You can make your child's visit to an art museum more meaningful if you plan ahead. Here, Susan Delson, editor in chief of Museums for Families magazine, tells you how.
CHOOSE ART OF INTEREST
Use a museum's Web site or downloadable family guides to search the collections for pieces that may be of special interest to your child. "If your daughter plays with dollhouses, search for a miniatures exhibit," suggests Delson. "If she likes ballet, see if your local museum has a Degas." A general rule: 3- to 5-year-olds love sculpture. Show your child your picks before you go, and gauge her response.
DON'T TRY TO SEE TOO MUCH
"It's vital to be realistic about your own expectations," says Delson. "One gallery and a snack in the cafeteria is a big day for any child. So plan to see one thing-one gallery or the sculpture garden." You can always extend your visit if your child is game. But when your child says he's had enough -- even if you've seen just a single painting -- head home.
SKIP THE BLOCKBUSTER
Especially for your first few trips, avoid the crowd and extra fees associated with special exhibitions. Instead, visit the museum when it's typically less crowded -- on a weekday or at night.
PLAN TO BRING ART HOME
Pack a pad and a pencil and encourage your child to draw in the gallery, or buy a postcard of an artwork she liked. Says Delson: "Either way, your child brings art back into your home and into her consciousness."