The other day my ten year old son and I visited the Denver Art Museum for a day of exploration and enlightenment. Now, I think normally a ten year old is not so excited about this excursion, but fortunately the DAM has got your back.
I somehow discovered their art programs for kids, of which they have a variety. If you’re sick of the usual family excursions – the Zoo, the Butterfly Pavilion, even the Children’s Museum, with a little enthusiasm and spirit this could be a refreshing alternative.
I zeroed in on the Art Backpacks, a grant funded program that provides backpacks for kids to sign out use to amplify the art museum experience. Each backpack has a number of activities, art supplies, quizzes and mysteries that correspond to a particular exhibit in the museum.
If you want to at least expose your kiddo to the design aesthetics of 17th century French furniture, you will need this activity. Ok, so maybe they won’t be thrilled to the gills, but you pass the time together in an enriching cultural environment. And while it’s so easy to watch Clash of the Titans for the hundredth time or hit the arcade, this is a home run for a Sunday afternoon.
Here’s what happens. You sign out a backpack, it’s free. Inside is a set of instructions that tells you to go to a specific exhibit, it explains how to get there. It describes a specific work, you go exactly there. Step by step from the get-go, I like it.
Inside the backpack are a series of smaller pouches that contain activities related to that exhibit.
What is “caning?” Well, it’s a woven pattern made out of the peeled bark of the rattan palm. Can you find it in these beautiful works in this room?
What is silk? Well it’s an accumulation of incredibly smooth and soft threads made by silkworms. How cool!
Can you find this pattern or that in these pieces of furniture?
All you have to do is follow the activities and add a dose of parental enthusiasm, and your kids will be swept up in the fun. And what’s best, its free! Did I mention that?
There are other art backpacks corresponding to other exhibits in the museum, so you can always discover something new. The DAM also has other activity rooms on sewing and textiles, and interactive themes involving art.
Currently there is also an interactive dance exhibit called Dancelab that was a lot of fun (until Oct 2, 2016). You can participate by mimicking dance moves in slow motion while it is recorded, and then displayed on an enormous wall sped up. It was a blast!
Upcoming in November is a costume exhibit featuring original costumes from the Star Wars universe. And as a child of the original SW films, this really intrigues me. What I like about DAM is they have fun and interesting exhibits that can appeal to a wide audience. It’s not the stuffy old art museum from your nightmares.
If you’re in the Denver area with kids, be sure to check the Denver Art Museum.