That is by far the question I get asked the most frequently…and it is one of my favorites! I love hearing about the someone’s interests and then trying to match them up with the perfect museum visit. Since I can’t keep all of you on speed dial, I wrote up a piece for Kid Trips that will let you “choose your own museum adventure.” Hopefully this will be useful for you either with your own family or when someone comes to visit!
People who visit museums fall into a few distinct categories. You have the purists, the ones who feel you have to see the museum from front to back and top to bottom. Often, these are the visitors who are determined that this museum visit will “teach them something important.” You also have the fans, the ones who revisit a single museum (or sometimes a single piece of art) and just revel in that one experience over and over again. Finally, there are the fun seekers, the ones who choose a museum because it will be a fun thing to do with the people they are with.
The amazing thing about being in the D.C. area is that you don’t have to tie yourself down to one type every time. You can feel a little pity for the visitors doing the “museum march” through every Smithsonian museum; after all you can breeze downtown and just visit the elephant your kid loves and then head home. Since many of the museums are free (or offer good discounts and free days you can take advantage of when you are close) you can spread seeing the whole museum out over a summer, or just go in for the “blockbuster” shows that look like fun.
All of this flexibility also offers you a way to get your kids excited about a museum visit. Maybe all of you love museums and don’t need any convincing…if so, great! However, maybe someone in your family has a bad memory of being shuffled through a museum on a family or school trip and just feeling bored. For them, I want to offer the “Choose Your Own Adventure” model of museum visits….continue reading