Tester’s Take: My son’s favorite hobby this past month has been gazing at everything and anything. His eye is drawn to lights/shadows (he LOVES lamps), high contrast images (black and white photos are beyond cool), and bold, colorful images (like the Dr. Suess Lorax trees in his nursery). When I read that the Toledo Museum of Art was offering baby tours that focused on these very qualities, we immediately added the date to our calendars.
Goal: Nurturing visual literacy and language development by exposing babies to colorful artwork with high contrast.
Age range: 0-18 months
Cost: Free ($5 parking for non-members)
Duration: 30 minutes
Time: 3:30pm or 6pm (times alternate each month).
Frequency: Once a month on Fridays (around mid-month); see website for exact dates, www.toledomuseum.org.
Stroller/wheelchair accessible: Yes (although strollers are discouraged).
Wish I had known: I wore my son in a child carrier, and I would definitely suggest that for all parents. It allowed Dexter to view the artwork and allowed me to be “hands-free.” Just wear layers; I was sweating by the end of the tour. We also brought our stroller, and although no one reprimanded us, I later read online that strollers are not permitted. It was a nuisance anyway and I wouldn’t bring it again.
Additional benefits: A free museum tour (docent included), focusing on different artwork with each tour. It’s also fun to see which piece your baby prefers (Dex favored Frank Stella’s “Lac Laronge IV”).
What It’s Like: I was impressed with the turnout: approximately 20 babies were present for the tour (so almost 40 adults and 20 babies!). Dr. Kathy Danko-McGhee, who has her PhD in art education and pioneered this revolutionary program, described the benefits of fostering infant visual literacy at the start of the tour. The docent then explained the various works of art, and participants were given ample time to explore and to explain the artwork in simple terms to their babies.
Toledo Museum of Art Family Center, 2445 Monroe St., Toledo. 419-255-8000. www.toledomuseum.org/learn/babytours.