by Chris O'Connor
Source: Island Parent Magazine
Original Article: Click Here
Originally Published: March 2013
I remember way back, when I was teeny, my parents would take me to my hometown museum, the Philadelphia Art Museum. It was limitless. It was so big and I was so small, I felt like I never saw it all. I craved more. So years later, here I am as a museum educator, walking through the galleries at the Royal BC Museum, day after day, still feeling that I’m never able to see it all. And that’s a good thing. I see what I can and I’m constantly surprised, discovering, and in wonder about the sounds in the forest, the mysteries of the passing train, and the brilliance of the carvers that speak through masks and totem poles.
In Victoria, we are fortunate to have lots of cultural opportunities like these and more. And kid culture, in particular, has a decidedly Sunday feel these days. At the Royal BC Museum, we have our Wonder Sunday program on the last Sunday of each month. The simple premise for Wonder Sunday is this: what do museum staff, volunteers, and visitors wonder about, and how does play and creative expression further our understanding of that thing, that idea, that object?
In building our Sunday program, we were initially inspired by the Family Sunday at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (held on the third Sunday of each month). Tania Muir, the coordinator at the Art Gallery, builds smart and wonderfully imaginative activities that help visitors of all ages understand art just a little bit better.
Our Wonder Sundays began at about the same time as the Maritime Museum of BC launched their Sunday family day. Shalini Kennedy, programs coordinator at the Maritime Museum, has made an important cultural institution even better with a dash of Salty Sundays (on the second Sunday of each month).
How do I know these programs are popular? They are kid tested and approved. My daughter has gone to Wonder Sunday, to the Art Gallery’s Family Sunday and to Salty Sundays at the Maritime Museum, and, months later, she still talks about her experiences. The activities are the hook, but the experiential immersion in art and museum objects is the spin-off benefit.
This March, the Royal BC Museum, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and the Maritime Museum are forming a collective—teaming up to celebrate gallery and museum family days in Victoria with the common theme of movement. Here’s the challenge…can you and your family make it to all three? We hope so. Each institution will offer a button activity to show you took part. Even if you can only make it to one afternoon, wear your button with pride because culture for kids is alive in Victoria and it’s awesome to be a kid (or a kid at heart).
You don’t need to see it all, but we invite you to look, play and have fun!
The month-long Sunday celebrations begin on March 10 at the Maritime Museum of BC. “Moving Day” will encourage families to learn about what life was like for people immigrating to Canada by sea.
On March 17, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria presents “Koshashin.” Photographs in the Koshashin exhibition will inspire visitors to explore the great transition and movement as feudal Japan, during the Edo period, opened up to outside influences and modern ideas.
Rounding out the month on March 31, “Dancing the Wild Life” at the Royal BC Museum brings stunning photographs to life through dance, sound production and art animation in the exhibition Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
For times and more information, please visit Maritime Museum of BC at mmbc.bc.ca, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria at aggv.ca, and Royal BC Museum at web link.
Chris O’Connor is the Family Programmer at the Royal BC Museum.
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