Like the Museum of Cycladic Art, The Museum of Greek Children’s Art is a museum rather than a gallery. This got me thinking – why do we see ‘museum’ when ‘gallery’ might fit better? Again, the art is the focus – it’s right there in the title!- but the place identifies as a μουσείο rather than a γκαλερί. Considering the Museum of Greek Children’s Art inspires children’s creativity, it makes sense for them to take their title from the Muses, the ancient goddesses of inspiration.
“You know we have children’s art on display?” The woman on the front desk asks me, incredulous that someone like me could be interested in what is hanging on the walls. I clearly didn’t have any children with me, so what on earth could I be doing there?
“Yes,” I replied, “That’s why I’m here. I work in museums with children,” I explained a bit about my work with Towner Art Gallery, Kids in Museums and the British Museum. Being mindful that the Museum of Greek Children’s Art is at the foot of the Acropolis, I didn’t linger too long on that last place. Just in case. I told her that I was particularly in coming for a visit because of work, especially my work at Towner as we have an annual exhibition of school children’s art.
As soon as my museum-professional-who-works-with-children credentials were proven, the woman who was initially so suspicious of my motives for being there, warmed up considerably. She gave me a quick tour of the exhibition on the ground floor, clearly taking great pride in the work the children had produced. It was certainly impressive, with the children exploring Inclusion and Diversity in one brightly lit gallery space, and Racism in a much darker room. A darker room to match the darker theme.
Another exhibition explored the work of a Greek Artist, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas. Children’s responses to artists are always fascinating, they see things that grown-ups often miss, or interpret things in a way that wouldn’t occur to anyone over a certain age…
Now, back with my Museum Education Hat on, I have to say I was impressed and charmed by the in-gallery resources of the Museum of Greek Children’s Art. This one, the Perspex cubes featuring children’s work was an especially nice touch.
It was in keeping, not just with the museum’s ethos of children’s art work being the central element but with the theme of the exhibition too. To me, it demonstrated how we’re all different but can find similarities with each other.
I was also fond of the jig-saws. Who doesn’t love a jig-saw?