First Museum Experience

Claude Monet
Stacks of Wheat (End of Day, Autumn), 1890/91
Oil on canvas

Do you remember your first museum or gallery experience? I was encountered with this question yesterday and immediately the memory popped into my head. I was in elementary school the first time I visited The Art Institute of Chicago. I don’t know exactly how old I was, but I was blown away by Monet. The stacks of wheat paintings were on display and I imagined myself in the picture, wandering around those atmospheric fields. My mom bought me some pastels, and on the way home I drew haystacks. It happened to be the time of year where there were haystacks all over the fields of Wisconsin and Illinois, and I remember looking out the car window and drawing those scenes, contemplating Monet. For years I said Monet was my favorite artist. I don’t remember anything else from that particular visit to Chicago. That was my first memory of a museum. I have many more memories from childhood that were just as inspirational, such as my first visit to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.
I love my parents!

4 thoughts on “First Museum Experience

  1. I can’t remember my first art museum visit. I had my art in shows and museums before my parents ever took me to one. My first time to the St.Petersburg Museum of Art and the Tampa Museum of Art was because I had pieces there for highschool age art competitions. On the other hand my kids have been to more art galleries and museums than the majority of adults in this world. My daughter–Lulu almost touched a Chagall painting at MOMA in NYC… I and the Village. The security guard made his way to us… but I was quicker and swept her off her feet–she was only 2. The guard said nothing… but two very snooty people–had a fit and said how children shouldn’t be allowed in the museum, etc, etc. That’s the closest we’ve had a mishap… not bad for the amount of art we’ve been REALLY close to. Thanks for your trip down memory lane Sarah!

  2. I have my kids in galleries and museums all the time too. My step daughter Kali almost touched a Jasper Johns and my son touched a sculpture at a college art show that I was in. It happens. Both times nobody noticed so that was good :) They were really young then though! But I still think it’s more important to have children in galleries exposed to art no matter what.

  3. My first was sophmore in H.S. into D.C. (only 1/2 hour away!) at the National Museum of Art or whatever it’s called for an abstract exhibition – didn’t get it then, don’t get it now – even tho I’m starting to tend toward abstract myself. BUT. Much later I went to the Chicago Museum of art and had just finished an art history class on modern art starting with the IMpressionists (I was there on work). I went in and saw all the paintings and knew them and was amazed at VanGogh’s actual works – so small, so intense, so amazing. And I fell in love and he has always been my favorite since.

  4. Yes they have some amazing Van Gogh’s in Chicago. He was my favorite in H.S. and I still love his work. The color is amazing in person. However, I would be hard pressed to pick a “favorite” artist now. I have such a broad view of art history now…

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