The modern art exhibits at the Hirshhorn are often interactive, family-friendly, and appealing to children making it a great stop for families who usually shy away from art museums or don’t think their children will appreciate art made with something other than finger-paint.
The Hirshhorn is currently showcasing works by Yoko Ono and Ai Weiwei made out of many children’s favorite toys – Legos. Two exhibits in particular are a summer must-dos for families. First, spanning the length of the Hirshhorn lobby is Ono’s My Mommy is Beautiful exhibit. A table with paper is set-up where visitors write a favorite memory about their mother, something special they want to share about their mother, or really anything at all then tape it to a huge wall. Visitors can also bring photos of their mothers to add to the wall. For my family, it was nice to share memories I had with my own mother as well as hear what my children love about me. It was also fun reading what other visitors had left.
Another fun exhibit is Ono’s Wish Tree. The tree is celebrating ten years at the Hirshhorn and lives outside in the museum in the sculpture garden directly across the street from the museum building. Tags are provided for visitors to write down their wishes and leave on the tree. Here again it was really nice to discuss wishes with my children. While anything goes, we focused on wishes that did not involve material goods. With both exhibits, if your child is too young to write they can draw a picture or dictate what they would like to write to you.
Another good exhibit for kids is Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn. While the political aspect may be over the heads of younger children, any child who has ever played with Legos will appreciate seeing what can be done with this toy with some planning. Children from about six and up may like watching a video where the artist explains his thoughts and process of creating portraits out of Legos. Weiwei’s exhibit will be on display through January 1, 2018.
While at the Hirshhorn, take some time to wander around the other exhibits and see if there is anything your child enjoys! Also, if you need a break, the Hirshhorn now has a pop-up café with coffee, treats, and push-pops in the courtyard that is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Other things to know about the Hirshhorn:
- Admission is free and no tickets are needed for any exhibits.
- The museum is stroller-friendly. You will need to look for ramps going into the garden where the Wish Tree is located but the tree is also accessible by stroller.
- There is limited two-hour street parking around the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The closest metro is L’Enfant Plaza. The Circulator also stops near the museum.
Photos courtesy of Jamie Davis Smith.