Free Family Days

Discovering Design: When Books Become Art takes place on Saturday, March 1, and launches the museum’s new series of free family days. Discovering Design, for children ages six through twelve and accompanying adults, takes place on seven Saturday afternoons through November and includes a range of happenings centered around a featured guest artist or designer who leads hands-on activities.

Books and book making are the theme of the inaugural program, with an art making workshop on altered books offered by Miami-based artist Mary Larsen, whose own work includes transforming pages of books to create layered “dreamscapes.”

The program runs from noon to 4 pm, with several activities to choose from; visitors can attend for the entire afternoon or a portion of it. The program begins with a screening of the Oscar-nominated animated film The Secret of Kells, which features an ancient, unfinished, magical book and the boy who decides to complete it. Visitors can then get a sense of the many unusual forms books can take during a tour of the museum’s rare book and special collections library with chief librarian Francis X. Luca. The library tour, offered at 1 pm and again at 2 pm, includes a selection of books in diverse forms, from traditional cloth- and leather-bound books to Futurist works printed on metal. The hands-on art making workshop with Mary Larsen takes place 1:30–4 pm.

Families who attend also receive free admission to the museum and are encouraged to tour the exhibitions. The Wolfsonian’s brand-new family gallery guide will be offered to all who attend Discovering Design. The guide, Discovering Design: Material Matters, is the first in a series of guides that will be produced during 2014. Each family-oriented gallery guide will focus on aspects of the museum’s permanent exhibition, Art and Design in the Modern Age, and will consider why we create art and design objects and how we talk about them in a museum setting.

Stay posted for announcements of future Discovering Design days, which take place on May 3, June 7, July 5, August 2, September 5, and November 1. The series is made possible by a challenge grant from The Batchelor Foundation, with matching support provided by Wells Fargo, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Carnival Foundation, and The Garner Foundation.

“By enabling us to launch an initiative that offers multiple opportunities for intergenerational visitors to engage with our collection and each other, these grants strengthen and enrich The Wolfsonian’s education programming,” says Jessica Kennedy, The Wolfsonian’s education programs manager.

  • Discovering Design: When Books Become Art is a free family day held Saturday, March 1, noon–4 pm. For information, contact



Altered book, page spread, The Restless Moment, 2011
Mary Larsen
Book with newspaper, maps, acrylic, ink, and wax
Courtesy of the artist