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Uffizi Gallery brings Renaissance masterpieces up to children's level

Uffizi Gallery brings Renaissance masterpieces up to children's level

Jean Dubreil | Nov 24, 2021 3 minutes read

The Uffizi has rebranded its children's programming. A team of traveling representatives are dedicated to answering young visitors' questions. The aim is to normalize art for kids so they'll think to themselves, "I'll stop by the museum," an official says.

02.jpeg La Tebaide by Beato Angelico, lowered to children's eye level (Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy)

Children may cringe at the prospect of being hauled around one of the world's most famous museums, but the Uffizi has stepped in its efforts to ensure that their youngest visitors are satisfied. UffiziKids, which debuted on Thursday, is an eye-catching new brand that combines the museum's previous children's activities with a few twists. A bright new website and a team of traveling representatives dedicated to answering small tots' nagging questions are among the innovations.

According to Uffizi personnel, approximately 1,150 youngsters visited the museum in 2019. The museum intends to persuade many visitors to return by rebranding its children's programming. "You can open their eyes to the magic of art if you communicate with youngsters in the proper way," Silvia Mascalchi, coordinator of the Uffizi's Education Department. "We want to normalize art for kids so that when they're older, they'll think to themselves, 'I'm going to the city, I'll stop by the museum.'"
Mascalchi says that because children are "masters at asking challenging questions," the Uffizi has designated around 40 guards as children's representatives who will be their point of contact during visits. The voluntary plan is open to all of the museum's guards, according to Malschalchi, and some of the team's "youngest and most knowledgeable" members were among the first to sign up. The reps, who started on Friday, do these jobs in addition to their regular responsibilities of "monitoring and welcoming." They've been given distinctive collar pins to make it easier for kids to recognize them.

The new online portal, adorned with a giant smiley (the emblem of UffiziKids), offers current content for children, such as printable worksheets for thematic paths - on monsters, flowers, and predella ( lower panels of the altarpieces) - as well as information on exhibitions suitable for families. The Measure of the Toddler Crescere nell'Antica Roma is an archaeological exhibition that examines Roman notions of childhood through art. It opened on November 22. While the exhibit is aimed at adults, it includes elements for children, such as reduced descriptions of labels, comics, and pieces on display at a child's height. As part of related activity, children can enjoy popular Roman games in the Boboli Gardens.

The Education Department (known as the Didactic Section until 2015) was founded by Maria Fossi Todorow in 1970 and organizes school visits, guided tours for families, and special help for disabled individuals. Mascalchi continues, "Fossi Todorow suggested youngsters should look at the predella because they contain enormous universes to delight about." The department's strategy remains centered on literally bringing art down to the level of children. Beato Angelico's lavishly wrought Tebaide (about 1420), a favorite with children, was suspended at 65cm from the ground in 2019. When asked which picture will be the next to be lowered, Maschalchi said: "I'd prefer that the youngsters make the decision. Maybe the new reps will tell me which works they enjoy the most."

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