Who am I not to indulge such an enthusiastic request to see an art museum? I have no idea what's gotten into Julian, but he really really wanted to see an art museum. So, we did that!
I took all three to downtown San Jose to see the art museum downtown. It was a really nice day, perfect for a trip to the city. Too bad we were just going to San Jose. It just isn't a real city. But it did the job for today, and the kids loved this rare experience of actually walking along city blocks, with big buildings and traffic and a surprising amount of bustle for a Sunday.
Julian was SO happy to see the sign. "ART MUSEUM! ART MUSEUM!" he exclaimed excitedly.
Gabriel wasn't excited about this idea at all, and I had to practically drag him into the car. But, he settled down when we talked in the car on the way there about what art was -- not just paintings, although paintings are lovely too. He was very surprised to hear that music and writing -- his and my preferred artforms -- are art too, and that art is a big part of engineering, such as with architecture.
Besides, an art museum in the heart of Silicon Valley will never be just paintings, though that's what we were after. This museum isn't huge, and that was fine. We went to a Visual Arts display that had a variety of things -- sculptures, a house built out of blue bottles, woodcut ink prints, photographs, paintings -- even a digital image of a tree blowing in the wind projected on the wall. Another area had a vintage pinball machine, which the boys loved.
Gabriel was really excited when he discovered that an art piece of a blindfolded woman was made of folded-up pieces of cotton, and I talked to them about how it just looks like a bunch of fabric rectangles up close, but standing at a distance, the actual image comes out. I hoped they didn't ask me anything beyond that, because that was the full extent of my art knowledge!
No photography allowed, so I didn't get any photos of the kids looking excitedly at the displays. Not that I had a lot of time anyway -- it was a lot of work making sure they didn't touch anything, even the walls. They're used to hands-on types of museums; an art museum's basic protocol is foreign to them. Fortunately, Katrina stayed in the stroller most of the time, and I knew it was time to go when she insisted on pushing the stroller through the Ansel Adams exhibit, and it took all my attention to make sure she didn't run into any walls.
It's not a large museum, and I had a goal of about an hour anyway, and that was perfect. Katrina was starting to get antsy (though overall she loved looking at everything), and there's only so much not-touching kids can take. They had fun playing on the steps outside for a few minutes, right next to where the outdoor circular ice rink will be set up in a few weeks.
This was a perfect outing for us -- a great day for it, something we could do at any time of the day, not too long, not crowded, and didn't take over the day. I could just hear their synapses snapping as they all sucked in the new sights and concepts, and we talked about how things looked, how they were made, and what we saw in them. And it was a lot of fun. Definitely earned my Good Mom badge for the day.