On a recent cool, rainy day, my kids and I found the perfect escape — a day trip to the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) to explore the Van Gogh and the Olive Groves exhibition. This is the first exhibition dedicated to the legendary artist’s olive grove series produced in the final year of his life, and it did not disappoint.
While I was thrilled for the opportunity to see this rare collection of paintings all under one roof for the first time in more than 100 years, I wasn’t sure it would hold the attention of all three of my children, particularly my 4-year-old. However, my hesitations were quickly put to rest.
As we entered the exhibition, we picked up a Van Gogh and the Olive Groves Family Guide brochure, which became the perfect tool for exploration for each of my children. My two older children were able to read information, descriptions, and questions about the paintings geared to their level of understanding, while my youngest loved looking at the pictures in the guide and then locating the actual paintings on the walls.
As an added bonus, a QR code on the back of the Family Guide has a wealth of additional kid-friendly information and resources, including Van Gogh coloring pages, that you can access at home.
Halfway through the exhibit is the Discovering the Olive Groves Gallery, which was a favorite stop for my whole family. This interactive portion of the exhibition brought the paintings alive in a whole new way for each of us. We learned about the materials Van Gogh used, how the paint colors have changed over the years, and the process by which Van Gogh developed his incredible paintings. My kids especially loved discovering the evidence of nature left on some of his outdoor paintings, such as twigs, insect prints, and sand.
Where you often think of an art museum as a hands-off experience, the opposite was true in the Discovering the Olive Groves Gallery. Instead, the DMA invites its guests to roll up their sleeves and touch, investigate, and look more closely at Van Gogh and his paintings through this exhibition. There are doors and flaps to lift for more information, magnifying glasses, lights, and x-rays to inspect canvases more closely, and tablets full of further exploration, all perfect for inviting little hands and minds into a more in-depth look at the art and the artist.
The Van Gogh and the Olive Groves exhibition is simply stunning. Experiencing it with my children made it even more enjoyable. We loved talking about which painting was their favorite and why. Their answers were unique and thoughtful and kept the conversation going long after we left the exhibition.
Plan Your Visit to Van Gogh and the Olive Groves
Your family can visit Van Gogh and the Olive Groves now through February 6, 2022, at the DMA. General exhibition admission for adults is $20 on weekdays (Tuesday – Thursday) and $25 on weekends (Friday – Sunday). As always, children age 11 and under are FREE.
Discounted or free admission is available for the following groups (weekday/weekend):
DMA Members: FREE
Children age 11 and under: FREE
Reciprocal Museum Memberships: $10/$12
Students with school ID: $16/$20
Seniors (65+): $18/$22
Military with DOD ID: $18/$22