Samurai are best known as fierce warriors, donning elaborate armor from head to toe. So, some kids will love just that. But they were more than just warriors, with a rich culture focused on artistry, respect, balance, folklore and pageantry. A new exhibition opening at the Denver Art Museum (DAM) this month takes visitors into the culture and history of the samurai. Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection includes dramatic scenes with full-scale samurai on horseback, an area highlighting the armorers” workshop and special activities and programming to engage and teach kids. Here are some ‘ways of the samurai” that families can explore around the museum. denverartmuseum.org
Follow Tengu — a creature from Japanese folklore — as he leads families through the exhibition. Tengu narrates the Family Audio Guide (included with ticket purchase) to teach kids the way of the samurai.
Visit the Just for Fun Center (JFFC) in the Duncan Pavilion to learn the samurai process of getting dressed. Kids can try on a suit of armor.
Learn about patience and creativity, as kids build a peaceful garden using soft pillow ‘stones”, bonsai trees and lanterns, or try their hand at balancing or piling stone sculptures.
Kids can design their own helmet, just like the master craftsmen who designed and created samurai armor. Also visit the DAM’s permanent Asian Art gallery on level 5, where kids can play the Feel “n” Find game to learn more about the materials used to make the armor.
The samurai themselves had to be well-rounded individuals and patrons of the arts. Buddha Boards in the JFFC give kids a chanceto express their own samurai creativity by filling in missing portions of a mural by painting with brushes and water.
Visit during Spring Break: Brave & Bold, March 19-April 3, for samurai-themed campus-wide activities, create-and-takes and activity backpacks from the Family Activity Cart.
Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection? shows at the Denver Art Museum, March 6 – June 5, 2016 and requires an additional ticket. Tickets start at $20 and up for adults, $5 for youth ages 6-18 and free for children 0-5 years old. Audio is included with event tickets. Just For Fun Center Japan activities are available with general admission.