Get to Gilcrease!
Have you been to Gilcrease Museum lately?
I’m a big believer that museums are not just for grown-ups. Don’t shy away from taking your kids just because museums are quiet and refined places with lots of things kids shouldn’t touch. It’s like taking your kids out to eat. Unless you want to forfeit the privilege of ever dining out without having to pay a babysitter, you’re going to have to bite the bullet and teach your kids some skills in politeness.
In the same way, why deprive yourself of fine art and at the same time cause your kids to miss out on exposure to art and culture because you’re terrified of having to keep a closer eye on them? Fortunately, institutions like Gilcrease Museum have all kinds of fantastic programs and opportunity just for kids to help you help them grow and learn. Last Saturday was Smithsonian’s Museum Day, and we were able to print tickets to get in for FREE!
I’m not saying it’s always easy to reign them in. My kids get started raising my blood pressure in the parking lot scaling the walls!
So I let them climb, then told them to climb again and this time race, then I let them run through the gardens all the way to the front door to try and expel some energy before we went in.
Before we go into restaurants, libraries and museums, I always stop and have a little chat with the kiddos. I remind them that we are not going to a park, and when we’re in museums we talk with inside voices, don’t run and never, ever touch things before asking! When they were younger, I had to do a lot more hand holding and be very quick on my feet to stop them from destroying things. Now that they’re older, they know the rules a little better. Now my number one job is to keep them from shouting, “Hey Mom! Look at this one! This one is really cool! Can we go home and PAINT?!!”
Since I hadn’t been to Gilcrease in years, I wasn’t sure how much would be there just for the kids, but was pleased to find Smart Art Cards right when we walked in. Each card has a painting or sculpture on it that is housed in the museum, and creates a sort of scavenger hunt for the kids while they’re touring the museum. Sure enough, as we went along, each of the three kids were thrilled as they found each one. If you want to take the learning a step further, there are questions on the back of each card that you can discuss with your kids.
The COOLEST thing is these Trailblazer Backpacks. Each one has a different theme, and you can check it out at the beginning of your visit and turn it in when you’re done.
The kids were quick to dig in and see what kind of goodies were in it.
We chose the animal themed bag, so there were pieces of bone and hide that we could feel and talk about. What a great idea! There is so much in the museum the kids can’t touch, but the smarty pants people at Gilcrease have given us many things in the bag, and even at various stations within the museum where you can touch and feel the art and artifacts!
Whoever said kids don’t like to learn and work wasn’t paying attention! These 9, 6 and 5 year olds got right to work on crosswords, information books, and sketchbooks.
Aidan was inspired by the Native American bonnets and headdresses, and wanted to make his mark in the sketchbook.
Pretty cool. There is an American Indian, with a gorgeous long headdress, with buffalo in the background!
Alec was inspired by the painting of George Washington,
and drew his own! Don’t ask me why my kid likes to write his name backwards…
After we finished working through the bag and toured the museum, we headed downstairs to the artifact room, which is super cool. There are HUNDREDS of drawers of pottery, pipes, clothing, bones and so much more that you can look at and many you can touch. There are also computer stations with games and search engines that kept the kids busy for a while.
Lastly, we hit the gift shop where the kids spent some of their allowance money on some souvenirs and headed outside to play in the gardens. We had quite an exhilarating game of tag!
I should add that there are signs that say no pictures in the museum, but I didn’t see them until after our Trailblazer Bag discovery when we were in the galleries. I’m hoping that I won’t get in trouble since I didn’t take pictures of the actual artwork…right? Anyway…be thankful for the rebel pictures I took for you, and go see the rest for yourself!
If you missed Museum Day, don’t worry! Gilcrease has a lot of ongoing activities for children of all ages, including grown-up ones. Check out the Events page of their website for more information.
See you around town!