to find the comparable works).

#5:  Let your children choose where to go next.  I got this tip out of the museum's family guide and I think this was the best one to follow.  We sat in front of a screen for 15 minutes watching a man burn a line in the Mojave desert.  I never would have guessed that they would watch that if I hadn't of let them choose.  Even though I felt like we rode the escalators a trillion times and nothing was "in order", I could see how my kids really felt like it was their trip.  We took turns picking where to go next and even I got a turn (although I'm not sure that the contemporary design was their favorite).

Have you taken your children to an art museum?  What are some of your tips for making it a successful trip?

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