Visting Baltimore is a super easy day trip for us and we make the drive regularly to visit one of our favorite art museums, the American Visionary Art Museum. But for some reason, we had yet to visit the Baltimore Museum of Art. When we finally had a free weekend day, we made plans to meet my father-in-law in Baltimore for lunch and then discover the museum, including checking out its Free Family Sundays program.
We are no strangers to a good art museum, but I have to say that the Baltimore Museum of Art completely blew me away. To begin with, it's free. Those of us who visit DC museums frequently are completely spoiled, because most museums outside of the District, especially art museums, carry a hefty price of admission. So I was psyched to see we'd be getting a free peak at new art.
Secondly, the entire vibe of the museum was unlike any other art museum of this caliber that we'd experienced. It was sooooo laid back -- there were no guards or docents following the kids around (ahemmmm Phillips Collection and Hirshhorn). In fact, the museum ingeniously set up several works of art in the contemporary and modern sections that the kids were allowed and encouraged to touch -- smack in the middle of a room containing other off limits priceless works. The fact that they were allowed to explore some of it, made it so much easier to keep their paws off the other art.
There was also an exploratory interactive exhibit in a transitional area between exhibits that made it really easy to take a break and get the kids involved. I don't know if it was this approach or the Free Family Sundays, but there were more families with small kids walking around that museum than any other I've ever seen. Art for all, ya'll!
We also loved the adjacent Johns Hopkins University neighborhood. We had an incredibly delicious meal and the totally quirky Paper Moon Diner before our museum visit. I highly recommend a trip to the restaurant, which is within walking distance from the museum. It's a feast for the eyes as much as it is your tummy -- it reminded me of a cross between the AVAM gift store and The Beaver Island Toy Shop. I will disclose that we had a slightly disastrous wait for our food, but they did the right thing and comped our meal. Plus, the kids have never had less of a hard time occupying themselves in a restaurant -- we played I-Spy for almost an hour.
If you haven't visited the museum, add it to your list. We are absolutely going to add it in to our regular rotation!!