It was never a question whether or not to take our two young children, three and five years old to the Texas State Museum (until after we went). It was a visit that must be checked off of the bucket list before leaving Texas. We packed up our brood after church and made the 30-minute drive to the Texas State Museum. When we arrived the building was humming with people, which was a huge surprise since it was a glacial 34 degrees in Austin. As we made our way through the crowd to the ticket counter we realized, this wasn’t just any Sunday afternoon at the Texas State Museum, this was Texas Independence Day.
On March 1st the admission to the museum was free and there were a half-dozen tables set up for children to decorate flags and adorn their shirts with Texas stars. After a short time enjoying the festivities we made our way through the museum. There were hundreds of amazing artifacts from the confederate “Taylor” battle flag to Texan Edgar Michell’s A7-L space suit. Although a great majority of the artifacts were poorly displayed if taking into consideration the attention of young people.
New and exciting on display was the French La Belle ship discovered in 1997 on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Currently on loan from the Musée National de la Marine and being reconstructed to show a glimpse of its former glory. This exhibit although not finished was our favorite. It was mind-blowing that the 54-foot La Belle with just a 14-foot beam made the journey from France to Texas with so many voyagers. One of Theaters located in the Bullock Texas State Museum showed a very interesting short film about the voyage fr m the perspective of a ten-year old boy.
The film was the highlight of the trip. I would say that the museum is more geared toward a crowd that already has a vast knowledge of Texas State History and is coming to put an artifact with an already known story. Our children had a hard time staying interested and frankly so did I. I wouldn’t recommend this for children under twelve. But Here are a few things you can do to keep your child engaged if you do decide to take a less than exiting trip, to a must see museum.
3 great things to do before taking your children to a Museum
- Look up a few of the exhibits on display before hand, and start reading or telling stories before bedtime to prime their imaginations for what they are about to discover. Having prior knowledge makes us all feel a little more invested in our adventure.
- Create your own scavenger hunt. My children cannot quite read yet but they are great at matching. Print a few images off of the museums website and let your children hunt down the artifact.
- Take a journal and write your own story. Find something that interest your child such as the NASA space suit for my children and have them make up their own story. I carry a journal to jot down what they say. This makes a great keepsake and helps them take a closer look at what they see.