Paper Bag Museum

In case you missed yesterday’s post, we’re hosting a super fun Paper Bag Creative Challenge that brought over 50 kid-directed paper bag projects together in one spot. Today I’m excited to share our own take on the challenge.

paper bag art oil pastels

This is how our art table looked the other morning.

paper bag art table

Me and the girls crafting up a paper bag collage storm.

My one year old colored paper bags with oil pastels and glued hearts and sequins to a paper bag while my 3 year old went to town — all day long — making paper bag collages that quickly took up all the ceiling space in the room.

collage installation

My 3-year old, N, called these her Valentine Collages and Paper Bag Art. She recently picked up on how museums have multiples of one type of thing, and decided that this would be her Paper Bag Museum. In case you’re wondering, I was told that it was okay that some of the things in the museum weren’t made with paper bags. She’s the curator, so I couldn’t really argue with that.

paper bag museum

We set up a Vistor Services Desk with information about our admission policies and hours. It’s really important for people to know that they can’t hang out in our house at dinner!

paper bag museum

We gathered up all the paper bag creations that weren’t hanging from the beams and displayed them here. Maps are in the basket on the left and she set up an interactive activity in the paper bag “basket.” More on that in a sec.

paper bag museum maps

We talked about how museums share all sorts of informative collateral for visitors to pick up, like maps, schedules, and catalogues. I cut a big paper grocery bag into squares and she decided to turn them into maps. To make this map, we started with a “you are here” dot, and then she added trails into the various rooms of our house, also marked by dots.

paper bag museum maps

But why stop with one map when you’re expected a big audience!

interactive museum prompt with kids

Then she handed me a stack of post-its and dictated this participatory prompt to me.

The museum educator in me was so proud!

This wasn’t going to be some stuffy old museum — oh no, she was thinking about her visitors’ experience and wanted to make sure their voices were heard!

paper bag museum

Our first visitor woke up from her nap just in time for the opening, and got right to work with a drawing. The prompt worked!

The museum is now closed for the installation of a new show. My one year old is enamored by fish, so maybe we’ll figure out a way to build her an Aquarium!

What’s your child’s favorite kind of museum? Could you set up an imaginative play area based on it?

 


If you’re interested in reading more about participatory museums, Museum 2.0 is one of my favorite sites, and it’s run by Nina Simon, Executive Director of The Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz and author of The Participatory Museum.

 

Comments

  1. Cathy @ NurtureStore says

    She sounds super cool. I’d love to come visit her museum. My girls love museums that have dressing up areas so they can become some of the people they’ve seen in the paintings.

  2. Anna Ranson says

    How adorable!! I love that she really understands the ideas behind how a museum is run! I was once involved in a museum project with some 5th years/graders at my school where I got them to design their own “museum space” in their classroom. It was fabulous watching their thinking and seeing how amazingly hands-on all their brainstorming was. They set up interactive displays showcasing their work invited 400 pupils and their parents to come along, made guides, labelled displays etc. It was fabulous! 

  3. crystal Underwood says

    This is really cute!  My daughter is just entering the imaginative stage, and I am so looking forward to it!  Such a magical time!

    • rachelle says

      Hi Sarah,
      You could begin by asking her what’s in an aquarium and make a list. From there, you could talk about where your aquarium will be (which room in your home…or outside), and what you could use to make a tank/jellyfish/viewing area. If you try this, I’d love to hear how it goes.
      Rachelle

  4. Melissa @ tcmt says

    What an entertaining post..love it! I asked C her fav museum and she said the science museum because you can do things there! She said she liked the Art Museum, but you couldn’t do anything! Good point? Sounds like you had a fun day with paper bags. Too bad we couldn’t visit your museum…

  5. Rebekah Patel says

    What a lovely idea!  This reminds me that I need to take my daughter to an art museum.  

  6. Natalie says

    Love this! What a versatile use of paper bags. Our favorite museums always have more to do with science than with art. San Jose CDM is great.

  7. Mrs. Stoltenberg says

    I love this idea! At my preschool, we created a “Deep Ocean” by hanging up dark blue fabric around the play kitchen area. I moved all of the kitchen toys out. Then we put in a black light and created all types of fish art projects that glow in the dark and have florescent colors. (We were learning about the very bottom of the ocean floor~~ created anglerfish and dragonfish!)  Black lights are very fun with preschoolers, but make sure they don’t touch the light. ;)

    • Rachelle says

      Ooooh, black lights sound like a lot of fun! Grabbing a pencil and adding black lights to my next shopping list! Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. says

    It’s nearly impossible to find educated people in this particular subject, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about!

    Thanks