The 10 Best Art Museums for Kids

1. Art Institute of Chicago

  • Has a Touch Gallery -- a permanent installation of five portrait sculptures from different time periods that kids can explore with their hands; originally designed for the visually impaired, the gallery has evolved into a spot where families can learn about form, scale, and texture in ways they couldn't simply by using their sight
  • Offers "Mini Masters" classes for 3- to 5-year-olds accompanied by an adult; the hourlong program, which takes place on most Saturdays during the school year, includes reading a picture book, examining two to three works of art in one of the galleries, and doing an art project
  • Hosts themed Family Art Camps for kids and adults during one week in the summer; participants explore paintings, prints, and sculptures in the galleries, then head to the artists' studios at its adjoining school to create their own works

DON'T MISS:

The Art Institute of Chicago opened its first children's gallery in 1926. Its legacy is the state-of-the-art Kraft Education Center, which puts art in context. "The education center tries to give families a connection between art and life," says Jean Sousa, director of the center's interpretive exhibitions and family programs. "You might see an African mask plus a video of that mask being worn in a performance, plus a mannequin wearing the mask, and then you can make a mask-all of which informs what you see when you look at the mask."

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