By Georgia Maheras, Inly Parent
This past Tuesday, I had the privilege of meeting the Inly School kindergarteners at the Museum of Fine Arts. Greek, Roman, and Egyptian art and artifacts were just barely more exciting than lunch in the basement and the round trip bus ride!
We began the experience by dividing into three groups: A, B, and C (I was in group B with my daughter Kassiani). Marcia was our tour guide through Greek and Roman art. For most of the kids, this was their first time at the MFA. For some of the adults, myself included, this was our first guided tour of a museum that we had visited many times. For me, the guided tour was an amazing experience and looking at the museum through another set of eyes was really fun. I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on how well the children behaved—it is very hard to whisper for two hours in a new place that is very exciting!
Our first stop was the front foyer of the museum and the imposing stature of a sleeping Cerberus and Orpheus. The kids then stood in awe as we stared up at the domed ceiling and its murals. Marcia took us through the exhibit highlighting key pieces: a frieze here, an earring there, specific pieces of pottery. The children knew much more about mythology and gods than Marcia expected—a heartening thing for the parents and teachers to witness! It was also quite funny to see the kindergarteners pretend to lift a sipping cup and drink from it. All of us were amazed by the section on athletics—the children compared modern day soccer and T-ball to the giant discus behind the glass.
We were wowed by the tomb stone monument: a snake for a tail, a dog’s body and bird wings makes for a good discussion. Several children took the opportunity to sketch out this stone as they sat on the floor and listened to Marcia discuss why such a thing was needed in ancient Greece. Our final stop on the tour was near the giant green shield and sword. The shield was about as big as some of the children and they were happy to enact being warriors in ancient times. Marcia was kind enough to share handouts with all of us so that the children could create their own shield- complete with items they thought would protect them.
After we finished the official tour, we wandered through the Egyptian mummies in the museum and then the special exhibit: Tomb 10A. The kids had a great time drawing their favorite things in the Egyptian section and it was so interesting to see that they all liked different art and artifacts. The tombs were not nearly as enticing as the stone and wooden figurines—Kassiani’s favorite were the blue ones. And in case you didn’t know, there were princes and princesses in ancient Egypt, which was a delight to many of the Children’s House princes and princesses. I found this room especially enjoyable in part because we had it to ourselves. It was a fairly small room and we were able to sprawl all over and draw what inspired us. Some of the children even tried to read the hieroglyphics on the artifacts.
Our final museum stop was Tomb 10A. This was an exhibit that showed not only the contents of the tomb, but how the MFA found the tomb and explored Egypt in the 1800s. The children were, naturally, drawn to the wall, which showed projections of the archeological dig- some shadow puppets may have appeared on the wall. Here we rejoined Groups A and C to explore the miniature boats, statuary and mummies. Our courage was tested with the dark room that contained the skull of the resident of Tomb 10A. Some of the children even pretended to be mummies—lying still in a row on the floor of the exhibit.
After Tomb 10A, everyone headed downstairs for lunch. I, unfortunately, had to head back to work, but very much appreciated the ‘art break’ in the middle of the day!