Days boasting wintry or summery extremes are my favorite ones to go museum hopping. Inside the climate-controlled walls of the museum, I can last for hours when I might otherwise succumb to frost-bite or heat exhaustion or cabin fever. And watching the rain stream off the glass window at the Temple of Dendur yesterday, I was convinced we’d found the coziest spot in the city.
This past weekend, we did something that we don’t do nearly enough and made it a two-musuem weekend. On Saturday, we took advantage of a Christmas present from my mom and dad and made our way to the Matisse Cut-Outs at MoMA. And on Sunday we headed to the Met to see Madame Cézanne, Death Becomes Her, and to sneak a peek at the new Cubism exhibit. All Junebug approved. (Well, except for that last one, which did require a race-through and lots of lullaby humming.)
A few tips for wintery museum hopping:
1. Choose an exhibit or two. James and I used to do marathon museum visits, but with Junebug in tow, we’ve found that it’s more pleasant for everyone if we set our sights just a little bit more modestly and plan to really enjoy one or two exhibits instead of trying to see everything.
2. Bring your baby. The only caveat is that museum goers of grandparent age will be so distracted by the baby that they might very well wander from gallery to gallery missing all of the art and none of the gummy-smiled drool. If you go to two museums in as many days, you might find that you’re visiting with the same crew of delighted grandparents and everyone involved might just about faint from happiness.
3. Keep up the blood sugar. At the risk of sounding like a petulant 10-year-old, I’ll admit that I can get a little cranky when my blood sugar dips, so I like to plan museum trips for the hours right after lunch, and then to finish them off with a big slice of cake, or a sugary cappucino. Relatedly: Sneak into a quiet gallery with a bench for a little milk break. No one will be the wiser, except for the baby who will be 10,000 times more delightful all milked up.
If you’re worried that you won’t be able to last long at a museum with a baby, or, you know, with low blood sugar, here’s a partial list of museums in New York that offer reduced or free admission. Afterall, an hour at a museum on a wintry day is an hour spent out of the house, which is the point.
The Met – $25 suggested donation
MoMA – Free: Fridays, 4 pm – 8 pm
The American Museum of Natural History – $22 suggested donation
Cooper-Hewitt – Pay-What-You-Wish: Saturdays, 6 pm – 9 pm
The New Museum – Pay-What-You-Wish: Thursdays, 7 pm – 9 pm
The Guggenheim – Pay-What-You-Wish: Saturdays, 5:45 pm – 7:45 pm
More posts on shaking the wintertime blues, HERE.
Many years ago now – 'though it seems like just last month 🙂 – my husband & I spent a glorious week exploring everything the Smithsonian had to offer, all the museums, all the exhibits, the works, with a baby & toddler in tow. We took lots of breaks, enjoyed lunch each day in the members' dining room, let Aaron run on the Mall, and rode the Metro into the city & back from our campground out in the back reaches of Anne Arundel County. Paul delighted in pulling his socks off and distributing them to his adoring public, who all cootchy-cooed at him. I agree: take the baby! As long as everyone is rested and fed, it should be wonderful.
Beautiful idea, Erin. A tip we had from a friend before getting married was to take in the sites that are at our fingertips because so often we miss them for the larger trips. We're hoping to go to the ROM in Toronto sometime soon! Say hello to New York for me. xo
Such a great idea for a chilly winter day! I haven't been to the MOMA in a really long time and I definitely want to go back the first chance I get.
I did get to go to the Met when I visited New York last summer, and it was beautiful; if I ever visit New York again (and I hope that I will soon), I'll be sure to visit more museums on your list.
One of the things I miss about living so close to the city is all the museums that New York has to offer. Los Angeles's museums just aren't the same. I like that you take your little one to museums. My son is now three but I loved wearing him as I'd wonder through LACMA. I feel they're never too young to immerse them in culture 🙂
I am a museum educator and, in my free time, visit other museums 🙂 Aside from time in utero, my son had been to two art gallery openings and a museum by the time he was one month old. He's now almost 6 and it comes naturally to him. As any museum professional will tell you, it's usually adults who misbehave 😉 Glad you see the value of museums as learning environments and just good fun!
I was fortunate enough to spend an entire day in both The Met and MoMA when I was in NY. I got student admission to each, Which was well worth it. I actually need to go back to the Met as I only managed to see half of it!
Thank you very much for these tips!!!
My boyfriend and I are planning a vacation in New York, and these informations are really useful!
Great spots to check out. Thanks for the list. Sometimes it feels like the tickets are too expensive if just going for a specific exhibit or two, but now knowing the days we can get in with a lower admission makes it a little more appealing to go.
Amazing photos as always!
This is what I miss most about the city, having access to all those museums! We have a few good museums where I live in Connecticut but of course, it's not the same. 🙂 Good for you for taking Junebug. I remember taking my niece, three years old at the time, to the Met when there was a Sol LeWitt on the roof. I have a picture of her hugging the sculpture, right before a security guard came over and scolded her. LOL. If you want to venture further afield, take Junebug to MassMoCA in North Adams. You won't be sorry!
Never stop being curious. I also recommend the library. The reference section at my local library is actually my favorite with a partner – never crowded so a whispered conversation disturbs no one. I am always surprised at what I find. I love looking at local history – it makes me feel connected to the city.
Comments are moderated.