Article Op-Ed

7 Reasons to Visit a Museum with Your Kids

7 Reasons to Visit a Museum with Your Kids

Author Aleena Khan by

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Illustration by Aleena Khan

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During the Thanksgiving holiday, my family and I visited the National Mall in Washington, DC. We explored a few Smithsonian museums, all of which were packed with other Americans on vacation. Despite the crowds, you know what I did not see enough of? Muslim families.

Museums are some of the most important institutions in America. They directly contributed $21 billion to the economy in 2012 alone. They are also some of the most trustworthy sources of information, and many museums offer a number of social services to the local community.

Yet many Americans, including Muslims, do not visit museums with their children. Here are seven reasons why you should put the excuses to bed and check out a museum with your kids:

  1. They are weather independent! Winters can seem very long with ‘nothing to do and nowhere to go.’ Take refuge at your local museum and learn something new.

  2. Museums expect children, and patrons are very welcoming to younger children who have not quite learned how to use an inside voice yet. It’s a great opportunity to teach lessons in a patient environment that encourages learning.

  3. Museums teach cultural diversity and empathy. Your family likely spends time with people who are very similar to you. As a result, children grow up within a very specific social demographic and adopt similar ideals. Museums teach children (and adults!) different perspectives, which can help you understand where other people come from.

  4. Museums force you to spend time with the little humans who need your attention. It’s much harder to get distracted with laundry or incoming texts when you’re both learning something new. Leave all the baggage at home! The trash will eventually get emptied and the ironing will get done another day. Your child will remember these moments and it will have a positive impact on your relationship.

  5. Good, clean fun. Museums are informal education centers. They work hard to make the information engaging. Choose a museum that fits your family. (If you have older children, I HIGHLY recommend the National Center for Civil and Human Rights! It is by far one of the most engaging museums today).

  6. Ignite passions. If your children hold a particular interest, find a museum that will excite them. Do they love outer space? You’re doing them a disservice if they have yet to see the planetarium yet. Dinosaurs? Books? Art? There’s a museum out there for them.

  7. Museums make your smarter. And not just in a there-are-more-facts-in-you-head kind of way. The reports that kids who visit art museums have stronger critical thinking skills, display higher levels of social tolerance, and exhibit greater historical empathy.

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