Visiting a museum with children

museums with children

Cats everywhere at the cat cabinet museum, Amsterdam

I love art and when I love something I want to share it with my children. But then again I remember how bored I could get visiting a museum when I was a kid myself. I’m not looking to torture them, I just want to show them pretty things and share some nice time walking through all the beautiful artwork. So what do I do….

Making choices

First of all I choose a museum I think will have more effect on them as children and work better on their fantasy. I guess they will probably enjoy the Cat Cabinet a bit more then the Museum van Loon. Choose a theme that will interest them, something appealing for kids, colorful and fun to start with. Interactive exhibitions work well with kids. Once they grow up their interests will grow too.

children in museums

Preparation

Second I try to prepare them. Where are we going and what are we going to see? Are there any fun facts about a painter we’re going to see for example I can tell them beforehand? When we went to visit the former house of Dali and the Dali museum, I had already told the kids a lot about him so they were very curious to what they would see. When we visited the museum they looked much more closely then I had seen them do in other museums because they knew “the story”.

Enjoying a "weird installation", Museum of Modern Art - Collioure
Enjoying a “weird installation”, Museum of Modern Art – Collioure

Short visits

Third I keep the visits relatively short. Walking around for three hours will not make the kids happy. I prefer to go back for a return visit then to stay too long the first time.

Mix play and art

Fourth, I sometimes mix art and play. Depending of the museum we could do either kind of a treasure hunt or something like a quizz . Most of the time the kids end up making up their own game like last time at the Ivan Mestrovic Gallery in Split anyway. They enjoyed that museum a lot, the sculptures were stunning as was the building itself and sea views from the garden. Some of the sculptures they would just look at and say how pretty they were and other sculptures they would imitate and ask me to take a picture. We spent quite a lot of time there!

Share the love

My children enjoy museums now and they have their favorite artists and all. My son loves to draw “like Dali” and likes surrealist painters, my daughter likes Van Gogh and also enjoys sculptures in general and the benjamin thinks paintings are boring but loves anything with boats 🙂

Sometimes I bring them to a museum which does bore them like the time we went to the Emanuel Vidović Gallery in Split but they still managed to have fun because they thought the chairs looked arty and fun. That’s the spirit!

Chairs as art, Vidovic gallery - Split
Chairs as art, Vidovic gallery – Split

I think art is something amazing and should be made fun for children so their love for art and inspiration can grow and their creativity can be stimulated. The whole thing works both ways too as it’s always nice to visit museums with my children as they make me look at the art in a very different way I would if I would be visiting by myself or with another adult.

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Frederique
Frédérique is moeder van drie tieners en werkzaam als tekstschrijver en communicatiestrateeg in de culturele sector. Ze houdt van Frankrijk, van mimosa, van de geur van gebakken knoflook, van de Middellandse Zee (‘haar’ zee want aan die zee is ze geboren), fotografie, musea, haute couture, films en hotels (daar heeft ze een speciale liefde voor, ze zou het liefst in een hotel wonen.)

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