(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.