May is Museum Month, so in the next few weeks I want to share some museum ideas and activities with you! We have so many terrific museums of all kinds in our state, so each week I'll focus on a specific type of museum and share some fun activities you can do at the different venues.
When I hear the word museum, I typically think of art museums first, so that's where we'll start. Oklahoma has some amazing art museums and many of them offer programming planned specifically for homeschoolers.
Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OKC) If you haven't been downtown to the OKCMOA, what are you waiting for?! This is wonderful museum is close by and it's not huge, so it's a good place to start if your kids aren't used to visiting museums. If you have any kids who think art is boring, the large Chihuly collection will change their minds in an instant! There are also some great hands-on pieces that will draw kids in. The museum offers homeschool classes in one-time and several session formats. We're going to attend our first one this month and I am very excited! Before you visit, check out MetroFamiy's Field Guide to make the most of your visit, and when you come home, try making your own Chihuly-inspired pieces!
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art (Norman) The next time you're in Norman, check out the free Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art located on the north side of the OU campus. It's a small museum, but it is home to pieces by world-famous artists, including Vincent Van Gogh! If you have young children, be sure to check out their free Art Adventures classes for little ones and their Family Days are fun for the everyone!
Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art (Shawnee) We visited the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art (located on the campus of St. Gregory's University in Shawnee) for the first time last year and really enjoyed it. The museum is home to many interesting and unique art and artifacts, including a mummy! Be sure to look at their education page for guides you can download, events to attend and related projects to try at home.
Philbrook Museum of Art (Tulsa) If you're planning a day trip to Tulsa, be sure to check out Philbrook, which, in addition to an amazing art collection, also is home to some of the most beautiful gardens around. Admission is free for everyone on the second Saturday of each month and there are fun art activities and scavenger hunts, too!
Gilcrease Museum (Tulsa) Gilcrease is another place not to miss if you're visiting Tulsa! It's free the first Tuesday of every month and has many resources and programs geared toward families and children. Especially if you have younger children, Gilcrease is a must-visit museum.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, AR) Well, Crystal Bridges isn't actually in Oklahoma, but it's well worth the drive to Northwest Arkansas to see this amazing collection of American artwork. It's a large museum, so if you have young ones they may not be up to touring every gallery, but there are many programs geared toward families as well as a wonderful children's room. If you visit while the weather is nice, you can walk the trails surrounding the museum, and this summer a new children's museum, The Scott Family Amazeum, is scheduled to open nearby. (Check out this Exploring Oklahoma article for more details on Crystal Bridges!)
I know some people think that in a smaller state like Oklahoma there are not many opportunities to see great art, but that's clearly not true. Start planning now to visit some of these wonderful art museums with your family!