May is National Museum Month!  Visiting a museum at any age can be a fascinating, rewarding and educational experience.  However, not all of us are blessed to have good, quality museums in our area, so here are a few ways to bring the museum to you!

Create your own art exhibit with your child as the featured artist.  Spend a few days preparing for the “grand opening” by providing media for creating.  Do not limit your child to paper, crayons, markers and paint; branch out to sculpture by either using play-dough or a homemade dough.  Or, provide your child with a variety of boxes to build a piece of architecture.  Give your child different tools for creating color, such as chalk or even fruit juices.  If your child is old enough, have him or her name each piece of art.  Then, host an art show!  Call the neighbors and friends to visit and see the young artist and his or her work!

You can take this a step further by including several children in the show.  Allow friends or neighborhood children to create pieces of art and display them one afternoon.  It is a great way to involve several children in art appreciation without ever having to leave your home.

Create a “Wax Museum”.  There are two ways to do this: use small figurines or have friends stand in as historical figures.  Any kind of figurine can be used, from Barbies to Star Wars men.  Children can research important people and then recreate that person by dressing up a figurine.  Or, children can become that historical person and pose “in character” for others to see.  Another easy idea (and perfect for a child to do alone) is a paper-doll wax museum, especially if resources are limited.

Family History Museum – why not explore your own background and include the children in the process.  I actually did this two summers ago when I realized an ancestor of mine was one of the first lieutenant governors of Texas.  My son and I created a family tree, researched articles about our family online, and we even made a display of our family to share at a reunion. 

Do not discount small museums close to home!  In our small town we have an art gallery sponsored by the Art League.  It is small, but it is the perfect spot to learn more about art appreciation with my children.  The docents are always helpful and friendly, and the gallery is never crowded.  Our town also has a visitors center, and within our center is a small room of local history and artifacts.  It is easy to go through the entire space in a short amount of time, so my children’s attention spans are not tested by rooms and rooms of displays.  And, the entire area is significant to my children since it is a local attraction.  They are able to see how our town has evolved over the years.

Take a few moments this month to explore a museum or create one of your own.  Museums are fun, fascinating and factual!