A few years ago, when my older daughter was a toddler, we'd make occasional stops at art museums. We'd walk through the galleries. She'd point out the babies, princesses and animals. It was a relaxing break - the two of us walking among all those paintings.
These days, she's pointing out more than just the babies, princesses and doggies. And I'm realizing that, while a leisurely visit will always be welcome, sometimes it would be better if she came away with a bit more information than just "wasn't that all very nice."
So that's why I recommend the gallery hunts at the Nasher Museum of Art. The art museum at Duke University in Durham offers the gallery hunts free of charge. You can pick up the booklets at the museum's front desk. Destination: Gallery hunt at the Nasher Museum of Art
The hunts take visitors through the museum's collection and special exhibits. Kids answer questions and draw pictures about the pieces they see. The hunts come in both English and Spanish. Kids can take home a pencil and sticker when they finish the activity.
The hunts are intended for families to complete and are probably best for families with kids ages 5 to 8. But younger kids may enjoy them with the help of a parent. And older kids could do them on their own.
Nasher is about to unveil a new gallery hunt this weekend with the opening of "The Jazz Loft Project: W. Eugene Smith in New York City, 1957-1965." The exhibit of recordings and photographs tracks a period in photographer Smith's life when he lived and worked in a New York City loft building where many famous jazz musicians, filmmakers, writers and artists lived.
To celebrate the opening of the exhibit and to say so long to another one, "The Record," Nasher will host one of its regular family days from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. You'll find the gallery hunts, along with a variety of hands-on crafts for kids and live performances. Youth jazz group JAZZFORCE will perform at 1 p.m. And the Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble will play at 2:45 p.m.
Activities are designed for kids ages 3 to 12 and their adults. Admission to the Nasher is free for this family program. And I should add that I've attended a couple of the family day programs at the Nasher and have always been impressed with how nice it all is and how creative some of the crafts are.
For more on the gallery hunts, watch my video interview with Jessica Ruhle, associate curator of education.