Delaware Art Museums
Art museums in Delaware and the Brandywine Valley exhibit artists from the region and from around the world, and feature fun (and often free!) art activities for kids.
Brandywine River Museum
Rte. 1, Chadds Ford, PA
Originally a 19th century gristmill, the Museum houses the works of American artists with a special emphasis on the art of the Brandywine region & the Wyeth family. Original illustrations from award-winning children’s stories are on view during Drawing from a Story: Illustrations by Selected Caldecott Medal Winners, March 20-May 23. Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are), Robert McCloskey (Make Way for Ducklings) & David Wiesner (Three Little Pigs) are among the illustrators featured. The latter will visit the Museum on April 11. A Children’s Day is also planned for April 1.
Tour Tips: Pick up a museum discovery game sheet. Kids’ audio tours also available. Read-Aloud Tours for ages 3-6 feature storytime and a related art project, March 4 & 11.
Cost Cutter: Free admission on Sunday mornings in March, 9:30am-12noon. Also, kids who read Caldecott Medal-winning books can earn a free admission ticket to the Museum anytime. Visit the Museum website for details.
$6-$10 admission, free for ages 5 & younger. Audio tours, $3. 610-388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org
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FREE Biggs Museum of American Art
406 Federal St., Dover, DE
This Delmarva art museum celebrates the surrounding sea with the special exhibit Blue Water/Still Water, March 5-June 20. Think summer with beautiful depictions of seascapes, shorelines and harbor views. Year-round, the permanent collection displays American paintings, sculptures and furniture designed by historical & contemporary artists. Kids can create art projects during popular, monthly programs: Biggs Kids (first Saturday, ages 5-10) & Mini Masters (third Wednesday, ages 3-5).
Fun Fact: A portrait painting of Elizabeth Lawrence Lecompte was painted by Gilbert Stuart, the same artist who painted George Washington for the U.S. dollar bill.
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Pkwy.,Wilmington, DE
The Museum boasts the largest British Pre-Raphaelite collection (works from 1800s England that were inspired by art from the Middle Ages) in the U.S., along with varied works by Delaware and American artists. A current special exhibit, Dinotopia: The Fantastical Art of James Gurney, depicts an imaginary world where dinosaurs & humans live in harmony. In the Kids’ Corner, young children can play with art and read storybooks while parents relax in couches and chairs. Families can extend the learning at home after a visit to the Museum by creating pictures and stories inspired by the Museum’s collections at www.artofstorytelling.org.
Tour Tips: Guided, family-friendly tours of Dinotopia and art projects are offered on Make & Take Saturdays: March 6, April 3 & May 1. Preschoolers can explore the Museum through stories, discussions and art projects during Glory of Stories on Friday mornings.
Fun Fact: When developing the Pirates of Caribbean movies, Disney requested images of pirates illustrated by Howard Pyle, whose accurate pirate pictures (among other illustrations) are exhibited at the Museum.
Cost Cutter: Admission is free every Sunday.
$6-$12 admission, ages 6 & younger free or $25 family pass (2 adults, up to 4 youth). 302-571-9590, www.delart.org
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FREE Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts
200 S. Madison St., Wilmington, DE
Current displays are family-friendly and include paintings, drawings & photographs, as well as videos and animations. The exhibit Spectrum: Contemporary Color Abstraction, explores various artists’ explorations of color. “SPLASH,” a family program on March 21, encourages kids to get messy with paint while learning about color, texture and shape.
Fun Fact: A sound installation in Terrain by Julianne Swartz features voices whispering messages of love in various languages.
Winterthur Museum & Country Estate
Rte. 52, Winterthur
This late 18th & 19th century country estate features an extensive antiques collection & a 60-acre garden, including Enchanted Woods, an outdoor space just for kids. Inside, don’t miss K for Kids, an alphabetical introduction to the collection. Special exhibits running in March include Flower Power: Floral Artistry at Winterthur, which highlights floral design, March 9-June 6, and Lost Gardens of the Brandywine, opening March 27, which focuses on lesser-known private gardens in the area.
Tour Tips: Learn about the du Pont family & build a mini photo album on Once Upon A Family tours, offered daily, 12:30pm. Through Hands-On History Carts on weekends, kids can explore exhibits through learning activities.
Fun Fact: Many chairs made in the mid-1700s, including those on display at Winterthur, had feet made to look like the claws of a dragon.
Cost Cutter: Visit Winterthur and nearby Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA for only $20 during a special Twice As Nice promotion, March 9-April 30.
$5-$18 admission. Re-opens for spring season on March 9. 800-448-3883, www.winterthur.org