I can’t tell you the first time I was taken to a museum. It was just something we always did growing up. Art, science, history — all kinds of museums. It has made me a lifelong museumgoer. I have carried on the tradition with the kids in my life. Start them as babies and never stop. And yes, my favorites are usually art museums.
I love some of the comments and reactions you get from kids. I was in the Portland Art Museum with my cousin Jack when he was about five. We walk into a room with silver tea services in glass cases. I can’t imagine anything more boring. Then Jack exclaims with delight, “Treasure!” A kid entrenched in pirate culture appreciating stuff that I only thought was for the ladies-who-do-lunch. It was a reminder of how we all can take different things away from different shows.
There are even times I learn things from the kids I take to museums. Adam is now 13, his dad and I have been dragging him to museums since he was a baby. He was about 10 when he taught me to appreciate the Gerhard Richter wall installation at the de Young. But he can be a terrible snob at times. On a wet winter day when he was four, we dragged him around the Albany Bulb to see the found art and recycled sculptures only to have him imperiously announce, “This is a junkyard.” Clearly we had taken him to the Legion of Honor too many times.
One of the many projects I want to do is a photo book of kids at museums. I have been taking pictures for year and I don’t mind hams posing to match the art.