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Indoor Fun: The University of Michigan’s Museum of Art (UMMA)

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We have always had a surprisingly positive experience taking our boys to art museums (with a little prepping, of course). Ann Arbor is so incredibly lucky to have one of the largest university art museums in the country on the University of Michigan campus. If you have not taken yourself or your kids to the UMMA, you must go! 

image via UMMA


Janice Richardson attended the museum last Saturday with her children to take part in their story time and she gives us a great run down of the good and bad.

 
About a week ago, I took my children to the story time offered at the University of Michigan UMMA. These are held monthly on Saturday mornings and are geared for children ages 4-7, though siblings are welcome. 
 
Just walking into the museum is quite a treat! As you pass by the interactive projection display, the wall displays words about what it sees. For example, when we entered the wall wrote, “a mother and young children enter the museum and pause at the information desk.” We were all delighted with the sentences the interactive display provided.  Such as “a boy in stripes hops vigorously.”  (By the time we left I was pretty sure I had picked out the person sitting at a computer in the corner who was actually writing the words, but my children are still convinced it was magic.)
 
After the fun distraction, we made our way upstairs for story time along with about 15 other children and their parents. The children sat on small carpet squares and listened to a story about a Japanese cat read by student docents.  They then got to look at the wasi sabi ceramic dishes on display and decorate their own paper versions.  Once they were done, we were free to explore the museum.

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We didn’t make it through all of the museum before my kids were hungry and a little restless, but they particularly enjoyed the African masks, the Samurai warrior attire, and the temporary exhibit of Islamic architecture.  I think with small kids doing the museum in small doses is a good method, and because the cost is free with a suggested donation, going back again and again is possible on any budget.

Still Life with Apples (Nature Morte aux Pommes)
Image via UMMA
Esther before Ahasuerus
image via UMMA
Christ Healing a Deaf-Mute
image via UMMA
Main Street-Saratoga Springs, New York
image via UMMA
 
One thing I wish the museum had was a scavenger hunt for the children to complete in the museum. We have done this at other museums and it helps the children stay focused and interested for extended periods of time and notice things they might usually skip over. 

If you go. 

Don’t pass up the outdoor portion of the museum. We loved eating a snack and walking around the seven large sculptures displayed around the museum. 

No food or drink allowed in the museum.

No flash photography inside the museum, though some galleries allow photos without flash. 

Parking is available in garages on Maynard and South Forest or you can try your luck at metered parking adjacent to the museum. 
 

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