Un-Kid Friendly

UnknownAlthough arts institutions would never go as far as to ban small children from attending exhibitions, a trip to the De Young Museum today with my friend Laetitia and her toddler, Gabriel, made me believe that some museums might as well put up a sign saying “no kids allowed.”

The main problem is that parents aren’t permitted to take strollers into the galleries. So Gabriel walked around on his own, got under people’s feet and excited the ire of several docents when he tried to eat Cheerios and climb under a barrier separating one of the art works from the hoards of visitors. When his mother tried to carry him around, Gabriel squirmed and moaned and eventually made such a racket that we had to take him out into Golden Gate Park and go for a walk.

I don’t really understand why strollers are forbidden. It’s not like they take up much room. And with the low lights and masses of people visiting the museums, having a stroller makes it much easier for parents to enjoy the art works while keeping their kids safe.


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    • Juliak says

      What a selfish comment. Several schools have cut funding for the arts, and sometimes the only exposure they have is by parents taking them to museums and concerts. It would be a shame for our society to discourage kids from attending.

  1. Capt_Spaulding says

    But Juliak,
    Toddlers don’t contemplate art, they squirm and eat cheerios…Children who can walk around on their own and take the art in are most certainly welcome. Even a parent should get that.

    • Chloe Veltman says

      Sometimes, though, you can’t just leave your kid at home and you have to bring them even though you know they’re not going to contemplate the great masters. If strollers are allowed in the galleries then that means parents can come to the exhibition and bring their children without them causing mayhem.

  2. Pouncekitty says

    It’s not the kids, it’s the bad parenting! Most young parents stop having ANY respect for others once their children are born. It’s ALL about their kids, so they bring them to museums, the opera, restaurants, even bars. Totally selfish, as if no one else wanted to enjoy the quiet experience of a museum. Oh, no, those kids and their strollers MUST be there because that’s “fair.” What’s unfair is ruining the museum experience for others, who are (I can assure you) positively not interested in your children, their squirming, their noise, their cherrios, their immature behavior.. Leave them home, hire a sitter, give up that Coach bag or the expensive lunch and HIRE A SITTER! It’s about time young parents understood that most other people don’t want to put up with your kids.

    • Chloe Veltman says

      Completely agree
      I feel compassion for my friends who have kids
      But I think they’re often willfully naive about bringing them along to arts happenings
      So, yes, the strollers should be allowed in to accommodate parents who really can’t find a sitter
      But in principle unless the arts institution has organized a special “family day” or event, it’s probably best for parents to be a little more thoughtful

  3. CM says

    The rationale behind the stroller policies is never to specifically exclude children from visiting museums but rather has to do with protecting the art. Typically, if there isn’t space for strollers to safely move past artworks- with plenty of room for crowds/people coming from other directions/etc. – strollers aren’t allowed. They may not take up much room on their own but many factors have to be considered when dealing with crowd control and space limitations and these requirements are often written in to loan agreements, etc.

  4. Gabe says

    I agree with CM. Unfortunate but true. When I first tried to bring my then 8-month-old daughter to the Getty museum the experience was terrible for both of us. Bringing a stroller in would be a lifesaver, but indeed I could see that the galleries were too crowded. This will warm pouncekitty’s black heart, but basically I am out of luck as far as going to museums anymore. Btw it is elitist to assume that anyone can afford babysitting. Perhaps a “papa matinee” (or “mommy matinee” as the case may be), like they have in movie theaters would work. Once a month or thereabouts, an hour before regular opening.

  5. says

    It’s all about moderation and awareness of what’s going on around you. Having a hard and fast rule of “NO _____” (in this case strollers) is not done because a director/board/curator of that museum wants to isolate or be condescending toward adults with kids or kids themselves. The thing is that the idea of allowance on a “case by case basis” can’t be realistically carried out every minute a museum or other public place is open. So, a business has to keep the potential of incidents (not matter how rare) in mind. If 100 people with kids in strollers enter a gallery, probably 95 of them are fine and know to A) be careful when navigating around a room and B) know that when their child gets in a definitively sour mood, it’s time to go home. It’s the five that don’t know or choose not to do those things that are often the catalyst for the “No” rules of the world. It’s unfortunate but inevitable.

  6. Joe E says

    The solution *might* be simple. Why not have a couple of hours per week where the museum is open to strollers and young children? The rest of the time the strollers are banned. Anyone can go during these stroller/family-friendly hours, but you go with the full knowledge that it is an opportunity for parents and caregivers to bring strollers/young children. There doesn’t need to be “kid-friendly” programming–the museum is specifically and simply open for people who want to see exhibits and who have little kids and strollers. Strollers, by the way, *do* take up a lot of room–I live in NYC and museums are crowded. There are some strollers (the very inexpensive kind) that are quite small and lightweight but most of the ones you see are pretty bulky. Multiply this by hundreds and it’s a disaster in terms of trying to scoot around them. Moreover, kids often aren’t in the stroller–so you have a stroller, laden with bags and coats, plus a parent and a wandering toddler. It’s tough on everyone. I wonder if there’s room for compromise?