Check It Out with Smithsonian Libraries

by Sara Cardello

Check It Out is a collaborative program between the Smithsonian Libraries and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s Education Departments. The program provides kits to families with young children that they can “check out” during their visits in the galleries. There are three different bags, each one anchored by a children’s book, simple hands-on materials, and a suggested artwork to visit. Carpet squares are left in front of each artwork to encourage sitting, careful looking, and really investing in the materials provided.

The goal is to provide parents familiar books to help make the unfamiliar of a contemporary art museum less daunting. Each Saturday morning, between 10am-2pm, our local teen docents set up the Check It Out cart in the entrance of the Hirshhorn’s 3rd floor exhibit “What Absence is Made Of”. Families can drop by and explore the hands-on material on the cart, choose a book, and borrow a bag for the duration of their visit. The teen docents are ready to provide guiding questions, art suggestions, and all-around tips for a successful family outing. Check it out.





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