The Tate Modern

We’ve probably said it before, but I’ll say it again, the museums in London are outstanding, and the Tate Modern no exception.  Like most London museums it’s also free.Probably the highlight of the Tate Modern is the massive Turbine Hall (it’s an old powerstation built after the war and de-commissioned in the 80’s).  Along the length of this is a work called “Shibboleth”, a giant crack running the length of the hall (maybe 100 metres).  A great summary can be found here and I reccommend reading it just for a background on the symbolism.


As you can see from the two photos above, it is a huge piece of art!


Of course the kids loved it, and had to walk from one end to the other with their feet either side.


Ella straddling the crack.After this adventure we wandered into the rest of the building and found ourselves at the “start” stand which has lots of games for kids to take and help them experience the museum. I can’t rave about this enough — it’s one of the best approaches for kids experiencing art I’ve ever seen and both us and the kids found it rewarding and learnt a lot, it’s worth coming to London for on it’s own!So what was it? Well there are about 10 different “games” for different age groups, the kids chose to do the drawing game. We sat down and got guided through the game by an assistant, who explained it (it needed it – it seemed very complex), and then we were set loose. We had a map of a particular gallery, and had to find some specific paintings. The kids then had to analyse them using a check list and tick off things like if the painting had layers, brush strokes, pinching, splashing etc. as well as how it made them feel and if it was angry, calm etc. To assist with the analysis there were binoculars as well in the pack so they could look “up close”.


Jasper analysing a painting.Once this analysis was completed, they then were given instructions on drawing a similar painting themselves. The game included white card and good quality oil pastels, and the kids had to draw a picture of the members of their family, like one of the paintings, then cover it with white oil pastel and draw a second picture with tooth picks, like a second picture. They were so engaged with this and really took away far more than we could of given them ourselves.


Ella’s picture.


Jasper’s Picture.There were lots of activities in the game like this, another was examining a Jackson Pollock and then creating a similar experience by throwing material on the floor and then framing it. The other one they completed was to use a view finder to frame a view from the window of the museum, then paint something interesting they saw using bold charcoal strokes.


St Pauls Cathedral


Ella (left) and Jasper’s (right) interpretations.Anyway, this was just a great set of activities and something that we will certainly try to get back to do again. For the adults it was also a great experience, not only seeing the kids enjoy themselves, but to examine the likes of Jackson Pollock, Mattise and others for ourselves at leisure while the kids occupied themselves.


After this, we found a cafe in the museum and stopped for a drink and snack.


The kids amused themselves running around this pole with a little girl who they were playing with.


Jasper and his new friend.If you do get to London and come with kids, the Tate Modern is a wonderful experience.