University museums as a summer fun destination for kids? At Harvard University they are. For the past several years, Harvard University Art Museums (HUAM) has offered free museum activities for children visiting from Boston-area summer camps.
The agenda? Learning how to enjoy the museum and making art.
This year nearly 150 local children have visited the Sackler Museum and other Harvard art museums during summertime.
Nazavien Davis, age 5, was one of more than a dozen 5- to 7-year-olds from the Ellis Memorial summer camp and after-school program in South Boston who recently came to the Sackler for museum activities developed especially for kids. After gaining inspiration from the museum’s collections, the children learned techniques of Asian calligraphy and watercolor and then tried their hands at creating their own scrolls to take home. They also took paper kimonos to color later.
“They sleep on kimono mats now,” said Britta Bakas, camp counselor at Ellis Memorial. According to Bakas, the museum visit helped to open their eyes to the world. “For them to just be exposed to Asian art and to know the words kimono, scroll, and lotus is huge.
“A lot of these children have never left the South End.”
Seventeen-year-old museum volunteer Lorraine Shim, who applies her interest in art and firsthand knowledge of Korean art forms in the projects she leads for children, added, “The children get the opportunity to learn what’s fun about museums when they are young, so when they grow up, they can enjoy them even more.