Kid Rating


Adults $27
Children (3-11) $12
Children Under 3 FREE

The Bowers Museum

An art museum was a hard sell to a couple boys under ten. They weren’t exactly thrilled to look at wicker baskets and tapestries, but the cultural focus of the Bowers Museum is so diverse, we found that there was something for everyone. Like a head-hunter exhibit. Our daring trip to the art museum turned out to be a very enjoyable and memorable time with our boys.

Our Experience

My two boys were the only children in line for admission to the Bowers Museum. I figured that the only way this was going to work is by being very upfront before we arrived: “This is NOT a science museum where you get to touch everything…it’s an ART museum where you look at stuff VERY QUIETLY.”

Our first stop was the Japanese wicker exhibit. The boys weren’t quite sure what do with themselves. They experimented with whining and asking to leave, and then slumping over on a bench when their pleas fell on deaf ears. So it was time for us as parents to figure out how to make this work. We handed the little one Mommy’s camera… he grateful accepted the responsibility as official photographer and got right to work snapping thousands of blurry photos of every single work of art. The older one we brought to each individual display and pointed out the intricate differences. Gradually the resistance dissipated, and he began to appreciate the skill involved. Slowly he began to see the point and the whining was over.

Next we walked through a hall of massive fluorescent sand paintings done by a Buddhist monk. The moaning resumed, and once again, we encouraging the boys to look at the details. These extravagant murals are full of bizarre graphic symbolism that turned the hall into a massive Where’s Waldo game. “Okay, find a zombie with his eyes falling out….Now find a rat eating a rock….Now find a blue demon eight arms.”

My older son was very keen on seeing the head-hunter exhibit, but turns out he didn’t quite have the stomach for it. It’s sometimes hard to read the emotional language of little boys, but I think the human-teeth necklaces and bone purses made him squeamish. But once again, we found ourselves learning from plaques and then passing the info on to the slower-readers. Explaining how different cultures used feathers for currency and totally different war tactics and weapons.

After completing our time at the Bowers Museum proper, we headed over to the Kidseum. It’s the children adjunct  to the art museum. It’s not really worth a second post, so I’ll sum it up here in a couple sentences. Kidseum was more for toddlers and pretend play. Even my six-year-old was too old to be interested. But they DID managed to get 45 minutes of play out of the green-screen. Tons of costumes were available, and the boys tossed them on without rhyme-or-reason to battle it out on the flatscreen tv. I thought the boys would have been more interested in the black-light painting room, but it was all about the green-screen.