How to Make your Own Passport to Access foreign reserves of Treasure

The Netherlands is like a giant candy store for museum lovers; they are everywhere and about everything ranging from classical to contemporary art in multiple mediums, history, religion, architecture, anatomy and science.

As a museum lover myself, I have been wondering how to instill this love of art and culture into our son. How does one go about interesting a seven year old in Kandinsky or Giacometti? Jan Steen or Rembrandt? Thus far, I only have a partial answer; through repeated exposure so it is like part of his or her cultural landscape. Thus our museum passport project.

A few weeks ago, I took my son to Museon, a popular museum for kids in The Hague with hands-on exhibits about science, animals, minerals, geography and much more. We stopped by the gift store before we entered the museum and I let him pick out a tiny notebook. When we checked in with our museum card, I asked the cashier if she had anything to stamp my son’s museum passport. She located a stamp with the museum address and stamped his passport with the air of an official, and just like that, we gained access to a new world!

We explored a photo exhibit of endangered animals across the world, we tried our hand with an interactive exhibit on how to tell the difference between counterfeit items and the originals; we played a game with a robotic arm that moved from player to player, dropping discs into slots based on the buttons you pushed. At the end of our visit, we wrote up our favorite exhibits.

On another day, we headed to Naturalis in Leiden, receiving the second stamp in our homemade passport. This time I brought an iPad to do a bit of photo documentation and my son helped choose the items that he deemed worthy of sharing. I think his favorite item was an exhibit that combined million year old dinosaur eggs with with contemporary technology. Here is the video one would never have thought possible:

They say seven is the age of reason. I say it’s the age of manipulation negotiation. My son negotiated with me on day one of our museum adventures that after 10 museum visits, he is eligible for a present. It certainly does help with motivation.

An elitist, outrageously expensive project? Not necessarily. The Netherlands has an amazing concept called the Museum Card. You can purchase a Museum Card (MuseumKaart) for 45 euro a year, gaining access to about 400 museums throughout the Netherlands. Considering access to most museums ranges from 10 to 20 euros per visit, you make your money back very quickly. Occasionally, a museum on the list will be having a special exhibit, requiring an additional fee of 2 or 3 euros, but this is a small pittance considering the world to which you are gaining access.

I know that 45 euro is a lot of money, especially if you only go to the museum once in a while. One amazing thing about the socialistic nature of this country, is that they also think about cultural access for those of lesser financial means. Thus, if you fall into this category and happen to live in The Hague, you and your family members do not need to be shut out of cultural opportunities. Consider looking into the Ooievaarspas, a program offered through the city of The Hague that provides lower-income residents with free or discounted access to many cultural and educational programs in and around The Hague.

Other ways to keep this project smooth sailing and within budget is to pack plenty of healthy snacks and beverages and avoid the gift store and museum cafe for anything more than a coffee.

Want to join the museum crusade? Make your own Museum Passport and start visiting museums in your area.

(If you are a member of homeland security, the NCA, AIVD or FBI visiting my blog due to that dubious blog title, I apologize for the scare. This is about the homemade Museum Passport project my son and I started this January and why you might want to join in on this mission. When I say you, I don’t necessarily mean you law enforcement types, though I am not opposed to the idea).


About the Teacher

About the Teacher.

Live in the Santa Barbara area? Have children under 10? Believe music is important? Then check out Boom Boom Sing!

Antara Hunter is an amazing musician with a golden voice and great with kids. If I still lived there, I would be signing Ezra up for lessons.

Wishing you success with your new venture Antara!

I’ve been Prined and I’ve been Schooled

Saturday, an Indonesian church rented our building to hold their church service. A crew of young members arrived early to set everything up, and a young boy, no older than eight or nine, was standing in the hall, looking a bit bored. He came to the counter and I expected him to order a “Chocomel” (chocolate milk) or a pack of Mentos. He asked me for the wi-fi code. I thought it was kind of sweet, this little boy wanting internet access. Anyway, I pulled out a piece of paper with our 15-digit long code. He had this rather impassive look on his face as I explained that the first long series of numbers was the name of our connection and the second the log in code. The long code is quite often daunting to grown up clients who ask for internet access, so I couldn’t imagine how this little guy was feeling.

I took his iPhone in my hand and started typing in the code. Except, I was having trouble switching between capitals and lower case, my fingers a bit clumsy when searching out numbers rather than letters. He started explaining it to me, and I smartly handed it back to him.
“How about if I read you the code and you can type it in.”
“Okay.” As I read, his fingers flew along, waiting impatiently for me to catch up.
“Can I also use it to log in on my iPad?” he asked. You have an iPhone and an iPad? I asked indignantly in my head. You’re what, seven, maybe eight?
“Sure,” I responded cheerfully. “You can keep a copy of this paper.”
“I’ll just take a photo,” he said.
“Oh. Yeah. That’s a good idea,” I responded. I didn’t see a smirk on his face. I’m sure this happens to him all of the time, interacting with slow, older people. AT this point, I was holding my head up high just by the mere fact that I towered over this youngster.

As I walked away with my silly paper, it came to me: In 2011 I had been Prined and in 2014 I had been Schooled. Being Prined is a joyous occasion. On the other side of the spectrum is being schooled; by a little boy; a little boy who has a smart phone, an iPad and quick little fingers.

I remember when I considered my mom and dad silly and antiquated because they had no idea who the Red Hot Chili Peppers were, and didn’t have a clue how to write an email. But I was in my mid 20s in grad school, spending gobs of hours in the computer lab; they in their 60s, enjoying the early stages of retirement. This recollection makes me feel rather uncomfortable as the wheel of Karma does its spinning thing in my direction.

It’s a well-known fact that the Indonesians are blessed with youthful countenances. Perhaps this little iPhone, iPad toting boy was actually a bright young college student who looked young for his age. The second stage of being Schooled; denial.