Museum Adventures: 10 Learning Adventures with Museums10 this Holiday Season

10 Learning Adventures with Museums10 this Holiday Season

Don’t stay cooped up this winter! Museum adventures await you—make art with your children, enjoy contemporary art yourself, take in a gallery talk, or join in a game of table top nine pins. There is something to explore at each of the Museums10 member institutions during December, and beyond! 

Mead Art Museum
For those into art, the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College is a great place to visit. Not only is the admission free, but they feature world-class exhibitions. Take in the work of 20th-century American artist Josef Albers or explore the many ways nighttime can be captured in painting and print. A great place to dig deeper and learn more about the works on display is the Mead Musings blog, filled with fascinating facts, interesting conversations with museum curators and others, and thoughts on topics in the news. (Amherst, MA)

Beneski Museum of Natural History, Amherst College
Travel back in time, journeying from the prehistoric to the present, and take your photo with a dinosaur—or better yet, walk in the tracks of dinosaurs, at the Beneski Museum of Natural History, Amherst College. The Beneski is home to 200,000 objects, 1,700 of which are on display. Fun fact: Since June 2013, the Beneski has displayed a Dryosaurus altus dinosaur, one of only two mounted specimens of its species in the world. Best of all? The Beneski is free. (Amherst, MA)

Emily Dickinson Museum
Celebrate “A Dickensian Christmas with the DickinsonsDecember 19 at the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst. Experience the holidays, and Emily Dickinson’s home, like never before, filled with new objects on display throughout The Homestead and The Evergreens. Each of the day’s special tours will end with an intimate reading of A Christmas Carol by award-winning author Tony Abbott. (Amherst, MA)

Hampshire College Art Gallery
As the fall semester winds down, art students will be presenting their work in a dynamic series of gallery shows at the Hampshire College Art Gallery. Since its inception, the gallery has been a wonderful teaching space for Hampshire students. They have exciting opportunities to share their work with the broader community, displaying the talents and skills they have cultivated during their college careers. (Amherst, MA)

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art has always been a great place to explore beloved children’s literature and for children to experiment with making their own art in the Carle’s studio. Their terrific Making Art with Children blog is a rich resource of ideas and inspiration for doing creative projects with kids. During the holidays, children and families can make their own books about the alphabet, enjoy a show in the auditorium, or tour the Mary Blair exhibition featuring artwork by an inspirational artist who set the tone for many of Walt Disney’s classic movies. (Amherst, MA)

Mount Holyoke College Art Museum
Though the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum will be wrapping up a couple of exhibitions in early December, they will be unveiling a new exhibition featuring work by photographer Joel Meyerowitz. Their new website is an educational treasure trove, as well, filled with rich information about (and gorgeous images of) their collections. (South Hadley, MA)

Historic Deerfield
During the cold holiday month, families can warm up at Historic Deerfield, making hot chocolate mix inspired by a colonial recipe or joining in a game of checkers, table top nine pins, or ball and cup at the Tavern. Learn about the history of sugar and spice in baked goods at one of their Open Hearth Cooking Demonstrations or make a handmade gift for a loved one. (Deerfield, MA)

Smith College Museum of Art
Over at the Smith College Museum of Art, families can enjoy Free Second Friday December 11, with hands-on activities, guided tours, and light refreshments. On view until early January, visitors can check out feminist art in the Women’s Work exhibition, learn about the urban experience of people in East Asia who have relocated from the countryside, and explore the museum’s new media gallery. (Northampton, MA)

  • Read more in our Museum Adventure series: Smith College Museum of Art

University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMass Amherst
The University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMass Amherst is in the midst of celebrating it’s 40th anniversary, and starting in January they feature the work of local artists and designers in an exhibition that will culminate in a silent auction. They will also host an innovative video installation from artist Hank Willis Thomas that seeks to redefine black male identity in America. (Amherst, MA)

Yiddish Book Center
The Yiddish Book Center will be hosting a gallery talk about their visiting exhibit, “A Town Known as Auschwitz.” The U.S. director of the Auschwitz Jewish Center at the Museum of Jewish Heritage will give the talk in the afternoon on December 13. On Sunday, December 27, the Center will screen the documentary “Orchestra of Exiles,” which explores a Polish violinist’s life and efforts to save hundreds of Jews from the Holocaust.  (Amherst, MA)

Families can celebrate Hanukkah with a day of activities for all ages on Sunday, December 6. There will be songs, story time, and scavenger hunts throughout the center.

These museums comprise Museums10, a dynamic collaborative that inspires, engages, and enriches their communities through shared experiences of art, literature, history, and the natural world.


Taliesin Nyala
Taliesin Nyala is the coordinator for Museums10, a collaborative of ten museums affiliated with the Five College Consortium. To celebrate their 10th anniversary in 2015, Museums10 members are writing a monthly column in Hilltown Families about all there is to explore and discover in their collections.

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