Museum Babies offers art education

MuseumBabies1For some infants and toddlers, their first art experience goes well beyond finger painting and crayons through an art education program called Museum Babies at Gilcrease Museum.  The program affords parents the opportunity of viewing priceless works of art, coupled with child development activities for their children. This unique experience nurtures the needs of both parent and child.

The partnership between Tulsa Community College Child Development Program and Gilcrease Museum gives parents and/or caregivers the opportunity to visit the museum twice a month.  TCC Child Development students plan and coordinate activities and playgroup exercises as part of an academically based service learning project.

“TCC students get critical hands-on experience by developing the activities related to a theme and working with the babies and parents in the museum setting,” said TCC Associate Professor of Child Development, Dawn Parton.  “Each session at the museum is based on a theme expressed in the artwork viewed in the museum galleries and extends to the playgroup activities for both baby and parent.”

MuseumBabies2There are just a few programs across the country that approach art education at this age for children.  Museum Babies has sessions specifically targeted for infants called Museum Babies I and toddlers called Museum Babies II.

“We want to be a relevant place for art, history and education, and offer engaging programs that will appeal to a broad range of individuals in the community,” said Sarah Wright, associate curator, Family and Youth Programs at Gilcrease Museum.

“Part of our mission is to support life-long learning. There’s no better place to start than with infants and toddlers and their parents. Research shows that early learning should begin before the age of three. The program also affords a gathering place for moms and caregivers who have an opportunity to socialize and share information. It’s been very successful,” said Wright.

Each program is roughly an hour long and begins with a museum educator leading parents and young children through the galleries in a casual experience and talking about the art.  The second half of the program focuses on the infant/toddlers with a playgroup experience related to the same theme as the museum discussion.  Each session has a theme from vision/color/patterns to cowboys and horses.

Museum Babies I and II runs through December with three sessions remaining for infants and three sessions remaining for toddlers.
•  Animals of the Museum/Big and Little – 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 14 (I) and 10:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 15 (II)
•  Feathers – 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 (II) and 10:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 22 (I)
•  Hearing/Sounds – 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec 12 (I) and 10:30 a.m. Friday, Dec 13 (II)

Space is limited and advanced registration is required for Museum Babies I.  Museum Babies II is filled for fall and Wright is taking names for a waiting list.  Museum Babies will begin a spring session in February 2014.  Reservations will be taken for the spring session beginning January 6.  The program is free with museum admission.

To register, call 918-596-2774, or e-mail

Photo Notes:

PHOTO 1:  A young child participates with an activity during Museum Babies at Gilcrease Museum after learning about cowboys and horses depicted in the priceless art at the museum.  The program, a partnership between Gilcrease Museum and Tulsa Community College Child Development Program, gives parents the opportunity of viewing art and provides child development activities for their child.

PHOTO 2:  Mother and son work together on activity during Museum Babies at Gilcrease Museum.  The program is a partnership between Gilcrease Museum and Tulsa Community College Child Development Program which allows TCC students to design academically based activities for infants and toddlers.  Museum Babies is an hour long program for parent and child that includes a tour of the art collection with a theme and a child development activity based on the same theme.