Every new parent has their own hurdles to overcome. For some, it is the sleep deprivation. For others, it is figuring out the rhythm of this little person that depends on you. For me, I struggled with feeling isolated from my old life in museum and early childhood education.
What was my solution? I started bringing my son with me to museums! It was a win-win all around. I got some of that intellectual engagement I felt I’d been missing, and he got fun new experiences and better mental stimulation then any toy I could buy him.
I fully understand how daunting it feels to bring an infant on any sort of excursion. If you feel like you want help with the logistics of it all, take a look at my “Museum Packing List.” That will give you some very concrete tips for getting there and back in one piece. For visitors to D.C., I have a running list of stroller/changing/nursing friendly areas in local museums.
Maybe though, it isn’t the “how” that feels the most challenging. Maybe it is “why” that feels like the unanswered question. For that, may I suggest my post on American History’s blog “O Say Can You See?” Hopefully it will give you the confidence boost you need! If so, I hope it helps you as much as it helped me.
Is it worth it to take the baby to a museum? Spoiler alert: yes!
The day after Thanksgiving is one of our highest visitation days of the year and many families bring along tiny bundles of joy. This made us wonder what babies get out of the experience. Museum fellow Sarah Erdman explains why museum exploration is a great activity for tiny tots.
My son got his first taste of the museum at about eight weeks old. It was August, it was hot, and I was going crazy looking at the four walls of our house. Rather than take yet another walk through the mall (the shopping kind, not the National Mall), I brought him down to National Museum of American History. There was air conditioning, things to look at, and plenty of space for the stroller.
When you talk about babies in museums, the scenario of it being “for the parents” is what comes to mind. This shouldn’t be discounted. New parents are sleep deprived, have a whole new schedule (or lack thereof), and still want to hang on to a bit of their adult-life and interests. This makes museums an excellent place to visit as a family. There are plenty of things to look at, whether you are wheeling the baby in a stroller or feeding them, and you don’t have to hunt for necessities like a changing table or place to sit down. The hours are generous, too, making it easy to visit when it fits in your day. Weekdays are particularly good days to explore museums because there are fewer visitors (judging from our visitation numbers, Wednesday is a great time to swing by Smithsonian museums if you want some extra space).
However, that isn’t the only reason that you should bring a baby to a museum….continue reading