You See Art, I See Dinasaurs

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Like the Grinch experiencing the goodness of Whoville, my heart grew when I eyed the two children sitting patiently with their father as they viewed the 15th century Adoration of the Magi in Washington’s National Gallery, and I felt a stab of admiration for a dad who introduces his kids to the vast world of art and culture. It brought back sweet memories of hauling our young ones through the many corridors of the D.C. Smithsonian Museums and Art Galleries until they gravitated to what was to them (and often times me) the more exciting avenues of the National Museum of Natural History. Nothing beats the lifelike giant whale suspended from the ceiling of the ocean room, the impossibly large Hope Diamond, or the eight ton African elephant living large on its jungle setting in the rotunda. And the dinosaurs!  With so many exciting options to choose from, this father earned extra points for persuading his two children to actually SIT for a few minutes and contemplate the Renaissance Masterpiece before them, even if there might have been a secretive thought or two about where that giant Tyrannosaurus Rex might be hiding and what route would get them to the dinosaur wing the fastest.

49 comments

  • I always found visiting the museum the most fun. The different exhibits. But introducing it all to your kids, I think I had more fun.

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    • Seeing everything again through their fresh young eyes is one of the best parts of having kids. Makes up for the red crayon on the wall…and don’t get me started about the lipstick.

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  • I wish I could post a photo in my reply. I have one of two parents kneeling on the ground to be on the same level as their two small children as they all discuss a very abstract painting in the Pompidou Centre in Paris. I was very much moved by this – same as you – seeing parents introducing young children to art. I see this practice a lot overseas but alas, when I go into galleries at home (Western Australia), never is a child to be seen. I remember visiting the National Gallery of Art in New Zealand when I was a child. In my case I loved it but my mother, who wasn’t artistic, was quite bored. Yet she still took me which is saying something.

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    • Your comment made my day! That you were moved in much the same way I was by this scene is very meaningful. I’m glad the memory of your Mother bringing you to the New Zealand National Gallery made an impact on you – maybe she wasn’t as bored as you think. Thank you so much for stopping by and for sharing your thoughts. Take care!

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          • Julie, I don’t mind at all, in fact I’m happy that you made the connection. I visited your beautiful blog, and enjoyed returning to Paris. I loved all of your pictures, and was enthralled by your capture of of the family studying the abstract painting. As another commenter noted, it’s nice to see people still for a few minutes. Thanks again, I’ve enjoyed talking with you!

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          • I’m delighted that you looked, Elisa. I think we must have in-common thoughts. Connecting with you this past 24 hours has made me very happy.

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    • Hey, back at you, Arindam! How are you? I hope your New Year has gotten off to a great start and that it continues to be filled with thoughtful and creative energy. It’s nice to see your face again!
      Take care,
      Elisa

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  • It was just last week when we saw the second part. Well, I am happy that You also visit museums! What great experiences man can find in them! Sometimes small museums serve things which are available in other countries. In Finland we have International Coffee Cup Museum having 2000 coffee cups from 80 countries.

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    • Ha! I’d love to visit the museum of 2000 coffee cups. Drinking coffee has become such an interesting part of our culture, and I’ve read the Finland is home to many coffee drinkers. Thank you for stopping by, and happy new year!!

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  • when I saw the title I thought you had been to the movies… but Kudos to that gentleman… it is just such a thing that could turn those kids into future artists…. or not…

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  • Elisa, what a fabulous post! My parents took us to DC often to visit the museums when we were younger, and I remember just being in awe of the National Gallery. That’s when I realized I wanted to be involved in the world of architecture.

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  • It’s a touching image with subtle lighting. I love the idea that the man and the children are simply sitting there. We don’t sit to contemplate anything anymore, I think. It’s a beautiful image and a thoughtful narrative, Elisa.

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    • It’s ironic because my husband and I were doing anything but simply sitting, running off to see as much as we could in an afternoon. I saw this scene as I passed by the doorway and I immediately stopped and enjoyed the moment. I wish I had taken their email address so I could send them my view of their sweet, completive family. Lessons learned along the way, George!

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    • Ha, I think he’s saying we’ll go to the gift shop after this, I promise…
      Actually, I wonder why he chose this painting, or if it was one of many. It must have had a significance that only he would know, I guess. It is a wonderful Renaissance piece, evidently two artists painted it, which is unusual.

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  • Elisa, this is so beautiful.. Took me back to my days with my grandfather at the National Gallery and the Tate…
    I thought you must have stopped blogging … but you must have slopped off my list….must now get you back on…

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    • Hi Valerie, yes it’s so nice to see parents and Grandparents spreading the joy of art to their wee ones, isn’t it. I did switch my blog name and URL, but thought most of my followers were transferred by wordpress. I can see where there would be some confusion, and I’m so glad you tracked me down!
      Take care,
      Elisa

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  • Oh, how wonderful it is to see parents who encourage a love of art and culture in their children. I was thinking along similar lines yesterday, as I walked around one of our local nature reserves, and saw little tots getting so excited when their dad pointed out various birds and turtles. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Madhu. I’m glad I stopped and aimed my iPhone, I almost kept walking. The course of history would have been changed forever! 😉

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  • It’s a wonderful thing for children to experience…The museums I visited as a child stayed with me.

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  • And if the dinosaurs and elephants should ever fail to attract just find a 20 foot high working steam engine. Our two youngest grandchildren live in Sheffield and a visit to see this is obligatory every time we go up to see them 🙂

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    • Oh, you are bringing back wonderful memories! It was as if the world stopped turning when our two would see a steam engine, or any other train for that matter!

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