Making the Most of Community Cultural Resources

I went to the museum where they had all the heads and arms from the statues that are in all the other museums.
—Stephen Wright, American Actor and Writer

Going to a museum isn’t every kid’s (or adult’s) idea of a good time. But whether or not you’re a fan, you can likely find several cultural resources in your community that are appealing and that you can access for free or at minimal cost. These can include music performances, libraries, a variety of types of museums, ethnic shops or restaurants, and more. Discovering these treasures can be fun and enriching for family members of all ages. Here are some ways to get started:

Tips for . . .

  • parents with children ages birth to 5
    • Take toddlers to sculpture gardens and hands-on museums where they can move freely and explore…and so can you.
    • Check out types of music that are new to you by attending free outdoor concerts.
    • parents with children ages 6 to 9
    • Attend age-appropriate theater performances by young people. To find out about them, call local high schools or youth theater companies (you should be able to find phone numbers online or in the Yellow Pages).
    • Many art museums have free days and family days. If there isn’t an art museum in your community, before visiting other places always check on whether there is one nearby.
    • Help your child get a library card and make it a regular activity to visit together and check out books for each of you.
    • parents with children ages 10 to 15
    • Call around to coffee shops in your neighborhood to find out which ones have live music (many do). Pick one that appeals to you and invite your children to go with you.
    • Help your children research youth arts programs in your area. If they find some they think they might enjoy, visit them together and pick one to try.
    • Encourage your children to explore aspects of their own heritage such as the history of your community, the culture of their ancestors, or their religious background through cultural resources such as local government records, congregations, libraries, and others.
    • parents with children ages 16 to 18
    • If your community has any colleges, art schools, music academies or other post-secondary schools, call or check online to find out about events that are open to the public.
    • Keep up on what’s happening at your local library. Many libraries offer author readings that you and your teenagers might enjoy attending together.
  • Go together to the concerts, recitals, plays, art shows, and other performances or presentations of your children’s friends.

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