1) Know the expectations and rules of the museum before you arrive. Explain them to your little scholars in detail, so they are prepared. For our trip, I specifically told mine not to touch anything, including the walls and that sometimes something you don’t think is art, actually is. So, it’s safe to basically just touch the floor or ask first! This may sound extreme, but I think that going in with these expectations in mind saved us a lot of “Oh, no, don’t touch that!” moments.
2) Give them something specific to look for in the art. This could be done a couple of different ways. You could give them a postcard or picture of artwork that you know is housed in the museum and have them search for it. For mine, I encouraged them to look for perspective, mirror images, abstract art, etc. And to pick one favorite thing to search each piece of art for – like color, shape, object or subject matter. One of my littles opted to look for guns in the art and was thrilled when we found a hunting picture.
3) Think like a child, specifically like your child. Approach the art with their interests in mind.
and finally, 4) Pay attention to their cues and plan for their needs! Know where you can snack, drink, and take a rest. And also know when to leave! Pushing the limits of their patience or interest tends to leave everyone with a bad taste in their mouths at the end of the day. But, this is kind of true everywhere and of everyone, right?