Monday, April 8, 2013


"Mom, there's something about Madonna in this museum," Lucy said excitedly as she came running over to me.  "You love her!  Go look."

I could see the guard give her the eye--the "um, we said there's no running in here remember?" eye.  After reminding Lucy to slow down a bit, we made our way over to the Madonna exhibit.   While it wasn't a display featuring the Material Girl, it was still fascinating.  I'm a fan of both famous Madonnas.

The other day, Tim and I took all the kids to the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA).  

We haven't been to an art museum since before we had kids.  It just seemed like it wasn't a good fit.  We've had a toddler in the mix for the past 11 years and I don't know if you've heard, but we aren't the quietest bunch around town.  How could a rowdy bunch like us go to an art museum?  A museum where everything is "don't run, don't touch, don't talk too loudly, don't skip, don't get too excited, just don't."  At least that's what I thought art museums were all about.
Here we are before we boldly made our way into the museum.  Yeah, I have my "attitude glasses" on.
Is that Thinker judging me already?
Looking down on us before we even go in?
The kids were running and wrestling all over the grass as we made our way to the museum.  It wasn't looking good for our brood to suddenly discover their inner refinement.  We usually make an entrance and an exit like the Looney Tunes' Tasmanian Devil, spinning around in a whirl of chaos leaving messy destruction in our wake.  Tim and I agreed that if it was too much, we'd just leave after five minutes.  No sense in bringing down a billion-dollar painting in a wild rumpus that is our family to prove that we can hang with the museum crowd.

As soon as we busted through the giant, heavy front doors, I knew it was going to be a challenge.  Each child ran in a different direction.  "No running," said a man with a nice jacket and non-smiling face.  One minute in and the "No's" had already started. 

The man behind the front desk looked miserable and even annoyed. It didn't really bother me thought.  Because he and I were both thinking the same thing, "what the hell were we thinking bringing these kids in this museum?"

Tim and I ushered the kids to the corner and had a quick family meeting.  "We have to be on our best behavior in here guys," we begged said.  

As we made our way through the museum we admired paintings from Mary Cassatt, Van Gogh, Renoir and more. I'm happy to report that my kids didn't touch any painting or knock any down.  And the older kids actually got really into it.

Along with the explanation of how there's more than one Madonna in the world, we talked about a lot.  We talked about history.  We talked about painting mediums.  We talked about Egyptians and mummies.  We talked about families.  We talked about art.  We talked about how great it was to be together.  We talked about not skipping and how skipping is so much more fun.  We talked about the French Revolution.  We talked about kids fighting in wars.  We talked about the chips we love to eat. 

We talked about the giant elevators.  We talked about self expression.  We talked about art.  We talked about coming back.

Reluctantly, I let the kids go in the gift store.  The day had gone so much better than expected, I didn't want to end it with a giant case of the gimmes and pouting when I told them we weren't getting anything.  But to my surprise, the kids had brought their own money and spent it on....wait for What?!?!?!  They bought me a necklace with a heart and a t-shirt.  I was beyond grateful (and surprised).

So maybe the only don't in this whole story should be said to me, "don't sell your kids' short, give them a chance to surprise you."

If you live in the Metro Detroit Area, you should check out the DIA. They even have specific programs designed for families, click here.

Here's a link (click here) to a article with details about the top 10 best art museums for kids, maybe there's one listed close to you.

1 comment:

  1. I've only taken my kids to a couple of museums, and you're right....while it's exhausting and the pressure can be enormous (ha!), it really is fun most of the time, and a great learning experience. I'm glad you had fun!