Our local art museum, The Joslyn recently received a grant which allows free admission for the next few years. So, my daughter Jenny decided that it would be fun to take Liam (age 4) and Lizzie (age 6) to the museum – even if they only lasted an hour before imploding (as small children have been known to do in public places when they are asked to be quiet and behave for too long a period of time) – she wouldn’t be out large sums of money – as well as her patience, sanity and possibly some hair!
Liam and Lizzie were very excited – especially Lizzie since she had visited the museum before and knew of the wondrous things it held. They called me while in the parking lot of the museum to let me know they could see where I worked (I work right across the street from the museum) – apparently, for them, my building should be considered part of the experience.
Once actually inside the building, the kids were handed ipods which have a scavenger hunt program to help keep children interested in the artwork. They have to find certain items like “find the ballerina with the white skirt” – which leads them to the statue of a ballerina by Degas. I had also asked them to find my two favorite paintings – the Return of Spring by Bouguereau and the Grief of the Pasha by Gerome. This game lasted for about an hour, at which time Lizzie was ready to go see her favorite – the Chihuly glass sculpture. Liam was just tired of being told to ‘step back’.
That meant it was time to go to the outside sculptures – or as the children saw it – the splash pad. Come of the outdoor sculptures are water features which have stepping-stones. Since the museum has no way of stopping people from dipping their tootsies in the cool water on a hot Omaha day – and the sculpture are really meant to be walked upon and enjoyed – the children figured it was time for a ‘swim’. This meant that their toes wanted to share the joy of being cool to the rest of their little bodies, and their toes forced them to ‘trip’ and fall into the water (which is only about one inch deep). Since they had to roll over to get up – that meant their entire body got to enjoy the artwork – not just their eyes and brains!
After letting their entire bodies and mind be immersed in the arts, it was time to go home. Liam and Lizzie always insist on taking a map of places they visit for a souvenir and to show people what they visited. So, later that evening, while at our house, Liam very proudly pulled out his map to show me where he had been that day.
“We went to the museum today – want to see where we went?”
“Sure – show me where you went.”
He slowly unfolds the map of the building and stares at intently, obviously trying to find the spot that was important to him. He jams his finger onto the map to show me the exact spot he was seeking.
“This is the bathroom.”