If we want to contemplate artefacts from centuries or artists’ works, taking an energetic and fast three-and-a-year-old with us will probably end with neurosis (ours) or catastrophe (for the world cultural heritage). Is it worth visiting a museum with a child?
There is a saying: As the twig is bent, so grows the tree. Contemplating works of art certainly opens the head and shows that freedom and imagination have enormous power to create history. After all, we often think about the events of the past with the help of master paintings, who recreated the story only with the power of their mind. Our child without our participation will learn that everything – good and bad – is on the internet already. But there is little chance that someone would replace us and show him what treasures hide immense museum collections.
Wili is curious about the world. It is also fast, strong and completely uncontrollable. Announcements and verbal admonitions he ignores with grace. His insubordination, combined with the curiosity and the four-year-old’s desire to implement IMMEDIATELY any plan that comes to his mind, potentially constitute an explosive mixture.
Worse, we did not create a common front with Magda. Our approach to son’s rebels was different, and a different tolerance threshold. I will never forget a visit to the National Museum in Budapest, where Wili delightedly discovered the great acoustic potential of slamming doors in a large, stone-covered hall. Or a horror that we survived in the Picasso museum in Antibes, where huge, worth millions canvas hung only a few centimetres above the floor. And – the two-year-old tested our reflexes, leading to a heart attack of guards.
I would be lying if I said I was having a good time. Or that I can remember anything from visiting these museums. On the other hand, during our travels, we visited dozens, maybe even more than a hundred, museums, in which the child behaved politely enough that it was possible to experience something together.
The score definitely went well. This is especially evident in England, where we live. And this is due to the clever approach of local museum workers.
First of all, in the largest national and local museums there is a free admission which makes it very easy to pay a visit. In the beginning, we dropped into the Liverpool museums “by the way” shopping in the centre or walking. Then Wili began to demand regular visits to his friends: dinosaurs, trains, or exotic worms. But this is not the end. For the four-year-old buddy it is clear that if we go to a foreign city, we will see a museum there. The most-obviously – he likes those in which somebody thought about small guests. Where you can touch something, play with the medieval shield, or look through the microscope on the beetle pliers.
I assure you that when travelling the world, we met a lot of fantastic museologists. People who are open, intelligent, full of passion and flame. Today they will definitely be at work. It’s a great opportunity to visit the places you like. And experiencing art and history, especially in the company of parents, is a huge adventure for your child.
P.S.: On the photo, there is Wili at the World Museum in Liverpool. In the Saxon helmet and holding the Viking shield. In this room, you can touch everything, and experiment, of course under the supervision of a qualified employee who answers thousands of questions with patience.