Any excuse is a good excuse to venture to Baltimore, especially if you appreciate art. I’ve taken my family to the Baltimore Museum of Art and the American Visionary Art Museum. This time, I had an excuse to visit the Walters Art Museum while doing a school project on Egyptian art. Part of the trade-off was telling my daughter that the Walters Art Museum had a drop-in art studio. Sold!
Activities at the Baltimore Museum of Art
Free, drop-in art activities are held every Saturday and Sunday and no registration is required. The times change depending on the time of year, but for the fall and winter, the schedule is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Located on the lower level of the museum, each week’s activity is based around a monthly theme. During our visit, we made precious fibulae, which resembles decorative icons from the Byzantine collection.
This is a family experience where my husband, daughter and I helped each other to create three signature pieces of precious fibulae. We adorned a modeling clay swan, dragon and caterpillar with different colors, gemstones and stickers. The project took no more than 30 minutes, but it was great to spend time together. While my daughter and I enjoy art, clearly my husband has more talent!
The themes for the rest of the year for drop-in art are: Up the Nile for October, Landscapes in November and Architecture in December. During the holidays, there are additional days at the drop-in art studio.
Family Experience at the Museum
Unbeknownst to us, the studio is part a fabulous little Family Art Center. The delightful area includes a small play castle, puppets, puzzles, games and drawers stocked with wooden blocks, magnatiles, kaleidoscopes and cars. There is a reading corner filled with books on monthly themes and a cozy area for parents to read to their little ones.
Older children will enjoy the Collector’s Cabinet with hands-on artifacts such as Egyptian sacred jars, preserved insects and a knight’s armor. Collaboration Station is an area where the inspiration occurs. The table was filled with pipe cleaners and the theme was Twisted Lines, showcasing how artists use different kinds of lines in their work. You have the option of taking your work with you or adding it to the collaboration wall.
Exhibits at The Baltimore Museum of Art
We went in search of the precious fibulae exhibit in the Byzantine art gallery, but came up empty handed. However, I was glad to see that children’s books are strategically put throughout the galleries. The lobby has art carts available on the weekends, which contain discovery quilts, books, costumes, fun packs and sensory fun packs for families. Children can sign up for a free Waltee Club card at an art cart. Stop by the admission desk to check out family audio guides. My daughter wasn’t interested when I told her that the Ancient World exhibits reminded me of the mummy or that a computer station could teach her about the process of mummification. Enter the family guide, a great packet that got her interested in the subject of Egyptian art. There are also family guides outside the Palazzao, Ancient Greece and Medieval Art collections.
Plan Your Visit
Reservations are made available at 10 a.m. on the first Monday of every month for Members and on the first Tuesday at 10 a.m. for all guests. There is metered street parking outside the museum and a parking lot at Central and Cathedral Streets. Nearby is a quaint little park with a lion sculpture and a fountain where we saw toddler playing in the water.
The museum café has vending machines stocked with healthy snacks and beverages. The gift shop has a wonderful, albeit expensive array of items for children including eeboo art supplies, books on explaining art to children, jazz music for babies and Waltee, the Egyptian mascot stuffed animal.
On the way out, stop by the lobby, where, for 52 cents, you can have a souvenir penny made. For just $1, my daughter loved that she had her name written in Egyptian hieroglyphics. We spent two hours at the museum, but unfortunately, didn’t have enough time to see more.
Photos by Baltimore Museum of Art website.