25 Mini-Adventures at the PMA

By Molly Braswell
Learning and Interpretation Assistant

Inspired by Mamascout’s blog post, “25 mini-adventures in the library,” we wanted to share 25 mini-adventures for families to have at the PMA!

1. Grab a museum map from the Visitor Experience Desk. Now, with your eyes closed, point to a spot on the map. Open your eyes–that’s where you should explore today!

2. Pick a gallery and spend 10 minutes there. After 10 minutes have everyone in your family present their favorite piece and explain why they picked it.

3. Bring sketchbooks and pencils. Sit in a gallery and draw for a while.

4. Explore the new PMA Family Space: Design Lab.

5. Visit the McLellan House. Which room you would want as your bedroom if you lived there in the 1800s? Talk about what life would be like if this were your house—what would you eat or wear?

6. Bring a blank postcard to the museum, or pick one up in the PMA Store. Draw your favorite painting on the back and mail it to a friend.

7. Grab a cell phone and dial into Family Voices Cell Phone Tour.

8. Introduce yourself to a Gallery Officer. Ask what their favorite painting is in the gallery.

9. Check out the PMA’s Sculpture Gallery, then explore Portland on foot and look for more sculptures. Which are your favorites?

10. Visit a local antiques or furniture store. Pick out pieces that you think would look good in the McLellan House.

11. Come to a PMA Picks and hear PMA staff talk about their favorite works of art.

12. Sit on a bench in a gallery and make up stories about the other museum visitors. Who are they? Where are they from? Are they from Maine or visiting from away? Which artwork in that gallery do you think is their favorite?

13. Head up to the third floor to Voice of Design: 25 Years of Architalx. Touch the 17-foot tall tower. What happens? What do you see?

14. Visit the four Stop and Look Stations located through the museum. Each family member can listen to a different audio clip and then summarize it for the others.

15. Look up! Pay attention to the architecture of the PMA. Take the stairs and think about why the architect chose to put the windows and stairs where he did.

16. Go on a safari! Find as many animals in works of art as you can. Split into teams and explore the museum. Did both teams count the same number of animals?

17. Have family members take turns standing in front of paintings and closing their eyes. The other family members can try to describe the painting. Once the family member opens their eyes, you can see how successful you were.

18. Find a painting with a lot going on and make up a story about what is happening. Who are the people in the painting? What are their names? What happened right before this scene? What happened right after?

19. Visit the PMA and then take a walk in the woods. Look at the trees and the flowers like you would look at a painting; notice all of the colors and shapes in nature.

20. Look at the paintings of boats, fishermen, and the ocean in the second floor gallery, then take a walk down to the wharfs. Do the boats look the same as in the painting? What is different?

21. Give your kids each a few dollars to pick out their own treats at the PMA Cafe. Enjoy your snacks while you talk about the artwork you saw that day.

22. Visit the PMA Store. Browse the selection of children’s books and creative games.

23. After your day at the PMA, go home and select objects from your house to create your own museum exhibition.

24. Invite your friends and take them on your own PMA tour.

25. Pick an artist you like and then walk to the Portland Public Library down the street! Look up that artist and read about their life.

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