What is wilson silverleaf? We're organitarians; it's best for our bodies and the planet. We cloth diapered Nina for the same reason. We drive a hybrid car & wish we could afford solar panels on our house. I'm a strong advocate for homebirth, full-time mom, & also a movie junkie. We don't have a tv though; we watch dvds on our computer. We love contradancing. I garden & knit; Larry's a puzzle lover & plays fantasy football.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

no art for you, little girl

So we finally got out of the apartment today (Monday and Tuesday were stay at home days for us). Our plan was to go to the National Gallery of Art; we love looking at art and talking about it together. I usually put Nina in the Ergo to do this because otherwise she really can't see the art as it's usually hung at adult height. We went through the Small French Paintings gallery and enjoyed it very much, chatting quietly about the paintings and talking about how you have to practice a lot to be able to paint that well. Nina said that in this painting the woman looks like she is in the ocean. I think she looks remarkably like Anne Hathaway.

With that positive experience under our belts, we proceeded to walk across ground floor of the building to see more, only to be accosted by two of the security people barking at me that I couldn't have Nina in a backpack in the museum. Actually, I had been told that by someone and had completely spaced it but seriously, it's not like I was trying to get away with anything, they could have spoken to me nicely. In fact, every single interaction between the security people and museum guests was like that--a barked command to stop doing something or that xyz is not allowed. The last time I heard it, a security person said rudely to a young girl "miss, you can't lean on the wall." And then proceeded two minutes later to lean on the wall herself.

So apparently fine art is not for little kids (I had thought that it was a good idea to expose young children to art). I suspect that there has been a problem in the past with someone wearing a backpack, forgetting, that there is extra bulk behind them, and backing into artwork. But I think that they'd be better served by just asking people (nicely, I would hope) to be mindful of where their bodies are. But we are a nation that overreacts by making ridiculous rules to compensate for a handful of people who aren't mindful, it's sad. So much could be accomplished if parents would just teach their children to be thoughtful of other people. It always shocks me how many adults will wait for an elevator and stand right in front of the doors, making it impossible for people to get out of the elevator. Anyway, I hope that rant is over. Suffice it to say that I am dismayed at how un-child friendly the National Gallery of Art is to children. No wonder arts funding has dropped in this country, since it's not made a priority to make it accessible to children.

Of course we went to the Museum of the American Indian for lunch...yum. And then saw some of the exhibits. The beadwork exhibit was really fun for Nina because there was lots to see and do. To the right of this picture there were drawers that had more specimens and lots of beads in lighted drawers that Nina had fun opening and looking in. And there were touch screens with information about the specimens that Nina had a lot of fun looking at. Sorry about the blurry pic, I was going without a flash.


Elaine said...

That's really lame. A little kindness goes a long way.

angela said...

We had a similar experience in April at this same museum and my girls are much bigger. I felt like security followed us and made comments about what we shouldn't be doing. Maybe it is just security in art museums. I took the girls to the High in Atlanta and after we had been there maybe an hour someone came up and snapped at them that they needed to put their backpacks on their fronts? This was the first time anyone had mentioned it, but they made them feel like they had done something terrible.

Dawn said...

They don't want people wearing backpacks because they tend to knock into art if people who wear them aren't careful when they turn around. I get this argument.

However, when I was at National Gallery last month, I thought this rule shouldn't apply to baby backpacks and explained it matter-of-factly to the guard: If I was so unaware as to turn around quickly and whack my daughter's head into the art, I'd have a much more important concern than the art!

Part of wearing your baby on your back is being aware of your back and where you and your baby are in space. So I politely told the guard I would not be removing my child, and continued on through the exhibit. If you're nice, polite and firm, there is little they can do.