If you love museums but worry that the calm and quiet environs of the art world are no place for your children, let the images on Instagram’s Rock That Museum Kid feed prove otherwise.
Sitting around your breakfast table you might wonder why on earth you take your noisy and untamed offspring into public at all, let alone into places designed around echoing corridors, priceless displays and cultured visitors. But however sophisticated or complex the theme of the exhibition, children stand to gain just as much, if not more, than we do – learning about their world and taking a lot of pleasure in the experiences, mediums of art and environments they are exposed to.
So says Danish Art Historian Mille Maria who started the Instagram feed Rock That Museum Kid in May to encourage parents to share pictures of their children in front of art they love. The feed, which already has nearly 7500 followers, is full of striking images of children in museums and galleries across the world – standing by modern art and old masters, priceless sculptures and sensory displays – the result is a feed which gives courage and inspiration to parents who have previously steered clear. We caught up with curator Mille Maria to find out more.
How did Rock That Museum Kid start?
I have always loved art. I grew up five minutes from Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, just outside Copenhagen and so I could enjoy great art whenever I felt like it. I have taken my girls (now 4 and 3) to museums and galleries since they were infants in a baby sling. I have had some bad experiences of course, but nothing compared to the good ones. When I started @rockthatmuseumkid, I wanted to give other parents the confidence to experience this too and see all the wonderful things art can teach our kids about themselves, other people and the world they live in.
I believe in exposing children to art at an early age and teaching them that going to the museum can be fun. I also believe in showing parents with young children that it’s not (necessarily) a scary experience to bring babies/toddlers/teens (I don’t even know which one is scarier), to art museums. Instagrammers can tag posts of their kids and art with the hashtag #rockthatmuseumkid. It’s pretty amazing how well people are responding to the idea of kids and art together.
So is it a collective of likeminded parents?
Actually the followers include many different people. There are a lot of parents of course, but also art lovers in general and, perhaps surprisingly, many young people who just appreciate the kids/art combination. The contributors to the hashtag are mostly parents. I do know that some contributors just borrow a kid for their #rockthatmuseumkid photos! I have even done that sometimes myself, at times when I didn’t have the girls with me at a museum and really wanted to feature something – it turns out that other parents quite willingly lend out their kids for photoshoots in art spaces!
Does the feed inspire people who have been reluctant to go to a museum with their kids?
Absolutely! And that is one of the reasons why I love it. It really encourages parents to try something that is completely new to them and on the feed they can see that lots of other parents do it too, so maybe it’s not so scary after all… Some of them even write me little thank you messages or emails and attach pictures of their kids in museums. That’s what makes it so wonderful – we are really rocking the art world, little by little, by creating new ways of including art in our daily lives and changing the ways we use museums.
What is your ambition for it?
My vision is simply to get more parents and families to go to museums. To consider art and museums as a fun weekend activity alongside the Zoo, the beach, the playground. Many parents stay away from museums because of all the ‘horror stories’ about angry museum guards, vandalized artwork (I admit, toddlers must be carefully supervised), or because they simply don’t see the point.
With @rockthatmuseumkid, I want to give parents a very simple goal: take your kid to a museum and snap a photo of them in front of artwork you like. Of course, I hope they have some fun in the process and actually enjoy seeing the art there.
Need some inspiration? Read our guide to the 10 Best Museums in Europe for Kids.
Mille Maria lives in Nørrebro in Copenhagen. She has a Master’s in English Literature and Art History and works in social media and art. She has two daughters, Olivia (4) and Isabella (3). Follow Rock That Museum Kid on Instagram.