art museum

Recently, I have been introduced to some fun and interesting travel blog posts.  This one is about museum art cards, and is written by Jessica  from  Have you noticed that Jessica also supplied a Summer Freebie?  Her Printable Flags of the World Bingo Game is a fun resource. 

Mention the subject of art and you will quickly find many people who will tell you that they are not good at art.  Whether it was a teacher or childhood memory that instilled this feeling or if they actually couldn’t draw a straight line with a ruler, this feeling about art ability is often carried over into the art museum.  People feel intimidated by art and they are even more intimidated by guiding their children through a visit at an art museum.

Luckily anyone (even the ruler failures) can learn to appreciate and evaluate art in a museum and pass this feeling of accomplishment onto their children.  Evaluating art is really about asking questions.  And here’s a little secret: often the questions don’t have one right answer.  Whew!  That takes the pressure off of you right there.  Asking an engaging question almost dares your kids to examine the art closely and come up with an answer and works great for kids who have already decided that they don’t understand art.

Start by doing some research and coming up with some questions that can guide your children to look at art critically while having a great time.  Don’t worry that your questions need to be particularly arty.  Ask questions about colors and shapes.  Ask questions about the stories in the paintings.  Ask questions about how the painting makes you feel.    Write a few of these questions down on a note card and have them on hand to use as you walk through the any art museum.  Even as a former art teacher, I like to jot down a few ideas to share with my own kids, so that I don’t freeze up while standing in front of a piece of art.

Before a recent trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, I typed up a few cards of the most famous works in the museum to use as cue cards during our visit.  To make them useful for our tour, I included a small picture of the work and the gallery where they could be found in the museum.  Along with the questions, I also included the answer so that I could easily refer to the cards and impress my kids with my great art knowledge.  Armed with the cards, we set out to explore the museum, stopping to ask and answer a few questions along the way.

If you are touring the Art Institute with Children, feel free to print these cards to use during your visit.  But don’t stop there.  You can use this format to come up with questions and cards to use in any museum for any work of art.   Enjoy your art exploration!

Art Institute Question Cards for Kids

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