Ackland Art Museum
We have already brought you information about the all new NC Museum of Art and the Nasher Museum. Then we realized that we hadn't visited the Ackland Art Museum in our own backyard! So Sarah C. and I decided to bring our boys some culture and head there for some indoor, a/c entertainment.
We hadn't had a lot of luck to date taking the boys to art museums because of their inability to sit still, so our expectations were low. But we had a great time at the Ackland Art Museum on UNC's campus. I hadn't been to Ackland since they had grown and done renovations (which was, what, like 5 years ago? eek.). Even after renovations, this place is still smaller than its sister museums in Durham and Raleigh. But it is so pretty inside. The lobby was impressive, and we found this place to be kid friendly.
What made this art museum kid friendly? The first was the size: because it was smaller it wasn't as busy. This made the art more accessible to the kids (you didn't have to navigate large, center of the room items) and you didn't have to worry quite as much at disturbing someone deep in the art.
The other thing that made this place so kid friendly was the staff. Unlike the Nasher, the Ackland loved having kids in there, made conversation with us, and even talked with our boys. They were so welcoming and enjoyed that two new mothers brought their toddlers in for an afternoon. This place is stroller friendly as well.
The exhibits were great. Again, not the largest collection, but eclectic and beautiful. A few of the pieces have cell phone tour numbers on them. I tried it out on 1 piece and it was educational. There are also a lot of plaques with information on them throughout the museum. They talk about specific pieces but they also have information around the museum about why certain pieces have been displayed together.
For older kids, there is a desk in one of the center galleries that has books, questions to ask, and information. This can help kids enjoy the museum more. And while you can not leave with these materials, you can carry them around the museum with you. Also, when you first enter Ackland, to the left is a brochure rack with 1 worksheet for kids 4-7 and another for kids 8-12. These worksheets have activities encouraging children to interact with the art ("Find the buddha. Can you sit how he sits?").
Other ways for kids to interact with the art and the musuem:
-The 2nd Saturday of each month they offer a Drawing for Kids program for kids ages 9- 12. Registered required and it is $5 for nonmembers, free for members. Materials provided.
-The 4th Sunday of each month they do a Family Fun Tour for kids ages 6- 12 and their families. A guided tour that is interactive, it is also free.
-Every 3rd Sunday of each month, there is a Music in the Galleries series that features musicians of all styles. It starts at 2 in the afternoon and is free. Ackland also does special ticketed concerts throughout the year, stay tuned to their website.
- The Ackland is very open and interested in doing tours for groups of kids. If you have a tour you would like to set up, give them a call.
Admission to the museum is free for everyone.
As with any activity in downtown Chapel Hill, parking can be hard. Opt for public parking garages on Rosemary or Church streets.
Lots of sweet treats on Franklin Street to enjoy, but we went to Sugarland after this outing.
Ackland Art Museum
101 South Columbia Street (corner of Columbia & Franklin)
Weds, Fri, Sat 10 am -5pm; Thurs 10 am - 8 pm; Sun 1 pm - 5 pm; closed Mon and Tues