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        Charlotte, NC (April 2011)
Overall Rating: B+
Lewis Family Gallery
    The new Mint Museum in uptown Charlotte is a stark modern art museum that has been softened by a focus on children and families.  Which is a good fit, because after all, contemporary American art is nothing if not fun: crumpled cars (ala Chamberlain), Einstein baby leaping from a pillar, or a swordfish dresser.

The fun starts with the Lewis Family Gallery with hands-on activities for the kids based on art pieces in the museum.  It was difficult to get the kids to leave after an hour and they wanted to go back after touring the museum.

The fun continues into the galleries with the loan of a Family Art Pack, which contains art materials for the kids.  I was surprised by the excitement Emi had in laying on the floor to draw pictures of the art.  Most importantly,  it kept the children occupied allowing Toni and I to take the time to meander at liesure.

On the down side, the Mint is a modern art museum with only a few traditional/realistic pieces.  The pieces they have are quite good but there aren't any pieces from the European masters: Monet, Manet, Rembrandt.  Unfortunately, there are only a handful of pieces from American masters: Norman Rockwell, Sargent, Wyeth.  There is a nice collection of Ansel Adams prints.  

Overall, its a good way for a family to spend a few hours expanding their minds.  Of course, the kids aren't going to be quite as patient as the parents.  Toni was trying to catch up to Kyle, who had run ahead.  She walked up to a security guard and asked: "Have you seen my son come by this way?  He's wearing camouflage ...."


-  Brian


'La Cabeza'  Niki de Saint Phalle

 

 
Gotta Go!
1) Mint Museum Uptown


Skip It?
1) Mint Museum Randolph

Einstein Baby

Frog Vase
Lewis Family Gallery Lighttable

Family Grades
Toni (Mom) - B -  "The had something for everybody.  I liked that they had the backpacks for the kids while the adults were looking at other things.  I wish they had more stools."

Sean (12 yrs) - C - "It was really kind of boring just walking and looking.  The one piece I really liked was the evil looking crow vase."

Kyle (11 yrs) - B - "I liked crashing into the boxes."

Emi (6 yrs) - A+ - "I loved how I got to go inside the skull, it hurted a little.  I liked the small things I could do, like I made a little play about cleaning up.  I liked how there was that play area.  I liked how they used those interesting things to make those sculptures."

Details
Mint Museum Uptown
Mint Museum Randolph
Mint Museum
Why Go
1)  This is the primary art museum in Charlotte.  So if you have a hankering for art, this is the place to go.
2)  The museum has made an effort to cater to families.  The Lewis Family Gallery has hands-on activities for the kids and will keep them entertained for at least an hour.
Getting There
1)  There are two branches of the museum.  The new uptown branch and the original on Randolph Road.  Admission covers entrance to both branches.  The uptown branch is on the south end of Tryon Street (500 South Tryon St.) Map.  The Randolph Branch is a few miles south of uptown on Randolph Rd (2730 Randolph Rd) Map.
Advice
1)  On the first full weekend of the month Bank of America customers get free admission to the museum.  There is one hitch: each person wanting free admission must have a Bank of America card.  So, if you want free admission for the kids don't forget to bring the bank cards from their savings account.
2)  Admission is also free Tuesday evenings.  Have the family meet you uptown after work, tour the museum and grab some dinner.
3)  Pick up an Art Pack at the front desk.  This is a backpack with art materials which the kids can use in the museum.  Have the kids camp out on the floor to draw a piece of art while you take your time to wander the nearby galleries.
4)  Check the museum website for travelling exhibits and special events: Mint Museum 

Mint Museum Randolph
Why Go
1)  This museum does not hold much interest for the kids.  It primarily contains pre-Columbian art, ceramics, and historic wardrobes.  Moms will enjoy the fashion displays.
2)  A large portrait of Charlotte's namesake (Queen Charlotte, queen to King George 3rd) is here in case you're curious as to what she looked like.
Getting There
1)  There are two branches of the museum.  The new uptown branch and the original on Randolph Road.  Admission covers entrance to both branches.  The Randolph Branch is a few miles south of uptown on Randolph Rd (2730 Randolph Rd) Map.
Advice
1)  On the first full weekend of the month Bank of America customers get free admission to the museum.  There is one hitch: each person wanting free admission must have a Bank of America card.  So, if you want free admission for the kids don't forget to bring the bank cards from their savings account.
2)  Admission is also free Tuesday evenings.  Have the family meet you uptown after work, tour the museum and grab some dinner.
3)  Check the museum website for travelling exhibits and special events: Mint Museum




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