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Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Natural History tours for Families and Kids

Posted: Dec 27, 2018 | 12:29 PM
by Jared Goldstein
Here is a recent evaluation:
"Excellent tour [of the Metropolitan Museum of Art]... Super job keeping kids interested [in the art museum]."
4 out of 4 rating.

One of my favorite things about 2018 was developing kids' tours of the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art for families.  It is wonderful to be part of those experiences.  I loved museum visits as a child with my parents.

Frequent friends of ours:  Arms & Armor, Greek & Roman, Modern Art, American Art, especially Washington Crossing the Delaware, Egyptian Art, paintings, Impressionists, Musical Instruments, and William the Hippo.  We don't cover all of these on a typical visit.  I improvise based on your interests.

At the American Museum of Natural History, sometimes we relate some of the Museum specimens to movies like Night at the Museum, Madagascar, and Harry Potter.  I like to talk about how the museum helped saved young Teddy Roosevelt's life, when he was a boy, who grew up to be President, to save millions of animals and plants that he studied as a youth. 

Visits can include Marine Life,
the giant tree,
the giant mosquito,
origins of man,
North American Mammals,
how dioramas are made,
African Mammals,
Native Americans,
Pacific Islanders,
New York State's geography and geology, mammals and birds, and maybe history,
Dinosaurs, including a fossil that I found when I was six years old that I tried to donate to the museum; the museum returned it with a personalized educational letter; they are some of my prize possessions,
and Space...
- How big are we, how small are we, how long is our history and the history of our universe and atoms?

(Again, we can't see all of these things!  We can see most.  It depends on time and interests.) 

That's what I love about these two museums, they make me feel like I am part of something great and wonderful.  I am thrilled every time I tour these museums, and my enthusiasm seems to be shared by all or most of my guests.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art explores why are we here, and the American Museum of Natural History explores how we are here.

A perfect day could be two or more hours at each museum, lunch, and time in Central Park, even a couple of hours there!!  Little kids need those playgrounds, and there are some fun things from movies and little details to discover.

I also like sharing and touring the less explored museums in New York City, as well as other major ones.  We have over 150 museums.

Museum tours are among my favorite parts of what I do.

Caveat:  I am not an expert in over 30 different departments and millions of works of art in hundreds of thousands of square meters and millions of square feet, like a skyscraper or several Walmarts.  The knowledge of each item in a museum can be hundreds of pages per work of art or specimen.  Each department is worthy of a library.

I approach my tours with some fun facts about the pieces and specimens that I find interesting.  I also have suggested places for great pictures.

Also, there are stories behind the walls of the museums that tell us their great histories, and how they function.  Some kids are interested in how the museum runs -- how works of art can be saved for thousands of years, who are the Guards, how is an exhibit designed?  I worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art between High School and College.

I also read books about the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I will do my best to stick with what I know, and try to treat my favorite things as something worth sharing and discovering through questions that I pose to the kids. 

I will also research answers to questions that I don't know yet.  I think that knowing a little about many things is better than knowing everything, or seeming like you know everything. 

We mostly visit museums to learn, but also to feel and have fun, and I think that feeling and having fun has more of an impact than knowing everything in every department.  I also think that such museum tours for kids and families should inspire kids to learn more, research, go to more museums, and to create art, preserve nature, or to give their lives a purpose by developing an interest, even becoming a researcher or curator.

And sometimes I bring along some art supplies in case inspiration strikes.  There is nothing like drawing something to really learn about the subject, whether it is a specimen, an art work, or about your own feelings and perceptions.

Another thing I bring to the tour: my reacting to how is the kid feeling or reacting.  Is energy low?  Need fuel?  Need a place to sit?  Bathroom?  Is the kid shifting on her feet?  Does he look bored?   I note this to the parent, and sometimes the kid.  I ask, and I react.  If I'm right, it is time to move it along!  Time to change the exhibit we are seeing, or maybe do something completely different.

Let's take the whole family on a museum tour! 

I know how it can be accessible for all generations.  Your whole family will remember this happy day.

You'll have a private customized tour of the museum that happens at your convenience, based on your interests.


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