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Children in the Virtual Art Museum

Monday, March 9th, 2009

We all know that the Internet is not an adequate replacement for the real experience of visiting the art museum. However, sometimes it’s just not possible to make the trip. Thankfully there are many resources on museum websites that provide ways of seeing into a museum, as well as offer many art-based activities and games for children. It’s also a great way to prepare your children for a visit to the art museum.

First, check out web resources for your local art museums. Then, check the website of any art museums you know of and see what they have to offer. When searching art museum websites, keep in mind that they sometimes hide these fun things under a tab called “Education” or “Programs.” It may take some searching but it will be worth it once you find the activity. Here are a few of my favorite sites but a word of warning for the adults – you may find yourself crowding the computer to do these yourself!

The Museum of Modern Art in New York City has a variety of online activities for adults, teens, and young children. If modern art puzzles or delights you, this is the place to go.

TATE Online is a delightful website of fun activities with a Brit sense of humor. In the games section I enjoyed the street art activity. Find your favorite!

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. has The Art Zone: Interactive Art You Can Make Online. The Photo Op activity introduces the basics of digital photography and how to manipulate images in a variety of ways. If you don’t already have it, the site will ask you to download the Adobe Shockwave Player. It takes a few minutes but it’s worth it.

Another activity is to make your own exhibition. To give you some ideas, the James A Michener Art Museum has a “Create an Exhibition” activity, along with many other activities.

Or go all out and make the whole museum and name it after your family or school.  Take a look at some interesting museum buildings and decide what you would like yours to look like.

Think about what materials you might use to make a model of your museum.  For example, when I think about making a model like a Frank Gehry building, I think of using curled paper or ribbon to get those curves. What would you use to make a model of a building like that?

Take your artist out for a ride on the Net! You will be amazed what you’ll find out there (and in yourself!)

Thanks for the great pictures from Xavier Fargas and nick.garrod

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