Nancy Rowett, Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, Providence, RI, Facilitator
Kate Greene, Taft
Mary Sue Hoban,
Pat Sayre, Taft
Nikki Tomkinson, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO, Recorder
- Participants discussed the challenges of touring young children and raised the point that, not long ago, some museums did not encourage visits by pre-school and kindergarten children.
- Today, small children are welcome, and require tours that hold their attention and give them opportunities to be active in the gallery.
- It’s important to limit such tours to no more than 8 children, and adults.
- Aim to include no more than five works.
- Attention spans are short; consider no more than five minutes to sit and focus on an object.
II. Methods for success:
- Use props in gallery to help children translate from historic object to today.
- May include hats/costumes for children to use.
- Consider hygienic concerns about wearing wigs and other items that may spread lice/germs.
- Loose fitting clothing works; always make optional.
- Does museum have props for docents to use in the gallery?
- Adapt “Where’s Waldo” idea (scavenger hunt), looking for objects in art, based on paper visuals and props.
- Docents can wear aprons or have pockets to carry props.
- No props? Children may create sounds they perceive in art, by slapping hands on legs to sound like horses; drum the floor, etc.
- Kids can also imitate action that they see in paintings; examples: marching, and imitating animal behaviors and features.
- Engage children in discussions: Are you wearing something round (other shapes)?
- Where do you see red (other colors)?
- What do you see, hear, smell when you look at this painting?Engage children with art books/stories in front of art work. Example, The Cats Gallery of Western Art, shows famous paintings with cat faces, and can lead to talks about real versus pretend.
- Kids can recreate what they see in artwork, by posing.
- Every child has opportunity to participate and create.
- Kindergarten students can choose among poster reproductions of artwork offered to them, then find the original in the gallery and stand in front of it, to talk about it.
- Using outdoor sculpture in fair weather can allow children more freedom.
- Some museums have items that can travel to classrooms.