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Resources for Families

The Addison always welcomes families with children of all ages! There are many ways to enjoy the Addison with children, both at the museum and from home.

At the Museum

Families & Educators Library

The Addison's Families and Educators Library is located in the Museum Learning Center in the Sidney R. Knafel Wing. The library features books for children ages 6 months to thirteen years relating to art, art-making, creativity, museums, artists represented in the Addison’s collection, and much more, as well as educational theory topics for educators. Families are invited to explore board books, picture books, short novels, and books containing activity ideas at the Museum Learning Center tables or in one of the armchairs, overlooking the Addison’s green roof and glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly.

This collection can be searched online through the Noble Library Network under Families and Educators. The Addison library is a non-circulating library.

While the Museum Learning Center and the library are open to all visitors, please be aware that Tuesday through Friday there may be classes in session in the Museum Learning Center. We ask that visitors wait until the class is over to peruse the Families & Educators Library and visit the Museum Learning Center.

The Addison’s Model Ship Collection

The Addison’s collection of 25 model ships has long been a favorite attraction for children. Writing about the Addison’s ship models in a recent Boston Globe article about great museums to visit with children, Mark Feeney observed “All are objects of wonder, beautifully detailed, and marvels of balanced strength and delicacy.” The Mayflower, the Santa Maria, and Half Moon, along with many other less well-known vessels, are all on view.

On hold for now:

Looking Together Activities

Each exhibition cycle, the Addison provides new Looking Together activities designed to help families engage with the artwork and each other in the galleries. Stop by the Visitors Services desk during your next visit to borrow a Looking Together tote bag with clipboards, paper, pencils, and other Looking Together materials related to the current exhibition season!

Drop-In Family Days

The Addison offers Family Days inspired by selected exhibitions on view in the galleries. Join us for art activities and exploration designed especially for the family audience!


From Home

Go on a virtual visit to the Addison!



More ideas:

Curating Kit​​

  • Curate an exhibition using some of the most-loved works from the Addison's collection! Based on the magnetic "My Addison Gallery" kits that are usually available in our Looking Together tote bags, the #AddisonAtHome Curating Kit includes a blank gallery and miniature works of art to cut out and arrange.​

  • Here is a fun take on the trending hashtag #MuseumFromHome: make your own mini museum using all of​ the art projects that your kids might be making right now. Think about how your ideas can be enhanced through labels – the bits of writing that accompany objects in a museum that typically give some factual information such as:

    Artist’s Name (year of birth)
    Title, Year the artwork was made
    Medium/Materials

    You can also add a few sentences of interpretation that go beyond what viewer’s already see to increase their understanding of the object. 

  • Create a mini pop-up gallery: visit bit.ly/addisonpopupgallery for directions.

  • Collections + Museums: Communicating Cultural Value: Teacher, Student, and Family Guide offers ideas for using your personal collections or toys in creative ways.

  • Take virtual tours of museums from around the world to explore works of all media and time periods up close.