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Crocker Tots

I recently attended the opening preview for the wonderful new family features at the Crocker Art Museum and was amazed by what I saw. Included in my group were parents and children of varying ages, so it was a unique experience to see their interaction and amusement first hand. Story Trail is a self guiding tour that comes with an amazing book  for kids to follow along with while they go on a treasure hunt of sorts from arwork to artwork discussing the pieces with their family. 

The families on the tour loved watching for the Story Trail markers to indicate the path and finding the artwork that correlated to the pages in the storybook. At each painting is a Story Trail plaque that gives parents further discussion points to share with their kids for even more interaction and educational observation than what is given in the story of Birdy’s Museum Adventure.

Story Trail ends in Tot Land which is a magical, inspiring, super kid-friendly place for hands on exploration and creation of their own works of art. There are different stations in Tot Land that allow a cozy reading space, a creative art work station, and unstructured free expression on the BKWLD interactive touch screen or chalkboard wall. The children were amazed by the interactive touch screen and it was astounding to watch their faces as they created colors, shapes and free form works of art at their fingertips that appeared like magic on the screen. Crocker Art Museum has definately hit a home run with these two new family additions and I am inspired to return with my son and watch him create.

The following is the official press release from the Crocker Art Museum;  

Little ones and their caregivers now have two new ways to experience the Crocker Art Museum. The Museum has launched Story Trail, a family-friendly journey through the Museum, and Tot Land, an interactive gallery, designed for children from infancy to five years of age and their caregivers. Tot Land and Story Trail are sponsored, in part, by the First 5 Sacramento Commission.

“We are thrilled to be able to expand the services we provide to children and families in this region,” said Stacey Shelnut-Hendrick, director of education, Crocker Art Museum. “Story Trail and Tot Land build on the Museum’s suite of unique art- and object-based learning resource offerings to provide an enhanced experience for visiting children and families.”

Story Trail is an engaging way for young children and adults to talk about art while they visit the Museum. It features a captivating storybook, called “Birdy’s Museum Adventure,” which incorporates images and “characters” from works of art in the Museum’s permanent collection. The story leads families on an imaginative adventure to look, discuss, and discover seven works of art. Families can check out a copy of “Birdy’s Museum Adventure” at the Admission Desk and begin a fun exploration into the galleries with trail markers to lead the way.

Story Trail concludes in Tot Land, a gallery devoted entirely to families. Located in the Museum’s Education Center, the gallery is designed to encourage creativity while building early-learning skills. Tot Land features an interactive touch screen for unparalleled creative play, as well as spaces for art making and reading. All of the activities are designed to enable children and adults to learn together through layered, dynamic, and playful experiences. Resources available in Tot Land support a successful path to early literacy and creative thinking.

The interactive touch screen, called “The Living Art Wall,” uses highly advanced technology and gaming software to give children a unique educational experience. Using the screen, toddlers will be able to express their creativity through digital drawing and painting with their fingers. Visitors’ contributions will build on top of each other, creating a community mural.

The Museum partnered with Sacramento-based digital agency BKWLD to create the interactive touch screen component in Tot Land. The agency donated their services, including the concept, design, and development of “The Living Art Wall,” and arranged for the gaming software to be donated from the software development company. Formed in 2001, BKWLD has developed websites, digital advertising campaigns, and more for a wide-range of national and international companies, including Disney, Nike, Toyota, Budweiser, and Microsoft.

Tot Land and Story Trail are free with Museum admission and are available during the Museum’s regular operating hours. For more information, visit crockerartmuseum.org or call (916) 808-7000.

The Crocker Art Museum was one of the first art museums in the U.S. and is now one of the leading art institutions in California. Established in 1885, the Museum features one of the country’s finest collections of Californian art, exceptional holdings of master drawings, a comprehensive collection of international ceramics, as well as European, Asian, African, and Oceanic art. The Crocker is located at 216 O Street in Downtown Sacramento. Museum hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Tuesday–Sunday; 10 a.m.–9 p.m., Thursdays. Every Third Sunday of the month is “Pay What You Wish Sunday” sponsored by Bank of America. For more information, call (916) 808-7000 or visit http://www.crockerartmuseum.org.

For more photos from my trip exploring both of these new additions, please go to the Cow Patties and Mud Pies fan page gallery on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.255577771121636.75501.122481214431293&type=1

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