Meet a Museum Family #8

February 15, 2016

Kids in Museums

The latest installment of the ‘Meet a Museum Family‘ series, in which I interview other museum loving families asking them to share their experiences and tips with my readers, comes with a couple of firsts: it’s our first Museum Family from Canada, and also the first time a Museum Dad has answered the interview questions. Please welcome Ryan and his family, from Toronto!

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

My name is Ryan Dodge and I am the Digital Engagement Coordinator at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. My wife and I have a 3 year old son, a 1 year old daughter and another one on the way!

2. How old were your kids when you started taking them to museums?

The first time we visited a museum with my son he was only a few months old and slept most of the time. When he was awake he was wide-eyed the whole time, taking in all of the sights.

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3. Did you enjoy visiting museums when you were a child?

I have always had a love of history and remember visiting museums as a child but my most memorable and pretty much the reason I work in a museum today is a visit to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. I was 8 years old and there was a moon rock that I got to touch just inside the front door, I was hooked!

4. Why do you think it’s important to take kids to museums?

Museums take history out of the text book and give visitors a tangible link to the past. They can also inspire kids to learn more, to ask questions and the sense of wonder that museums inspire in youth is one of our greatest attributes. I love seeing this in the faces of children when they visit the museum!

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

My son is enthralled with dinosaurs and natural history in general so we visit the Royal Ontario Museum often. We also visit the Ontario Science Centre and although not technically a museum, the Toronto Zoo is a destination on occasion.

6. And what museum would you love to take your kids to?

I’m excited to visit a living history museum with them, a working historical farm or something similar. My kids love to be outside so any opportunity to get them into nature and learn a little bit would be great!

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7. Do you have any great tips for visiting museums with kids?

I think the biggest thing about visiting a museum with kids is to try and not force them around the museum and try to pack too much into your visit. Let them lead you around the museum, let them explore and ask questions. You’ll be less stressed and your kids will enjoy the experience much more. If you and your kids like the museum, buy a membership so you can come back more often.

8. And finally, what is the best souvenir your family has ever brought back from a museum?

Definitely a pair of bat wings!

Thank you so much to Ryan for taking the time to answer my questions! A pair of bat wings sounds like a pretty cool museum souvenir. If you would like to chat some more with Ryan, you can connect with him on Twitter. And all the best to Ryan and his family for #MuseumBaby No.3!

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!

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