Field Trip: Cincinnati Art Museum gives kids behind the scenes access any grownup would envy

CINCINNATI - Kids are getting a look at art from a new perspective at the Cincinnati Art Museum this summer.

Camp: Artworld

In Artworld, campers learn through a different theme each week, including music: “Around the World,” about art from each continent, and “Be Our Guest,” which focused on serving ware.

“We do a lot of the same things, but the way we approach it is different with the younger kids versus the older ones,” said Russell Ihrig, Coordinator of Interpretive Programming.

There is no obligation for children to participate in the camp every week, so the number of campers varies from one week to the next. This summer has brought in about 15 children per session each week, said Ihrig, who teaches the class along with Summer Camp Program Coordinator Chelsea Baker and Summer Intern for Learning and Interpretation Emily Hersman.

This year the museum is presenting Artworld in its abbreviated version and not offering the option of its usual full week. On Tuesdays, children ages five to eight can participate in one of two sessions, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. or from 1 to 3:30 p.m. The camp is available for nine to 12-year-olds on Thursdays during the same two time slots. Once work on the new Rosenthal Education Center is complete later this year, the museum will go back to adding both options.

“I really liked the last camp because we got to see art from all over the world,” said Aidan Ward, age 7.

Ihrig, Baker and Hersman take the campers on an interactive museum tour focused on the theme, followed by two hands-on activities.

“We try to present the collection in a way that relates to them,” Ihrig said.

At a recent "Be Our Guest," the kids got a behind-the-scenes look at a room where works of art are cleaned and repaired. A museum employee gave a tutorial on how to polish silver and taught the campers about cleaning copper and marble. The group then moved on to look at silver serving ware and pottery. Campers then polished silver and made their own pottery.

Madeline Ungerleiger, 6, said her favorite part of Art World was learning about how silver spoons were made historically.

“I really liked this camp the first time, so I wanted to do it again,” she said.

The core lesson is for kids to learn to look at art, Ihrig said. “Our approach with all our museum visitors is to make them look more deeply and thoughtfully at the art."

Call (513) 639.2971 for more information.

Got a tip for us about an awesome K-12 school, summer program or summer camp? Email Community Editor Holly Edgell at

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