Freddi Wald
Freddi Wald

Visiting an Art Museum During the Holidays? Freddi on Instilling a Love of Art Museums in Children

As a marketing and advancement leader in the arts and culture sector, Freddi Wald is responsible for everything from building revenue to boosting arts administration and advocacy. One of the things that makes balancing a busy schedule easier is how rewarding it is to see the impacts the arts can have on children of all ages. With holiday breaks right around the corner, Freddi can’t recommend a family trip to the art museum enough. Below are some tips to ensure your child gets the most out of the experience. Even children who may not have the highest expectations going in may just be surprised at how meaningful a day at the art museum can be.

One of the best ways to make the museum come to life for a child is to do some research before heading to the museum. While some pieces of art may be mainstays at your local museum, there are often special exhibits or themes to be explored. Reading up on artists ahead of time with a child creates an anticipation and an excitement to see their work in person. Viewing art online or in books ahead of time can be fun as it allows a child to see just how more impressive a piece is when they are able to view it up-close and personal.

Another great benefit of researching what your local art museum has to offer ahead of time is that you can tailor your own tour based on the interests of your child or children. Sure, many kids unlock new interests during their museum visit, but it is nice when kids can head in with an excitement level surrounding a particular artist, particular part of the world where an artist was from or even a particular historical period. Discussing the lifestyle, the artist must have lived when working on their art can really unlock a child’s imagination and help them relate to art that is centuries older than they are.

Freddi recommends that children enjoy the art museum at their own pace. Older kids may appreciate a guided tour, but younger children will typically want to move at their own speed. When a child stops at a particular piece or shows interest, it’s important to nurture that interest with open-ended questions. Questions like what was your first impression when you saw this piece? or what would you call that piece if you were the artist? can help develop a deeper appreciation of the art.

Visiting an art museum can be a physically exhausting experience as kids will have to take plenty of steps during their visit. However, the sensory overload can be even more demanding than the physical nature of walking throughout the day. Parents should take plenty of breaks and visit the museum’s play area or gift shop. If a child only has a few hours in them where they can focus on the art – that’s okay! There will be plenty of other opportunities to come back and visit again. The key is to create a positive experience and sometimes that requires leaving earlier than you may want to.