Museums and Kids



This is a topic that I have written about in various places, just not very much on this blog. Going to museums is a bit of a busman’s holiday for me, so I have to admit that I tend to favour art galleries. I always find it a surprise when I talk to people and I find out that they haven’t been to their local museum, yet alone the big City ones. Often, when you get talking to people its related to their own childhood. Their parents never took them to these places, they might have gone once on a school trip, but that’s it. They simply don’t have the experience and feel that its a bit exclusive.

In the last decade or so, loads of progress has been made in making museums far more accessible. The introduction of free admission was one of these things. Museological arguments over whether this is a good thing aside, it has definitely allowed more families access to museums like the Natural History Museum in London.

What are good things to take and do when visiting museums with kids?
I would suggest a bit of research if you can, and don’t try and see everything. Have a look at the website beforehand, there may be resources you can download. Pick specific objects. Take some pencils and paper and encourage the children to make notes of things they see and do drawings. Try to go on journeys around galleries, using some of your own story books ( We Are All Going on A Bear Hunt works brilliantly at the Fitzwilliam Museum). Talk to the visitor staff, they will have the experience to direct you towards the things that families have enjoyed. They might also be able to provide you with activity packs. But most of all, don’t let your child run across the mosaics (this will aggravate any passing curator), but let them run, hop, skip, laugh, scream, shriek and realise that they can be a place of fun, discovery and wonder.

Some places we have enjoyed with our children (you will have to Google them, as to link them all with two children screaming is proving an impossible task!):

  • Verulamium Museum, St Albans
  • Mill Green Museum, Welwyn- Hatfield
  • Stockwood Museum and Country Park, Luton
  • The British Museum
  • The Natural History Museum, London
  • The Imperial War Museum, Duxford
  • The RAF Museum, Hendon
  • The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
  • The Secret Nuclear Bunker, Essex
  • The Shell Museum, Glandford
  • The Natural History Museum, Tring
  • The Victoria and Albert Museum, London
  • The Lifeboat Museum, Cromer
  • The Tate Modern, London
  • The National Portrait Gallery, London
  • Colchester Castle Museum, Colchester
  • Norwich Castle Museum, Norwich

7 Responses

  1. Metropolitan Mum 18th November 2009 / 1:12 pm

    Natural history museum with the ice rink in front of it – magical in winter. And in summer… I have not yet made it to the big butterfly tent, but now I have a baby daughter, I feel I HAVE to go next summer. We should go together!<br>x MM

  2. Mark 18th November 2009 / 1:14 pm

    Tring museum is just brilliant – so non-PC. Loved it. <br><br>The thing I find about good museums is that they don&#39;t do all that electro – gizzmo – story board nonsense. Insted they show the &#39;object&#39;and let you get on with it. Who can forget the blue whale at the natural history museum (I know its a model but kids don&#39;t) or the Egyptian exhibits at the British Museum. Lots of

  3. TheMadHouse 18th November 2009 / 1:21 pm

    I think that sometimes you need to pick the right type of museum!!

  4. Liz (LivingwithKids) 18th November 2009 / 3:56 pm

    We have so many favourites.<br><br>In London: The Science Museum and the Natural History Museum<br>In Lyme Regis: The dinosaur museum (don&#39;t think that&#39;s its official title!)<br>In the New Forest: Beaulieu <br>In Washington DC: so many to choose from, but National Air and Space takes the cookie (as seen in Night at the Museum 2)<br>In New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art<br>I could go

  5. More 4 Mums 18th November 2009 / 4:03 pm

    Thought I would add a few scottish ones!<br><br>Scotland Street School Museum in Glasgow – Charles Rennie Macintosh designed for grown ups along with old classrooms to look at. They can wear old school costumes as well.<br><br>Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh – Huge with lots of interaction and activity booklet.

  6. Mark 18th November 2009 / 8:15 pm

    Just did a post on museums and tagged yours

  7. cartside 18th November 2009 / 10:50 pm

    Oh and I would add (also in Scotland): Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery (Glasgow), Science Museum (Glasgow), Dynamic Earth (Edinburgh), Transport Museum (Glasgow) – all VERY family friendly and designed with children in mind.

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