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Get A Little Culture By Creating Your Own Museum At Home

Have you been lamenting that you’ve been unable to visit your favorite museums? Even though they’re starting to reopen, your family may not be ready to visit yet. Lament no more! Here are some suggestions for recreating the museum experience at home.

Megan Johnson · about 1 year ago

1. Pick a Type of Museum

Before you start gathering artifacts and hanging paintings, you’ll want to figure out what kind of museum you want. Here are some suggestions:

Art Museum

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Credit: Heeral Chhibber / CAMP

If you’re creative, an art museum may be the way to go. It’s a great way to display school art projects you have lying around the house, and a perfect excuse to create some new art! Use every format: digital, paint, crayon, pencil, clay (or playdough), and collage.

Natural History Museum

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Credit: Heeral Chhibber / CAMP

Head outside for everyone to explore and gather objects for display in your museum. Leaves, feathers, abandoned bird nests, unique rock samples — let the kids pick out whatever they find interesting. Take photos of any animals you see, or of anything too big to take inside.

History Museum

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Credit: Heeral Chhibber / CAMP

Gather photos and memorabilia from your family’s history such as baby shoes, diplomas, birth certificates. Decide together what you think is important to your family’s history: your Disney World bracelets, a special Halloween costume, a jacket someone was wearing when they sprained their ankle? Anything that has meaning to your family can go in your museum.

A Mixed Theme Museum

If you can’t decide on any of the above, curate a museum with a little bit of everything! You can use multiple rooms in the house, each one a different type. Or just split the one room you will be using into different sections. Give everyone in the family their own gallery to curate, with a uniform look when it comes to the displays.

2. Make Displays

Once you decide what kind of museum you’re making and you’ve gathered everything you want to put in it, now you have to set it up! You can simply set everything out on a table or two with labels (more on that in a minute), or create displays for the items, for a more official feel.

To Display Artifacts:

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Credit: Heeral Chhibber / CAMP

If you want to get the full museum experience, poke a hole in the top of a cardboard box and shine a flashlight through the hole into the box. This makes a great illuminated spot for an exhibition. If you want to have people over to view your museum but you’re still trying to remain socially distant, set up tables outside. Remember, it’s not where the exhibition takes place but how your artifacts are arranged. If you want to display a collection of rocks or other small objects, try arranging them in a design, or by color.

To Display Art/Photos:

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Credit: Heeral Chhibber / CAMP

Put any artwork or photos in old frames, or make frames out of cardboard. Use command hooks or heavy-duty sticky tape that won’t damage your walls. If you don’t want to hang them on your wall, simply set them up on a table.

3. Make Signs and Labels

Once you figure out how you’re going to display everything, it’s time to make signs and labels. First come up with a name for your museum, and make a welcome sign. Next, create signs for each section of your museum. They don’t have to be big. Printer paper or construction paper will suffice!

Work together as a family to decide what your labels should say. It could be a fun trip down memory lane as you remember the stories that go with each item. Here are suggestions for signs for each museum:

Art Museum

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Credit: Heeral Chhibber / CAMP

Each artist should have their own section of the museum with their artwork. Have the artist create their own bio for the beginning of their exhibit, and have them name each piece of art.

Natural History Museum

Section your natural history museum out by topic: animals, rocks, leaves — whatever items you find. Get creative when writing your labels for your exhibitions. Make up names for your natural artifacts like rocks and leaves, and create backstories for all your found objects, like stuffed animals.

History Museum

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Credit: Heeral Chhibber / CAMP

Section your museum out by decades or individuals, perhaps giving the grownups one section, and each child their own too. (Don’t forget to give your pets a section!) Work together to come up with captions for photos, and be sure to credit the photographer in your family.

4. Enjoy your Curation

If you’ve created a pod during the pandemic, this is the perfect time to invite them over to visit so they can stroll around your museum! Take photos to post on social media so everyone can enjoy it. And make sure you take the time to look at what you’ve created, too!