If you were in the museum on Sunday, February 8th you may have wondered why you heard drums, laughing, and noise makers coming from the Asian Gallery. All the noise was coming from a group of children led by docents Barbara Alvarez Bohanon and Suzanne Walker welcoming the Chinese New Year with a bang. As part of the Story of Art event series, children were invited to the museum to learn about Chinese Art and the traditions of Chinese New Year. The celebration began with docent Barbara reading a story, “My First Chinese New Year”. The children learned where China is and a little about the Lunar calendar, as well as learned many of the traditions of Chinese New Year. Did you know that for good luck in the new year you clean your house to sweep away the bad luck, get your hair cut to start fresh and new, and decorate with and wear red, the color of good luck? Those are just a few of many Chinese New Year traditions.
Animals are also a large part of Chinese New Year traditions from the dragon and lion dance during the parade to the animal zodiac of the year. In order to learn about the traditions of animals in Chinese New Year, docent Suzanne led the children on an animal scavenger hunt around the Asian gallery. All of the children seemed very excited to search the gallery for dragons, horses and tortoises hiding around the gallery.
After a very successful scavenger hunt it was time for the New Year Parade! The docents introduced all the instruments and the lion and dragon costumes. Everyone was so excited to play an instrument. Docent Barbara lined everyone up for the parade around the gallery and told the children to make as much noise as possible to bring in the New Year. The parade was a sight to see and hear! The line of children equipped with instruments and noise makers snaked its way around the gallery and filled the museum with a cacophony of sound, which ended the program for the day. After the end of the program I spoke with a group of kids, who had participated in the activities. They all said that they really enjoyed making noise and the scavenger art hunt. One participant, Caroline, said, “I loved the drums, a lot.” I also spoke with one of the moms at the event, Cindy, who said, “This is a great thing for all kids. My son is from China, so it was good for him to learn about his culture.”
Now that you know a little more about Chinese New Year, you can celebrate Chinese New Year on its actual date, Thursday, February 19th.
The David Owsley Museum of Art offers many programs for children throughout the year. Exposing children to art is a great way to give them the opportunity to learn about other cultures, time periods, and ideas. Coming up on Sunday, March 15 is Family Day from 1:30-4:30pm. At this event there will be tours of Fractured Narratives, gallery activities, scavenger hunts, hands-on art activities led by the BSU Art Education Club, stories and art activities that are all family-friendly. Bring your family and friends to Family Day and enjoy exploring the museum from a child’s perspective.