Lonely Planet Writer

In New York the Whitney Museum’s Stroller Tours welcome crying babies

Babies can bring unending joy, and they can also bring an end to sleep, smooth travel, and the stress-free enjoyment of enriching cultural activities. Now, a New York City museum aims to change at least one of those. The Whitney Museum of American Art has launched Stroller Tours, hosting parents and caregivers with babies up to 18 months — whether or not they’re quiet. In fact, the museum advertises the tour with an enthusiastic, “crying babies are welcome!”

Tours are conducted an hour before the museum opens, from 9:30-10:30 am, allowing attendees to take in the artwork without the anxiety associated with a fussy baby ruining the experience for another (child-free) museum-goer. Led by PhD candidates in art history, Whitney Teaching Fellow guides adapt the tour in consideration of each particular group, adding an extra break or speaking louder to compensate for extra noise (perhaps from an infant who hasn’t yet developed an appreciation for the abstract expressionist works of Jackson Pollack), Billie Rae Vinson, the Whitney’s Senior Coordinator of Family Programs, explained to Lonely Planet. Vinson stressed families with newborns should always feel welcome at the museum, but the Stroller Tours are another option for an immersive art experience without the crowds.

Different exhibitions are highlighted each month, and this Saturday, 25 February, the tour will explore Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s. The exhibition features the work of nearly forty artists, including Jean-Michel Basquiat and Carlos Alfonzo, focusing on paintings from the decade.

The Whitney Museum re-opened in a sleek new, Renzo Piano-designed home in the Meatpacking District in May 2015, and now sit adjacent to the High Line with views of the Hudson River. The museum also offers plenty of family programming, including open studio, where kids of all ages can make their own artwork inspired by works in current exhibitions, and sketching tours, for kids aged between six and ten years old. Tickets for Stroller Tours are $25 per adult, plus Museum admission, which is $22 for adults, $17 for seniors, and free for members and children under 18.

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