My children, like most kids their age, love video games and youtube. As much as they love to read, they prefer to do or watch. Tis the generation.
Some museums keep this generation in mind as they have exhibits that cater to their preferences. The kids have something to push, a button to turn, a quiz to take. The children get to do something with their hands, and they’re content.
This past week my family and I went to Washington, DC. Ms. MMK loves DC and even considered moving there during her single days. I also enjoy DC. I’m a city person, and I appreciate what it has to offer.
We’ve talked about taking the children there for a while and had last summer targeted as the right time. For whatever reason – I don’t remember – it didn’t work out. So, this summer it was a priority.
BR is 12-years-old. He sometimes flips through the 1970’s era World Atlas that my aunt gave us. For fun.
SJ has become interested in history – especially World War II – through reading the I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis. The series focuses on certain challenging times in history through the eyes of a boy who lived through it.
So, Mrs. MMK and I thought the boys would find the museums interesting. Now, we knew they would get antsy and not have the same patience as us. Yet, they are curious and enjoy learning, so…
And we were right, they both enjoyed the museums and grew antsy.
The museums we visited in Washington – The National Archives, Air and Space Museum, Natural History Museum, American History Museum, The National Art Gallery, and Ford’s Theater – were not hands on at all. Okay, that’s an exaggeration but only slightly.
Despite the few hands-on displays at the museums, BR and SJ did find things they enjoyed.
BR loved the display in The National Art Gallery on Babe Ruth (the reason it was on our list). He enjoyed listening to the stories of medal of honor winners in The National Archives. He was fascinated by the fish in the Natural History Museum.
SJ loved looking at the planes from World War II in the Air and Space Museum. He appreciated the Ranger talk in Ford’s Theater. He had fun going through the history of motion display in the American History Museum (he was so disappointed that the Star Wars memorabilia was on loan).
The Smithsonian is truly a national treasure. There is so much to see and learn by going there. The fact that they are all well maintained and free is a great benefit. However, they are not hands-on, and children, particularly in this generation, will grow bored after a while. Trust me.
That’s okay. Children are curious, and they will find things that they enjoy.
Like all family trips, our time in Washington had its ups and downs. The children bickered, got on each other’s nerves, and got bored on occasion. They also laughed together, asked interesting questions, and learned.
I’ll take that trade-off. Go DC!