Local Museums Top the List
Despite having attended art school myself and despite living near a big city with fabulous art museums, I never felt I did enough art education or art history education with my young homeschooling children. A recent experience visiting the Art Institute of Chicago with my teen children highlighted what a wonderful shared experience it can be.
Any preparation ahead of the visit can make it more interesting and fun.
A few of my suggestions for making the actual visit to an art museum with students of any age more enjoyable are:
- Have a short (very short) list of pieces to find and mention them to your students ahead of time. View them in advance in books or online. Think picture books, stories, etc.
- To keep every ones attention, keep your visit length within a reasonable amount of time. An hour really can be enough time to get a taste of several pieces of art that can be discussed later or even visited again.
- Allow some time for spontaneous exploration. While I never plan to visit the displays of armor in the medieval section, the boys are always fascinated by what was worn by the knights and I learn some things, too.
Many museums offer hands on workshops that are engaging for children and adults. You can even try your own, at home workshops, before or after a visit. Copy a technique, or use the colors of a favorite painting in your own drawing or painting. Any activity that relates back to something you've seen can increase appreciation of an artist's work.
We also recently visited the wonderful, National Museum of Mexican Art in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. They consistently offer excellent hands on workshops that look like great fun. I share a bit of our visit in a blog post here. Any hands on, or other familiarization of the art, or of the process of creating it will enhance a museum visit and increase the likelihood of those exciting 'aha' moments.
The resources from Enrichment Studies add to any exploration of viewing or making art.
Erica Johns has been offering excellent resources for the study of art and music for quite awhile. Her materials are lovely, useful and inspiring. Definitely worth checking out.
This package is great for Father's Day.