Sunday, 4 March 2012

A day at the National Gallery

The Hubster and I have started 'the list' of things we want to pass onto to the Munchkins before they leave home. I will inflict it on you later - is quite diverse I assure you - but as an introduction I will mention that we hope that they will have learnt to go to museums and galleries for fun. During the great blogging hiatus the Bean has frequented the V&A (excellent changing facilities) and the British Museum (Grayson Perry is my hero).

Yesterday the Pickle decided that it was time to go to the National Gallery. Sunday is more set up for family visits and Tate Britain's Art Trolly sounds more her cup of tea but in the interests of family democracy and the lure of the number 9 bus (it's a childhood thing for me- all great trips used to begin) we headed to the National on a Saturday.

After what became known as *drumroll* 'The Great Poo of London' we were ready to begin. The Pickle is an aspiring artist so rather than the child's audio guide we decided to go for the work book - a tried and trusted formula in our family - to escort us on our tour.

Our rules are fairly standard - have fun. Mum holds off the overtly educational (no the Munchkins do not have to understand the finer details of perspective nor pronounce pointillism) and the Pickle takes the lead. Soon the activity book was discarded as she started to write and illustrate her own book - obviously.

When we got tired we visited the cafe. We found a glorious hybrid area where the Pickle got an affordable but excellent quality plate of chicken nuggets and I could order a coffee then grab my own sandwich from the cafeteria area (rather than splurge on an expensive hot meal). The Bean recarpeted the floor with a fetching thick pile of banana and part digested bread goop (I did try to clear his decor efforts before leaving).

As an art experience it was not my ideal candidate - but I have been stuck in my White Cube style contemporary rut for a while and it is fun to visit a permanent collection. It was great to see some of the pictures that had first made me fall in love with art all those years ago: Guardis and Canalettos, Stubbs and Gainsborouhs, Van Goghs and Monets. We kept it easy going so nobody, least of all Mummy, had meltdown.

Which museums or galleries to you recommend? Have you not tried it as a family activity? Go on I highly recommend it. While we can still see Da Vinci's for free it would be sad not to! Xx

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