The second stop on our family’s city art tour has been on our list for a while. Finally, a few weeks ago, we made it to the Free Family Sunday program at the Baltimore Museum of Art. My oldest, Olive, has been to the BMA before on a class trip and both girls are familiar with the sculpture garden and yummy food at Gertrude’s. But this was our first time taking advantage of the museum’s family programs.
If you’re not familiar with the BMA, this gem is neighbors with The Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood Campus in Charles Village. The BMA has its own paid parking lot and there is metered parking available on Art Museum Drive and nearby Charles Street. The museum itself is free all the time (save some traveling special exhibits on occasion), as is the Sunday family art program. Each month, the free family art program focuses on a specific theme, and each week’s activities relate back to this theme. When we visited in March, the theme was Back in Time. The theme for April was Animal Hunt.
My two jewelry-loving girls were happy to learn that the activity of the day was to fashion your own elegant jewelry using a variety of beads, baubles and found gadgets and objects. Items that would otherwise be discarded, like bottle caps and scraps of heavy cardboard, could be transformed into charms for a necklace or bracelet. Strips of heavy cardstock and thicker magazine pages were carefully rolled into one-of-a-kind beads to be strung on a necklace. There was ribbon, thick wire (that required some adult assistance) and twisty electrical wire to hold the beads. And, of course, there was glue—lots and lots of tacky glue—and some duct tape to bring it all together. The inspiration board looked like it could have been plucked from a display booth at a hip craft show with chunky necklaces, some with cascading beads and other with modern pendants.
The room was packed, but there were plenty of supplies and seats for everyone. And the mixed ages made it unique—there were clusters of tweens and middle schoolers creating jewelry that could be seen in an Anthropologie catalog alongside families with younger kids. Just like on our last trip to the Creative Alliance, now 6-year-old Olive worked intensely for over 30 minutes making her own beads and then brainstorming the perfect way to bring it all together. The staff was quick to come to hear aid with some needle-nose pliers, heavy wire and some creative guidance. Millie was happy to string some beads and go to town with the glue and bottle caps opting for some more abstract and less wearable jewelry.
Sadly, we needed to craft and dash because we had one hungry baby waiting for a snack and a nap. We did stop for a quick “hello” and pose with the Thinker, but we left before exploring the new Contemporary Wing or the Sculpture Garden. But, then, it’s always good to leave a little something to look forward to in the next visit. Next time, we’ll arrive earlier and book a table for brunch at Gertrude’s so I could get my crab quiche fix.
(cool) tip: Can’t make it on Sunday for the art projects? Get the skinny on 20 objects around the museum with the free kid-friendly audio tour.
10 Art Museum Drive
Baltimore, MD 21218
Hours: The museum is open Wednesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.