Ariel Gory is the Education Specialist at the National Museum of American History and she has lots of exciting family programs for you to check out, in between visiting exhibits with your Bambinos. The museum also has two interactive learning spaces to visit; Wegmans Wonderplace and Spark!Lab.
At the National Museum of American History, we believe the museum is for people of all ages! With early learners we know it takes a special approach to education to ensure that they have meaningful, memorable experiences within our spaces. That’s where 2 ongoing events; Museum ABC’s and History Time come in.
Museum ABC’s and History Time are designed to introduce our youngest visitors (ages 0 to 6) to our museum collections in developmentally appropriate ways. Through stimulating close-looking techniques, engaging story times and hands-on opportunities for play and creation, we hope to facilitate learning moments for little ones. Both programs also aim to support early literacy learning through letter-learning and interactive reading. Our goal for our early learning programming is to spark a lifelong love for learning and museums within the hearts of young children and to inspire the adults in their lives to use our collection as a resource to support their child’s learning journey.
On the first and third Saturday of every month, from 11:00 am–12:00 pm (story will be read at 11:00am and 11:30am) little ones can learn about a new topic (like colors, transportation, music or numbers) through an interactive story time, arts and crafts, play, and hands-on exploration of real museum artifacts at History Time. Below, you will find the description of the History Time programs, from November through March for your reference. Meet on the First Floor, West Wing, Coulter Performance Plaza for this free program.
November – Food
1st and 3rd Saturdays in November are all about food. Come enjoy delicious stories, participate in food games and crafts, and explore cookware from our collection!
December – Toys and Puppets
1st and 3rd Saturdays in December are all about toys and puppets. Come hear a playful story, create your own puppet and learn about toys in our collection.
January – Alphabet
1st and 3rd Saturdays in January are all about the alphabet. Come hear a letter filled story and engage in an alphabet craft and fun activities that encourage early alphabet learning.
February – Numbers
1st and 3rd Saturdays in February are all about numbers. Come hear counting stories, learn about numbers, colors, and shapes with toy clocks and create art with numbers!
March – Color
1st and 3rd Saturdays in March are all about color. Come hear a colorful story, make art and practice color identification through fun games and activities.
Wegmans Wonderplace is a learning space designed especially for children ages six and under combines age appropriate activities with museum collections and touchable objects to provide a gateway to history and a place to exercise curiosity for the youngest historians. Bambinos are welcome to exercise their imaginations, wiggle their bodies, and explore with their hands. Wonderplace is built around the enduring wonders of childhood, the things kids are naturally curious about—blocks, animals, sounds–and branches out to make connections to the museum’s diverse collections and exhibitions. Our youngest visitors will cook their way through a kid-sized Julia Child’s kitchen, find the owls hiding in the Smithsonian Castle, and captain a tugboat based on a model from our collections. Through playful activities and creative displays of treasured artifacts, young children will get to know the faces, places, and stories of our country in engaging and age-appropriate ways.
On weekdays, admission to Wonderplace is on a first come, first-served basis. There may be a brief wait to enter during busy times. On weekends and federal holidays, we may use FREE, timed tickets to minimize wait time if needed. Tickets are available for 30-minute visits on a first-come, first-served basis. No tickets are required for the first session from 10:00am- 10:30 am. To visit during a later half-hour session, visitors may pick up a ticket at Wonderplace in 1 West. The last entry is at 3:30 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays, open 10am-4pm other days.
While at the museum be sure and stop in to Spark!Lab, where museum visitors become inventors. The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation invites children between the ages of 6 and 12 to create, collaborate, explore, test, experiment, and invent. Activities for children and families incorporate traditional science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) with art, museum, and creativity.
Spark!Lab activities are designed around common themes that connect to Museum collections and exhibitions. These themes will change on a regular basis, ensuring that regular visitors have something new to explore.
Spark!Lab is open 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and is closed only on Tuesdays.
On November 30th,2017 little ones are invited to join us at the museum for a special Sesame Street Celebration! We will be celebrating with a “Create Your Own Character” craft, a music making station, Sesame Street story times and a rare opportunity to see Sesame Street characters out of the Museum’s storage. Plus, families will be able to meet Julia, one of Sesame Street’s newest residents who lives with autism, during meet and greet sessions throughout the day. This event is free and open to everyone!
National Museum of American History
1st Floor, West Wing
Coulter Performance Plaza
12th St. and Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20001