Tips for visiting MMAM with kids

Welcome!  We are happy you want to visit, and applaud your efforts to prepare for your visit.  Whether you are here for a few minutes or a couple of hours, please know that your time with us is valued. We hope you find these suggestions helpful

Plan your visit. When planning a trip to MMAM, spend a few minutes on our web site to discover what artwork will be on display. Choose several pieces to discuss with your child ahead of time. If possible, print out photos (from our web site or locate something similar on the web) of these items, and try to locate related background information.  If time, read aloud with your child what they are about and why they are meaningful. This helps connect your child to the work ahead of time. You will be amazed at how making connections before your visit will strengthen your visit.

Make Connections in the Galleries. Help your child draw connections between artwork and their life.  For example, ask if they were a painter, what would they paint?  Look for their choice of subject throughout the museum.  Are there places or things children have seen before? Are there children in the paintings? What are they reading or playing? How are their clothes different or the same? If family is portrayed, how are they interacting with each other?

Talk about color and shape. Ask your child to choose their favorite shape/color and explain why they like it.  Locate colors and shapes in artwork. Ask why they think an artist chooses a certain color and notice similar colors in other pieces.  Have them make up a story related to the artwork (who, what, where, when, etc.).  If they were the artist, how would they change the artwork?

Imitate art, literally.  Have the kids imitate people, animals, actions, shapes, lines, etc. in the artwork.   Most kids love involvement and demonstrating movement.

Paper, pencils and drawing boards are available at the front desk.  Ask to borrow some, find an artwork that you like, and spend a few moments drawing that piece. 

Don’t try to see everything. Most museum visitors fall into one of three categories: Studiers take their time in a museum; they have a specific purpose for being there, and they spend time at each exhibit item; Strollers are there more for the experience of being there. They browse casually around the exhibits, stopping for a closer look when something strikes their fancy; and Streakers tend to race through a museum quickly, stopping at a display only when they find their attention caught by something startling (or when their teacher makes them.  Young children (ages 5 – 10 or so) tend to have a short attention span, 30-40 minutes.  Therefore, planning ahead will help you maximize your visit.

Play “I Spy.” Look for hidden treasures in museum!  Treasures might include: faces that look familiar (family, friends, teachers, etc.), similar places/locations, favorite colors, and structures (ships, boats, buildings, hills/bluffs, etc.)…consider those with you and brainstorm treasures to hunt!  The MMAM offers a “Bingo Overboard” game that encourages children to slow down and try to find multiple things in the artworks.  Ask for a bingo card at the front desk, and claim your prize from the treasure chest when you get a bingo.

Compare and Contrast. Find multiple works by a single artist, or a group of works by similar artists.  For example, choose two Impressionist pieces (i.e. Monet and Renoir) and talk about how they are similar and different.  Or, choose two artworks that were made in the same time period and discuss how their work is similar and different.  Comparing and contrasting is a great way to strengthen your art looking skills.   

 Take it outside. Our grounds are a wonderland of art in nature—the building, the weathervane, the river, and the gardens are all designed to be enjoyed. Wander the paths in the garden, or sit on the river walk and talk about your experience.   

Take advantage of educational programs.  We offer a variety of family and children programs.  Check out the offerings under Learn < Family Programs.  Call for more information, or to sign up if required. 

In preparing this information, the following web site was sited: