What it is: Nasher Museum of Art is run by Duke University, and is a world-class art museum on campus. It is quite new, and has standing collections as well as top-notch temporary exhibitions as well. One Sunday every two months, the Museum holds a free Family Day, on which they offer one or two shows (dance, magic, demonstrations) as well as three or four hands-on activities for kids to participate in. As young as two years old, kids can already try some stuff out: coloring pages with neon pen to mimic Andy Warhol art, painting with China ink and Chinese brushes to paint images of bamboo, arranging seashells into patterns for photography, molding sculpey clay into abstract shapes.
What we like: The demonstrations are well-geared toward a range of ages and can last from 2 minutes to 30 minutes. The shows are generally high-energy, to keep kids' attentions. The space is gorgeous, and it's easy to take them outside if they need to blow off some steam.
What we would change: Though the museum has ample parking, it fills up quickly, and it can be a hassle finding overflow parking. The cafe also fills up quickly, so consider packing a lunch and eating outside before attending family days. The events are usually noon to four, so clearly, if you still have little ones who nap, come at the beginning.
In addition, on a regular day, I have heard that the exhibits are not as kid-friendly as they are on free Family Day. So, it may not be as good of a place to take kids on a typical day.
Website and other important information: The Nasher Museum is located on the edge of Duke's West Campus.
(The website has a calendar that indicates the next dates for family day)
Address: 2001 Campus Drive, Durham, NC 27705-1003
Phone Number: (919) 684-5135