Today we visited MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, the largest museum of contemporary art in the United States! Opened in 1999 in a former textile mill, it houses over 100,000 square feet of exhibition space. Though massive, it is surprisingly not overwhelming.
We spent an hour walking around the museum, spending a lot of time in the Sol LeWitt installation, which is comprised of 105 of his drawings from 1969-2007. It was stunning to see so much of his work in one space. Addie particularly liked the exhibit – I think the shapes and colors made it fun for her to look at each piece. The wide open exhibition halls, with beautiful wooden floors and high ceilings, were perfect for a moving toddler.
After that, I took Addie to the museum’s Kidspace, while Kendra continued to roam the exhibition halls with her parents. A lot of museums have areas for kids, and special activities for little ones, but I have rarely seen such a welcoming, fun space as the one at MASS MoCA. Even more amazing is that admission is free – you do not need to visit the rest of the museum in order to go to Kidspace.
Part exhibition hall, part art studio, it is open every day (except Tuesday) from 11am to 4pm. Friday through Sunday (and holidays) kids can create art. When we arrived, Addie and I went up to the supply counter for some legos which she added to the collaborative lego sculpture.
Next, we went back to the counter and picked a playing card from a deck. The kind museum lady behind the counter gave us a box matching the number we picked. Inside there were a variety of blue art supplies and instructions to create a piece of art using only one color. We settled down at one of the roomy tables and Addie spent a good 30 minutes working on her masterpiece, carefully gluing feathers, pompoms, and bits of foam to blue construction paper.
After an hour, Kendra, Jane, and Boris joined us until Addie finished working. We spent some time looking at the exhibit in the Kidspace, and then headed downstairs to the gift shop. Our intention was to browse quickly, and then head to lunch, but Addie had other plans. She wandered into another gallery and found an awesome sculpture made of recycled water-bottles. The electric sculpture looked like a series of ferris wheels, and as they spun, sand within the bottles shifted, filling the dark room with the sound of rain.
Because it was pouring rain outside, we didn’t get a chance to explore the exterior of the museum, so we raced to our car and headed to lunch. It was a fabulous visit – the adults got to see some great artwork, and Addie got the chance to be creative. I highly recommend the museum to anyone with little ones – the atmosphere is very kid-friendly, and there is plenty to enjoy for all-ages.