Fostering a Love for Modern Art at the Hirshhorn Museum

My 10 year old is starting to develop a maturity towards art.  She’s always been a crafter, kid artist, coloring book fan, and all things from AC Moore or Michaels.  However, as she’s gotten older, she is showing that she is starting to appreciate more sophisticated works.  When we went to Washington, DC a few weeks ago, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden was a must on our itinerary.  Even if you aren’t a fan of modern or contemporary art, it would be surprising to not marvel at least once at the art displays here.

A side note before you dive further into this post, just wanted to share that all of these pictures (with the exception of the ones where she was in the picture) were taken by my 10 year old daughter using my DSLR.  So proud of her!


The sculpture garden surrounding the museum building can invoke some interesting conversation.  Here we were questioning, “What do you think they are discussing?” and “What is the significance of the individual in the back?”


I think we need to do something different when we take pics besides do the “jazz hands” pose!



Don’t overlook the fountain in the “center” of the museum.  The fountain itself seems to have an element of performance art!



Again…we love jazz hands!


Yup…those are Virgin Mary statues…


This art installation took up an entire room.



My daughter loved this face carved into the stone.


If you are looking for an incredible reason to go to the Hirshhorn, let the Shirin Neshat:  Facing History collection be it.  It is powerfully moving with both images and film throughout the exhibit in showing the duality of power and identify in the Islamic world.  The themes are very culturally rooted and may be above children’s ability to understand, but my daughter clearly got the message of the different roles and expectations between men and women.

Ways to Extend the Learning:

Found Art:  Encourage your child to hunt for household materials (old egg cartons, boxes, cotton…anything lying around!) in the house and to create a work of art from it!

Repetition in Art:  Go to your local dollar store and find art that your child can use in repetition to make an art piece.  This can be as simple as paper clips, popsicle sticks, even food!  Encourage them to use layering and repetition to create something dynamic!

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