Our families greatly enjoy the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA): attending the Children's Theatre Company, enjoying the Target Family Days, or just meandering through the galleries. You know it's a great museum when you offer the kids the opportunity to go to the Mall of America or the Art Museum, and hands down the Art Museum wins!
Visiting the MIA with Kids
There is so much to look at and so much open space! Also, and most importantly, the Minneapolis Institute of Art has a lot of staff strategically posted throughout the entire museum. This is great for a number of reasons.
- It's easy to get help when lost.
- There are more eyes to watch our little ones as they enjoy themselves.
- If there is an emergency, staff members are there to help. (Joy knows this from personal experience with a stroller-diving toddler and a quickly-arriving ice pack.)
- They can offer explanations of some of the art pieces or genres. If you have questions or don't get it, just ask. (Gianna claims she doesn't get art, sometimes.)
The Minneapolis Institute of Art is open to the public with a freewill donation box in the lobby. They sometimes have traveling/rotating exhibits that require a fee, but you can thoroughly enjoy the museum with or without viewing that gallery. Gianna would suggest if you want to visit the traveling exhibit, to go without kids. (However, Joy notes that kids are sometimes given free tickets to these events if you ask.) Part of the reason the MIA is so fantastic is that you can spend a little time or a long time there without feeling like you need to get your money's worth!
Minneapolis Institute of Art Highlights
- Different galleries are set up by time period or genre or both and so there is a lot to look at. There is modern, classical, medieval, abstract, photography, and so much more. This could be great if you are studying a certain historical time period.
- They have a section that is dedicated to displaying works by kids who have taken classes there.
- The dollhouse is fun for the whole family--boys and girls
- There are lots of stairs to climb.
- The staff are understanding and enjoy the patrons.
- The Annual Art in Bloom Exhibit each Spring
- The old-fashioned elevator is the best part of the whole museum. There are a lot of instructions you may not understand at first, but when the elevator arrives to pick you up, all those old movies you once watched will come in handy. Operating the elevator will be a snap.
- And of course the Family room, where kids can play with blocks or you can cuddle and read an art-related book. Grab a coffee at the coffee shop and take a break while the kids unwind in a space that is just for them.
When you get to the MIA, you can park in the ramp on 3rd Ave which is $4 for the first hour (and an additional fee for every hour after). Or you may be able to find street parking for free. They have a small restaurant that also serves coffee. Otherwise, if you are looking for something to eat, it's just down the road from Nicollet Avenue (Eat Street) and not far from Lyndale Avenue or Hennepin Avenue.
Minneapolis Institute of Art can be one of your family favorites, too.
Family Programs at MIA
On the second Sunday of the month, Target sponsors a Family Day at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA). While admission to the MIA is always by donation, and the museum is always open to families, Target’s Family Day at the MIA is an event that is worth attending with many an array of extra-fun activities promoting art enjoyment and a theme featuring a unique perspective of the galleries. Themes often tie in with current exhibits and sometimes they offer free entry to current pay exhibits on these days.
Also, watch for special Family Night Out programming. These don't currently have a regular schedule. Like Family Days, families can go on a scavenger hunts in the galleries, or create art together. There is also a drop-off are where kids ages 4+ can create while their parents spend some adult-time in the museum - drink coffees, explore the galleries, shop the gift shop, whatever.
Anytime, families can enjoy the Family Center. Sometimes that is all we do when we visit. We don't call it the "Family Center" though, we call it the "Block Room". It also has a family restroom and nursing area inside it. Joy has fallen asleep in there when she was pregnant and exhausted.
Membership to the Minneapolis Institute of Art
MIA has always been the best museum for affordability with so much to see for free. However, did you know that membership can also be free? MIA offers membership for whatever you want to pay. Pay what you can afford or whatever you think a membership is worth to your family. Any membership from $0-$149 includes ticketing privileges, discounts (20% at the store), complimentary tours, communications and invitations. It also includes special days when MIA members get into paid exhibits for free and/or before the general public.There really isn't a good reason NOT to join. Higher levels receive additional perks.
Exploring the Art a Little Deeper
The MIA's website has a handy page for Teachers and Students that is equally useful to parents hoping to make their visit a little more meaningful. It offers online resources and downloads that offer a little extra information.
Another fun thing to do is buy or borrow from the library the book, Can You Find It? by Judith Cressy*. This book is put out by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and teaches a game for learning to look closer at art. You can read the book and play the game at home and then try it out on your own at the MIA.
*This is an affiliate link to our Amazon Store. Family Fun Twin Cities receives a small commission on any books sold through this link.
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