May 2012: Museum Activities for Kids and Adults

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May’s Museum Stories calendar is packed with fun things to do in L.A for kids and adults. From Mother’s Day and Memorial Day holiday events to star gazing at the Huntington, there’s something for everyone this month.


Night Out: Catch world music sensation Sayon Bamba’s U.S. premiere at the Skirball Friday, May 4, 8pm. Arrive early and see the exhibition Women Hold Up Half the Sky (see previous post) before it closes May 20. Tickets available online.

MacArthur Park Tour: You gotta love a tour that begins and ends at Mama’s Hot Tamales! CAFAM’s Folk Art Walk tour, led by local icon Carmelo Alvarez, focuses on MacArthur Park historic monuments and cultural landmarks (Sunday, May 20). Reservations Required.

Live Talks Los Angeles: Ever wonder how the state of always “being on” (through modern technological devices) affects our ability to think, create and participate in the world? Then don’t miss Pico Iyer in conversation with KCRW’s Lisa Napoli about The Joy of Quiet: Desperate to Unplug at the Fowler Museum at UCLA, (May 17, 7:30 pm). Interesting to see if people will be texting and tweeting during the talk.

Opening Reception: CAFAM’s opening reception this month celebrates two new exhibitions: Baseball: The All American Game (description below), and Production or Destruction, a solo exhibition of ceramist Ehren Tool (Saturday, May 26, 6-9 pm).

Memorial Day: If you’ve got Memorial Day off (Monday, May 28), there’s a Target Free Holiday event at LACMA with live music by George Kahn Jazz and Blues Revue, bilingual tours, and activities for all ages. The Getty Villa, the Huntington, and MOCA are open on Mondays as well.  Click here for more Memorial Day activties.

Vintage Film Series: See the dark side of the Golden State (and some cool shots of vintage Los Angeles and San Francisco), in LACMA’s The Sun Sets in the West: Mid-century Noir film series (May 18-19 & 25-26). Vintage film buffs also try to catch Mike Shiel’s lecture at the Hammer about his new book Hollywood Cinema and the Real Los Angeles tracing the history of L.A. in film from the 1890’s to the 1950’s (Wednesday, May 30 7:00).



Family Flick (5 yrs +): The Hammer’s Free Family Flick this month is Monkey Business — a perfect way to introduce your kids to the timeless comedic antics of the Marx Brothers (Sunday, May 6).

Preschool Adventures: The Huntington’s Tickets to Travel preschool program takes little ones on an adventure into the world of railroads. Classes include garden and gallery visits, art projects, and stories (Wednesdays, May 9, 16, 23, 30). Registration required.

Hammer K.A.M.P. (all ages): The Hammer Kids K.A.M.P. (aka, the coolest day ever) is finally here. A team of established artists and creative pros will lead inventive workshops for kids of all ages. There’ll be lots of food including Sprinkles cupcakes, plus a few celebrity readers as well. And best of all, this annual family fundraiser supports the Museum’s free family programs (Sunday, May 20).

Family Star Gazing (all ages): Now what could be better than exploring the night sky with the Sidewalk Astronomers at the Huntington? Families can star gaze using a variety of telescopes set-up on the lawn, and tour the astronomy exhibits in the Library (Saturday, May 26). Tickets required.

Younger Kids Workshops: Make your own kites and explore Afghan fighter kites with international kite master Basir Beria (who also worked on location in China on the movie The Kite Runner) in the Fowler’s Dancing with Kites workshop (Sunday, May 6).

Or check out Norton Simon’s Family Art Night Playing with Words – an art-making activity and workshop exploring artist Ed Ruscha’s creative use of text in his paintings (Friday, May 11. Ages 4-10)

Older Kids Workshops: If your kids love comic books like mine do, they’re sure to enjoy the Hammer’s All that Can Live on a Page. In this workshop, writer/illustrator Lee-Roy Lahey teaches kids how to translate their creative ideas into comics (Sunday, May 6. Ages 8-13).

Make art together at the Getty Family Drawing Hour Artful Improvisation – a one hour drawing activity in the Getty Center Museum galleries (Saturday, May 19. Ages 7+).

Join the fun at SMMoA’s Cause for Creativity: The Knotwork Workshop, a unique public art-making project which will create a giant, six-sided rope hammock in the middle of Bergamot Station’s People’s Park. In the process, kids will learn the art of hammock making and go home with instructions on how to build one of their own at home (Saturday, May 5. Ages 10 yrs +).

Teen Events: LACMA’s After Dark offers middle school and high school age teens a hip evening of their own at the Museum filled with art, music and refreshments (Saturday, May 12). There’s also a two-day workshop at the Norton Simon Portraiture Re-mix: Exploring New Technology that teaches teens how to reinterpret works of art using new technology (May 19 and May 20).

Mother’s Day: (Sunday, May 13): Going to brunch at a museum on Mother’s Day is a family tradition for us. A day filled with art, family, and no cooking – always sounds perfect to me. And this year there are more options than ever. The Huntington is offering three ways to treat moms on Mother’s Day; a Classical Outdoor Brunch with flute and harp performances, a Jazz Brunch with a 3-piece jazz ensemble, and their popular traditional English tea in the Rose Garden Tea Room.

For less traditional fare, LACMA’s Ray’s and Stark Bar Mother’s Day brunch menu is bound to please all you foodies out there. We’ve also lunched at the Getty Center and Villa cafes on Mother’s Day, and enjoyed strolling in the gardens afterwards.

There are some fun Mother’s Day art activities for families too. Make handcrafted Mother’s Day cards in CAFAM’s Printed Stories workshop. Artist and author Leslie K. Gray leads the workshop and shares stories from her book The Pink Dress about her mother’s teenage years (Saturday, May 12). Or join in the Mothers’ Day Bluegrass Family Jam at the Fowler and make your own instruments out of your recycled household items (Sunday, May 13).



Baseball: The All American Game at CAFAM highlights over 40 works of baseball-inspired folk art and objects from the collection of Gary Cypres, owner of one of the largest sports memorabilia collections in the world (opens May 26).

Pearl of the Snowlands: Tibetan Buddhist Printing from the Derge Parkhang at the Fowler Museum. The exhibition includes twenty-five woodblock prints along with photographs depicting Tibetan architecture and ancient hand-printing process (now open).

The Painting Factory: Abstraction After Warhol at MOCA Grand Avenue explores the recent transformation of abstract painting in contemporary art (now open).

Project Mah Jongg at the Skirball is an exhibition about the history and meanings of the game of Mah Jongg, a popular American Jewish tradition since the 1920’s. Outside the exhibition, Kids can play a special game using Mah Jongg tiles plus other classic board games like checkers (opens May 17).

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See you in the galleries!


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