Family Ties

Families at Columbus Museum of Art

When families discover Columbus Museum of Art for the first time, they’re often surprised and delighted.

I met this endearing family during their very first visit to CMA this fall. “We didn’t know the art museum had so many things for families to do!” Grandma exclaimed.

I hear this sentiment often.  To be fair, I get it.  I admit that an art museum is not the first place that comes to mind for family fun.  But Columbus Museum of Art is not your typical art museum.

At CMA, we welcome families.  Yes, even families with children.  In recent years we have made several deliberate changes to provide a more family-friendly experience.  When parents and grandparents are looking for a great place to explore, play, and learn together, they can count on us.

We know that families come in all shapes and sizes with different interests, skills, and needs.  And we recognize there are many things we can do to make families feel more comfortable, valued, and engaged here.  So at CMA we have made thoughtful choices to provide:

  • open-ended, hands-on activities for all ages
  • comfortable places to sit, talk, and play together
  • simple signage and instructions
  • friendly, helpful staff
  • a  new Family Comfort Room, a quiet place to nurse, feed, or change diapers

We believe that, with careful planning and consideration, an art museum can be a perfect place for families to come together to share, imagine, and play.

When I met Grandma, Papa, Joseph and Judah (pictured here) in the Big Idea Gallery last month, they rattled off a list of their adventures – making an airplane with  white LEGOS at the imagine the possibilities space, creating forts and mixed-up animals in the Wonder Room.

Grandma just gathered the family to work on a large puzzle of a painting.  She challenged Judah, her youngest grandson, to find the red pieces.  With determination, Judah scanned the jumble of jigsaw shapes, plucked one out, searched the painting on the wall, and proudly handed it to his grandmother.  “Look Grandma. I found this red one.  It goes there.” He pointed to the exact spot in the painting that matched his piece. Together they made a place for it on the table.

In the meantime, Joseph cozied up to a table nearby pilled with colorful blocks and proceeded to build an intricate tower. Papa bounced back and forth between the two tables, helping out here, dishing out encouragement there.

Perhaps the best part of my job is the chance to meet families like this one, to share in their enthusiasm and glee and to witness their discovery of an art museum that champions families.

Please note: The Wonder Room will be closed for reimagining starting November 4. We’ll be transforming the Wonder Room into a magical forest with woodland creatures. Join now and see it first at a special member preview on December 14.

Visitors Stories and Conversations is a biweekly blog series highlighting the stories behind many of our delightful visitors.