Monday, November 16, 2009

A Boy, a Saturday and Philbrook Museum

Philbrook Museum Gardens

This weekend my little family took advantage of Second Saturday at Philbook Museum of Art, the day when admission is free and the museum is overflowing with activities for families and children.

It was our son's second time to Philbrook and, as you can tell in the photo above, he didn't quite know what to make of it all - at least, not at first.

First he wanted loose in a room full of African artifacts that just happened to be at his eye level and within his reach.

Yeah, right - like that was gonna happen.

Then he wanted to converse with the large dog statues on the third floor landing of the grand staircase in, of course, his "outside voice." After that, he wanted to know what was up with this art piece:

Philbrook Museum

The piece in the corner audibly whines and frets and worries. More than anything, our child, ever the compassionate and sympathetic pisces that he is, wanted to console it: "Okay? Okay? OKAY??"

How does one explain art to a 20-month-old? Especially when he won't sit still long enough to let his parents look at a piece of it for longer than 30 seconds, let alone learn what it's all about? Someone tell me. I'm all ears.

Then, kiddo wanted to go outside.

Philbrook Museum Gardens

Then the real fun began.

This innocent grin comes from the child who, on his first trip to Philbrook Museum, casually jumped in the pond in the south garden as if he'd done it every day of his life. Having gotten that out of the way our first time around, what could possibly go wrong?

Philbrook Museum Gardens

Yes, that dip in the fountain late last summer put luck on our side.

Philbrook Museum Gardens

Look! It's the quintessential Philbrook shot. It was like taking my own photo of the Alamo or the Grand Canyon or...

A hippo made of old car bumpers?

Philbrook Museum Gardens

Sure! Why not? Anything goes on Second Saturday at Philbrook.

Philbrook Museum Gardens

Philbrook Museum Gardens

All this beauty around all the kid wants to do is play with garden pebbles. Oy.

Oh, well. It's better than a fascination with water resulting in my having to carry a dripping toddler from the south pond to the north parking lot because I didn't bring a diaper bag packed with a change of clothes because never in my wildest dreams did I think my child would find his way into an investigation of a foot-deep garden pond.

Never in my wildest.

Philbrook Museum Gardens

Ah. Some real, belly-jiggling, leaf-flying fun is taking place here.

Philbrook Museum Gardens

Did you hear him say, "Okay?" in there? At about 0:16? That's what he was asking at volume level 10 the woeful piece of art inside the museum - the crowded, echoey museum.

Everyone thought it was cute. That curly blond hair is always good for a free pass.

Believe it or not, we did more than do our best to destroy the manicured gardens on our trip to Philbrook. To see more, visit my photostream of Flickr.

While we didn't partake in any of the organized Second Saturday activities, I was impressed with the range of goings on. We saw families touring the museum, kids engrossed in scavenger hunts and making their own works of art in the education center, and even a short film was playing in the conference room.

Plus, for kids older than three (shucks for us - for now, at least) is the My Museum program. Every child who signs up is outfitted with a carry-away case stocked with some starter art supplies. For every Second Saturday the child finds his or her way to Philbrook, he or she is issued another goody for the art case. This week it was colored pencils. Next week, who knows? It could be some yummy glue.

Philbrook Museum Gardens

Which explains why we were gently persuaded by the museum volunteers to wait another year to sign up for the My Museum program. They're infinitely wise, those museum volunteers.

Second Saturday is now at the top of my list of things to recommend to moms and dads who come to me asking what they can do to get their kids out on the town without taking them to the mall or to the park for the 564th time. It's a mutually beneficial way to enjoy the museum, to allow the kids to interact with some great works of art, other kids and to express their own creativity and to give Mom and Dad what I would guess is a sorely needed dose of high culture.

Plus, you can't beat free admission.

Philbrook Museum Gardens

Now, tell me: What do you love best about this 1920s oil boom relic-cum-world-class art museum?


Jill of All Trades said...

Philbrook was always my girls favorite place to go and mine too. What fun.

Mom Mayhem says: said...

Ahh Philbrook-There's so much to love!
I find it fascinating that there's the floor that if I remember right can be a light up dance floor-hiding under a rug. I love the gardens,the art,the architecture,most of the features of the estate -Basically I wouldn't mind if I had a house like that ;) But,I really do love it -haven't been in awhile though -I think the last time we went was when the stars were aligned and my birthday and the free Sat. was the same day -So we went! -It was MY birthday afterall =D

Anonymous said...

The rug is gone and the floor is lit red for the holidays, with a beautiful tree in the middle of it.

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