(Photo: At the Louvre Museum, Paris)
Contrary to common belief that museums are boring and only for intellectuals, museum visits can actually be fun and exciting for the entire family. Aside from museums showcasing art and history, there are interactive science museums, botanic gardens, zoos and aquariums, and other specialty museums that offer varied subjects of interest that spark one’s inquisitive nature. Moreover, these museums provide one of the best venues for experiential learning enhancing lessons children study in school.
Here are some things you may want to keep in mind when taking your children to a museum.
Before going to the museum:
Do some research. Visit museum websites to check schedules of exhibitions and to ensure that there are artwork or exhibits that your children would find interesting. There are also art museums that offer tours for families that include plenty of interactive activities for children so you may want to look for those.
Know the rules. Most art and history museums strictly prohibit touching art pieces and artifacts, eating and drinking inside the gallery, and may also prohibit use of cameras. Though most science museums are interactive and provide a more exploratory experience, they still do have certain rules that they implement. Always ask what the rules are prior to visiting a museum so you can discuss these rules with the children at home.
While at the museum:
Show enthusiasm. When children see excitement on your face while marvelling at an exhibit, they are more likely to be as enthusiastic. Articulate fascination with particularly enthralling artwork so the children can be encouraged to express their own thoughts about them.
Let your child guide. It’s not unlikely for parents to want to tour the entire museum while a child prefers to linger in just one area. If your child shows great interest in a particular exhibit, do allow him to explore that area more.
Foster creative discussion. Ask open-ended questions that promote discussion about the exhibits such as What is the artist conveying through his work? Or How does the exhibit work? These questions stimulate your children’s creative and analytical thought and encourage them to explore the exhibits more.
To make the most out of your museum visit, reinforce art appreciation at home. Appreciating and learning about art shouldn’t be limited inside museums alone. At home, you may encourage your children to create their own masterpieces. Ask them which artwork or exhibit they particularly liked and provide them with materials they could use to create their own version of that artwork or exhibit.
I went with little boy’s kindergarten class to the Albertina, a museum at Vienna’s first district which holds one of the largest print rooms and contains a vast number of art. One of the more famous is Albrecht Dürer’s young hare.
In line with the kindergarten’s watercolor activities, we went to view the impressionists’ works on display. Some works of whom were remade by the kids. Little boy did Mark Rothro’s Saffron but during an activity he liked Gustav Klimt’s Sunflower Painting the most.
We were let in earlier than the Museum’s opening hour. Our guide was very accommodating to ask kids and explain about the paintings. There were a number of paintings discussed. Kids are allowed to interpret the paintings too.
After the tour of circa an hour we went to a room by the wardrobe. The kids were given papers for them to draw whatever they like perhaps inspired by the paintings they saw on tour. They had to frame the paper first to make an effect of two brown doors. I was not able to photograph little boy’s final drawing but he has a house, chestnuts and colorful sky.
I’ve probably written about the Hundertwasserhaus and Hundertwasser in my other blogs but here, rightfully an art blog – hmmm, not yet.
Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser is a Jewish-Austrian architect and contemporary painter. He took courses at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.
Hundertwasser is known for his boldly coloured paintings but his architectural style in irregular forms that are also incorporated into the landscape and setting of the buildings made him more popular. The Hundertwasserhaus, for an example, is an apartment block in Vienna with undulating floor, its roof is covered with earth and grass, and large trees grow from inside the rooms, with limbs extending out the windows…(I can’t find my photos yet). Imagine the photo above…this is just part of it…already looking like a painting itself.
Hundertwasser also designed the Fernwärme Wien – an incinerator in Vienna that provides the city with electricity, you can view the building here, it’s an old photo I took. And below is the toilet inspired by Hundertwasser’s style.
Trivia: Friedensreich are two words that means Peace and Realm respectively while Regentag mean rainy day, Dunkelbunt means dark/gloomy colored and Hundertwasser means Hundred waters, thus, the name is somewhat a representation of himself…and obviously an adapted name to fit his artistic lifestyle.
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