With the opening of the Gustav Stickley and the American Arts & Crafts Movement exhibition, we’ve turned our thoughts to the decorative arts. In this month’s preschool classes, we’ve talked with children about the wide variety of chairs in our living and working spaces—chairs that denote power (thrones), chairs that protect us (child car seats), chairs that offer a place to relax (beanbags). And as we begin to compare and contrast all these different chairs, we realize that chairs don’t have to be just a place to sit, but can also be an artistic expression. Be it ergonomic, playful, or practical, a chair can actually say a lot!
The next time you visit the museum, why not try searching for chairs? I walked through the galleries today and found chairs in one display or another on every single floor! Here are some conversation starters for “chair”-iffic discussions:
- Which chair would you most want to sit in? Why?
- What types of materials are the chairs made out of? Or, if you are more in the scavenger hunt mood, challenge your family to find chairs made out of cardboard, stuffed animals, plastic, metal, mother of pearl, or wood.
- If you could design a chair to be in the museum, what would it look like and what materials would you use?
Stop by the Center for Creative Connections on Level 1 for a fun hands-on activity focused on chairs and designed spaces. You can look at two chairs from the collection, then mix and match images of chair backs, seats, and legs to create your own imaginary place to sit. And perhaps one of my current favorites here at the museum—spend time in the Community Partner Response Installation by students at Skyline High School. I can’t help but smile as I see children’s plastic school chairs transformed into shapes that remind me of towers, flowers, curly slides, waterfalls. It’s truly amazing to see how the students transformed a space with nothing but chairs. And you’ll never look at a child’s chair in the same way again!
Posted by: Leah