Here is Jill Cornfield's simple, half-hour timeline for taking kids to visit the Rubin Museum without fear. I found it in TimeOut New York KIDS and loved it. Don't forget to drop in to the Museum's gift shop afterwards.
TimeOut New York KIDS's Half-hour tour of the Rubin Museum
The sujuni in “Color and Light: Embroidery from India and Pakistan” Photograph: © Peter Aaron/Esto
Presented the right way, almost any topic can interest a child. Case in point: Himalayan art. My previously uninitiated eight-year-old, Ned, was enthralled with it on a recent trip to the Rubin, thanks to a careful plan. To replicate our visit, leave an ID at the admissions desk and borrow a Yak Pack, stuffed with toys and games. You can also grab a magnifying glass (available on each floor, usually near the stairs) in order to examine scrolls, Buddhas and needlecraft details.
00:00–00:03 Down a few steps from the main hall is a multimedia presentation that illustrates the distance between NYC and the Himalayas. Watch it, and you’ll have accomplished your first goal: establishing context.
00:04–00:05 Mosey over to the spiral staircase, stand at its base, and gaze up at the radiating spokes of the skylight. The gorgeous pattern holds a lesson: A trip’s highlight may turn out to lie in examining the museum itself.
00:06–00:13 On the fourth floor, head to “Color and Light: Embroidery from India and Pakistan” (through May 11). Stand in front of the sujuni, a quilt depicting children riding on elephants or surrounded by birds and bugs. Your tots will have a ball in the exhibit’s back room arranging felt shapes on boards.
00:14–00:16 Nearby is a boy’s embroidered jacket with extra-long sleeves, intended to be worn on special occasions. Ask your kids how the garment compares with their own fancy clothes.
00:17–00:20 Stand in front of the 19th-century white fabric hanging from Kashmir. Your kids may think it’s utterly plain until they peer at it through a magnifying glass and discover its intricate woven pattern of paisley and flowers. Challenge them to guess how many stitches compose the piece. Ned wagered about 10 million.
00:21–00:23 Proceed to the second floor’s permanent exhibit, “Himalayan Art: What Is It?” Here, your family will learn how plants and semiprecious stones are ground into pigments.
00:24–00:30+ Head to the gift shop and snag the Amazing Magic Flower ($2.50), a paper contraption that can be unfolded in myriad ways—not unlike a museum visit.
Written by Jill Cornfield TimeOut New York KIDS's Half-hour tour of the Rubin Museum