Blanton Bound

Back in my carefree, single and childless days, I’d have this recurring daydream of me and my (yet unborn) child bonding by doing things like browsing the halls of museums and being all arty together.  The reality is that once I actually had a child, the prospect of doing anything of the sort seemed just a smidge intimidating.

The thought of braving a museum with my daughter, without the help of my husband, brought up feelings of anxiety similar to what I felt in the first days after she was born.  Instead of,  “How am I ever going to be able leave the house again?!”  I found myself asking, “What if she starts tearing all the art down off the walls or throws a temper tantrum in the middle of the place?”  Don’t get me wrong, she is generally a very well-behaved, sweet kid, but she is a toddler. Despite my trepidation, I really wanted to try out a little trip to the Blanton Museum.

It turns out that I didn’t need to be intimidated by it at all.  Once we were on the grounds, I knew that my fears were unfounded.  There were lots of other children there, and if things got really crazy, I could always hightail it out of there.

We started out with lunch at the Blanton Cafe, then headed across the courtyard to the museum to begin the real test!

A few minutes playing in the courtyard.

The Blanton has an extensive collection, along with (at the time of this visit) 4 temporary exhibits.  The following blurb from the museum’s website gives a sense of the scope of its holdings:

“The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin is one of the foremost university art museums in the country, and has the largest and most comprehensive collection of art in Central Texas. The Blanton’s permanent collection of more than 17,000 works is recognized for its European paintings, an encyclopedic collection of prints and drawings, and modern and contemporary American and Latin American art.”

I  was really interested in any direction that might help to focus our visit and make it more manageable, so I asked the lady at the reception desk if they had any guides for young children.  She and another woman from visitor services were very accommodating and hooked us up with a brochure and a handy little activity kit for the Human Touch exhibit.

Checking out the contents of the activity kit.

We spent about 20 minutes or so in the Human Touch and The Collecting Impulse exhibits, talking a lot about the shapes, colors, and objects we saw (The guides were geared toward older kids, so not really useful to us).  She loved it!

I knew I wanted to let her see some of the upstairs collection, and one of the docents had mentioned a coloring station at the top of the stairs, so we beelined it up there next.

The Stacked Waters atrium installation is gorgeous!

At the Family Creativity Center drawing some of the shapes we had seen downstairs .

The American and Latin American hall is my favorite, and the bold colors and shapes are very appealing to little ones.

                                Missão/Missões [Mission/Missions] (How to Build Cathedrals) 

I’ve been to the Blanton several times for field trips and this popular installation is always on the guided tour.  It was a big hit with my daughter. She liked that she could run her hands through the pennies!

Working our way out past an awesome installation made of rocks.

I’d planned to spend an hour or so and we were there for almost two, so I knew we needed to wrap things up and head home.  We’ll check out more on our next visit!

Have you been to the Blanton recently?  What did you and your kids most enjoy?



Blanton Museum of Art

MLK at Congress (200 East MLK )
Austin, Texas 78701

Admission for kids 12 an under is free!

Tips for Parents for talking about art at the museum

Museum Hours

Day: Hours:
Monday Closed
Tuesday 10 AM – 5 PM
Wednesday 10 AM – 5 PM
Thursday 10 AM – 5 PM(Third Thursdays open until 9 PM. Admission is FREE every Thursday.)
 Friday 10 AM – 5 PM
Saturday 11 AM – 5 PM
Sunday 1 – 5 PM
-Jennifer Rustgi, Kid Culture Austin

Tags: , , , , ,

Categories: Arts, Destinations, Indoor Fun


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One Comment on “Blanton Bound”

  1. September 11, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    Dear Kid Culture! I agree, the Blanton Museum is simply wonderful and I totally love touchable art too! I absolutely find your blog encouraging, especially since my visit to the Blanton is overdue and my taking kiddos to the exhibit is yet to happen! I recommend you check out Austin Creative Art Center (ACAC) and learn even more about how to create ART!

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