Meet a Museum Family #2

April 30, 2015

Kids in Museums

Two weeks ago I launched a new series here on the blog called ‘Meet a Museum Family’, in which I will be interviewing other museum loving families, and asking them to share their experiences and tips with my readers. I was really delighted that the first interview, with my friend Melanie from Copenhagen, got such a great reception! I hope you enjoy the rest of the series just as much. This week, we talk to Amanda from Australia.

Amanda Kendle and son in Perth

1. Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about yourself and your family?

I’m Amanda Kendle of Not A Ballerina and I’m an absolute travel addict. Born and bred in Western Australia, I ended up living in Japan, Slovakia and Germany before meeting my (German) husband who persuaded me to move back to Perth, Australia. We then had a son who is now five – on the blog, he’s always Mr5.

2. How old was your son when you started taking him to museums, and what was the first museum you remember taking him to?

Good question. I definitely remember taking my son to the local science museum when he was between one and two – they have an annual “Toddlerfest” with lots of exhibits special suited to younger children. It’s chaos, but lots of fun, and it certainly instilled in him a deep love for that particular museum as we still visit regularly. Around the same time, he would have been coming with me to the state museum and state art gallery as well on our trips into the city centre, but at that age he was more interested in the train trip into the city than what I wanted to look at in the museums!

3. Do you remember visiting museums when you were a child? 

Neither of my parents are particularly keen museum-goers and although we did quite a lot of travel when I was young, they didn’t take me into too many museums. I think my main memories of visiting museums when I was young are of school excursions, which were always so exciting. In a city like Perth, especially back in the 1980s, we rarely got the big exhibitions and tours because we were so far from everywhere, but even seeing the stuffed local animals which are still there was an excitement for me.

Revolutions Transport Museum

Revolutions Transport Museum

 

4. Why is it important to you to take your son to museums?

I want my son to know a lot about the world and to have a wide knowledge base for whatever he chooses to do in life. He has a curious set of eclectic interests and these lend themselves to all kinds of museum visits when we travel. For instance, he has had a long fascination with Egyptian mummies, ever since in a harmless picture book about cranes, he saw an Egyptian mummy being lifted up (it was an odd object, but I could tell the writer included it just because it rhymed!). I’m thrilled that he enjoys museums and I want to encourage this love and see where it leads.

5. What’s the last museum you visited as a family and how was it?

My son and I went to a small transport museum just last weekend. As with most great outings, it was completely spontaneous and I hadn’t even known the museum existed until we stumbled upon it. He’s a typical small boy who loves everything with wheels, so he was excited to be able to sit in the driver’s seat of an old bus, and pretend to drive an old Australian Holden car. It was certainly a great museum for kids because only a few exhibits were roped off and many of them were hands-on experiences.

6. What is your son’s favourite museum? 

My son has something of an addiction to our local science and technology museum, Scitech. It’s one of those museums that is very clever at disguising learning as pure fun, and he often asks to go there.

Scitech Museum

Scitech Museum

 

7. Can you share a particularly memorable family museum experience?

Actually, at the moment we are plotting and planning for a week of wonderful family museum experiences in Berlin later this year. My son is so excited at the thought of visiting the Egyptian Museum there and keeps getting out all his Egyptian books to look at. I’m also encouraging him to join in my anticipation about visiting the Currywurst Museum! I mean, how can a kid not love a sausage museum? I’m sure we both will!

8. Everyone knows kids love dinosaurs, mummies, and rockets, but is there a museum you enjoyed visiting, that may be a surprising choice for families?

One of the most fascinating museums I’ve visited is the Arktikum in Rovaniemi, northern Finland. I think because I grew up in a part of the world where it is essentially never, ever cold, and certainly doesn’t snow, then so much of what is on display here was new and fascinating to me. I’m sure my son would enjoy it too, plus I read they now have a theatre projecting the Northern Lights onto the ceiling – I seem to never be able to time my northern Europe visit to see them so this would be a good substitute!

9. Which one museum would you love to visit with your son?

There are so many, but I know my son would pick the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. I’ve been to Egypt pre-kids but didn’t make it to that museum either so I’d be happy to tag along – he would be the one telling me all about the exhibits because he remembers all the facts and figures from his books about ancient Egypt!

Revolutions Transport Museum

Revolutions Transport Museum

 

10. And, finally, do you have any great tips for visiting museums with children?

I’m lucky in that my son is a very keen artist, so I often incorporate that into our museum visits (or any kind of sightseeing and travel in general). He is very happy to sit somewhere and draw something he is looking at, and that means that both he gets something out of the experience, and I have a little more time to read and take in information about the exhibits. Bringing a sketchbook and pencils is something I definitely recommend to anyone with kids who enjoy drawing.


Thank you so much to Amanda for taking the time to answer my questions! If YOU are a museum loving family and would like to take part in the ‘Meet a Museum Family’ interview series, just get in touch! And for other tips about taking children to museums, and recommended museums to visit, check out the ‘Kids in Museums‘ section of my blog. Thanks for reading!


All photographs in this post courtesy of Amanda Kendle.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Meet a Museum Family #3 | Museum Diary - June 18, 2015

    […] really delighted that the first two interviews, with my friend Melanie from Copenhagen, and with Amanda from Australia, got such a great reception! I hope you enjoy the rest of the series just as much. This week, we […]

  2. Meet a Museum Family #4 | Museum Diary - June 18, 2015

    […] I am really delighted that the first three interviews, with Melanie from Copenhagen, with Amanda from Australia, and with Mar from England, got such a great reception! I hope you enjoy the rest of the series […]

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