Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Munchkin Factor

So a few weeks ago I wanted to go to the Getty Villa so I got 4 tickets and then decided who I wanted to take with me.

I decided that I would take one of my best friend's daughters and my other friend and her daughter and try the museum-with-the-kid thing. I hadn't ever really done it. It was my first time. Usually I was the kid at the museum trying to keep up with my mother.

But let me tell you - I have been to a good many museums in my modest years but taking those two kids into Ancient Rome and getting to do the kid's experience thing was one of the best times I have ever had any place anywhere.

The Getty just rocks the mic in the first place. Its gorgeous, its in Malibu (so the drive is breathtaking) and its quiet and quality. They had an entire corner of the museum designed (with the the ridiculously cushy Getty budget) totally for an interactive educational experience to help the kids understand and bond with all of the artifacts and the culture of Classical Greece and Rome. Complete with copies of urns and jars that they could draw on with dry erase markers and they had artifacts in cases right next to the copies that the kids were working on. They had this mini amphitheater kind of thing that the kids could play act in with foam props. They even had all these color coded treasure maps for the kids to guide them around the museum and gardens giving them pictures of things to look for and questions to ask and activities about the artifacts. We got to follow the very excited munchkins in and out of rooms about the Trojan War and urns about Odysseus and Statues of Hercules and counted crustaceans on formerly sunken odes to Zeus. Pretty soon when we passed the gift shop the girls were beseeching me to get them the book about "Odysseus and the giant sheep and the snake monster". If that wasn't a bright shining moment in my day

then we got to sit in the central garden


Now, I have to say - I'm not exactly a craft junkie. In fact there are a great many things that I would probably choose to do than crafts (like washing dishes or picking my nails) but it felt like it might be fun and I was right. We got to make our own special version of a Roman medallion - and you know what? It was super fun. A Malibu breeze, a lovely scent filled garden, the ear massage of moving water, happy chatter and a chance to play with clay, markers, and sparklies all at the same time and ALL at the same place? Few things compare.

By the end:
The kids were pining for books.
We all got some sunshine and exercise.
I got to have a sword fight with a foam sword complete with helmet.
I got to peal glue off of my hands
I saw beautiful things and got to tell fun stories that I love
We got priority viewing in the museum (because of the kids - its like this unwritten rule)
I felt like a very good auntie AND I had the time of my life

It was magic - I'm telling you -going somewhere? Borrow a kid.

Because, as I concluded later, when you approach something totally familiar with a child you get to see it again for the first time. You get to help someone dissect it and get excited about the parts as well as the whole. You have licence to wonder about things again, wonder like a child might. And that, even compared to the Malibu sky, alabaster marble, and Keats' urn, was the most beautiful part of the day.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

SOOOOO jealous that you got to go to the Getty Villa. I never got tickets before moving far far away to the frozen tundra. Hope you are doing well.
Fun to run into your blog!