Other than as bed coverings, one does not often think of quilts in conjunction with kids. The International Quilt Study Center and Museum would like to change that. And I think their quest has been successful so far.
First of all, every child that visits can pick up a free folder that contains activities that correlates to the latest exhibits. The current activities include a “Quilt Blocks” word search to find such terms as “Log Cabin” and “Flying Geese” with correlating pictures. Going along with “The Secrets in Stitches” exhibit, the child can do a dot-to-dot that reveals a hidden shape. Every time the students can choose to find their favorite quilt, describe it and even draw a picture to commit the quilt to memory.
An activity table with rotating projects sits out in the commons area. (No, there are not crayons available in the actual quilt areas! So, moms, you can relax! :-) )
While children cannot interact with the display quilts, the museum does not leave kinesthetic children behind. A rolling cart is filled with activities that allow tactile learners to touch various types of quilts. Piecing, applique, quilted and finished materials can be found in each mini drawer. Not to mention quilt foam puzzles where each child can “create” a temporary masterpiece.
Other fun things about the museum:
The area full of doll quilts and furniture on the 3rd floor. A few books and even a puzzle or two also can be found in this “research” area.
I must confess that one of my kids’ favorite parts of the museum does not involve fabric of any kind.
My kids love the stairs. And I also must confess that if no one else is around, I might let them go up the stairs at a pace that is faster than a walk.
As far as the displays, children can actually visualize more in the pieces than what we give them credit for. When I took my kids this summer, my daughter noticed shapes that I did not initially see (and a nearby quilt expert confirmed that she was correct). My older kids enjoy the quilts without much explanation. With younger kids, I try to play “I Spy” to keep them engaged.
What shapes can you spy? What colors can you see? Easy questions for us, but they
You can even give your child an introduction to quilts before you visit. Check out the online quilt explorer where you can “interact” with over 1,000 online quilts. You can even “make your own” quilt online. And if you happen to be a parent or an educator, you can also download curriculum, lesson plans and ideas on making the museum come alive for children. Information is also available online for school group tours as well. The website is full of ideas and information about quilts!
My kids also notice the beautiful outdoors statue every time we drive by. When the intricate white sculpture is illuminated at night, the piece is even more lovely. Tonight is the perfect night to see the place in person. As I mentioned yesterday, the International Quilt Study Center and Museum is open later tonight. You have an hour left to explore. (Sorry – I meant to post this earlier, but I had outdoor clean-up to do today! :-)
And in case you want to check out other First Friday art walk events taking place in both Lincoln and Omaha, here are a bunch of links …