When your kids love video games, candy, and cartoons, how can you get them interested in art? Art museums are an excellent way to introduce your children to the arts, because they show that being an artist means creating things that other people can appreciate for hundreds or even thousands of years. Living in the nation’s capital, you have a great opportunity to show your kids the beautiful heights that art can reach. Here are five of the best DC art museums to visit with your children:
1. Smithsonian American Art Museum
Your kids might prefer seeing dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum right now, but soon they’ll be fascinated by paintings and sculptures. The Smithsonian American Art Museum focuses on art from throughout the history of the United States, including kid favorites like the Wild West. The museum also hosts Family Days, where kids can participate in arts and crafts projects and hear stories read from children’s books. They also offer other family events throughout summer.
2. National Gallery of Art
If you live in DC, you’re lucky to live near one of the most famous art museums on the planet. The National Gallery of Art has an amazing collection that includes works by Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt, Whistler, Raphael, Picasso, and Degas. The NGA also offers Family Guides that you can print at home or pick up at the front desk. These guides teach your kids about American, Dutch, Italian, or French art, and include interactive drawing prompts. The museum also offers free kids’ programs, including storytelling, hands-on activities, and film screenings about famous artists.
3. The Phillips Collection
The Phillips Collection is not only one of the best DC art museums, but it’s also the oldest modern art museum in the United States. You can show your kids that art is the freedom to express themselves by taking them to this gallery, where the innovative works of Matisse, Cézanne, Klee, Bonnard, and other legendary Expressionist and Impressionist painters are displayed. Check out their multimedia page online to get your kids excited about the art they’re going to see before you even go to the museum.
4. Corcoran Gallery of Art
The Corcoran Gallery of Art showcases more than 16,000 pieces of art, so there’s sure to be something your kids will love! Their collection includes works from a variety of eras and styles, such as historic American art, photography, sculptures, and contemporary art. They also offer family programs during the summer, after school, and on weekends. These programs range from getting younger kids interested in art to classes that help prepare high school students to study the arts in college.
5. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Kids will love the Hirshhorn Museum building because it looks like a UFO! Inside, there are works by Jackson Pollock, Picasso, Francis Bacon, and many other artistic legends. Kids can also enjoy art in the outdoors by viewing the works of Rodin in the Sculpture Garden. The Hirshhorn website also sponsors ARTLAB+, which connects teens with artist mentors.
Your kids might want to be rock stars or pro athletes, but after finding out about famous artists and how valuable their works are, they might find a new interest in learning how to paint or sculpt. Take them to these top DC art museums to inspire their passion for the arts!
Photo by Pedro Szekely