Briscoe’s Storytime Stampede Offers Young Children a FREE Fun Way to Learn About the West
Families and caregivers of young children can enjoy Western fun and stories each month at the Briscoe Western Art Museum’s new Storytime Stampede. Featuring 30-minute programs designed for children ages 18 months to five years, Storytime Stampede will include stories told and acted out, books read aloud, movement activities, songs and art fun.
The new program series kicks off Saturday, Sept. 16 and will be held from 10:30 to 11:00 a.m. the third Saturday of each month. Adults bringing children to the Storytime Stampede will receive half-off general museum admission and children 12 and under always receive free admission at the Briscoe, turning Storytime Stampede into affordable family fun.
“Families often feel that children aren’t welcome in a museum, but exposing children to art at a young age opens them to new experiences – and can jumpstart their creativity,” explains Liz Jackson, President and CEO of the Briscoe Western Art Museum. “The more often children visit a museum and enjoy the experience, the more comfortable they become with art overall. Programs like Storytime Stampede foster creativity and help families connect in different ways. It’s one of the reasons the Briscoe offers free monthly programs for children, as well as free field trips – we believe in the power of engaging and educating children through art. We want them coming to the Briscoe again and again to learn and grow.”
Storytime Stampede is designed to foster art awareness, fine motor development, language and literacy, cognitive development and social-emotional growth. Providing an excellent opportunity for families to unplug and practice their social skills, children can also work on language development and listening skills. Listening to stories provides children with a chance to be introduced to new words. As they learn new words their vocabulary will build – all while they’re having fun. Stories and topics for the series include:
- September 16: Hear “Bertie the Buffalo,” by Wendy H. Jones and make bison masks so you can play buffalo at home.
- October 21: Enjoy “The Three Little Javelinas,” by Susan Lowell and make maracas to enjoy the sounds of the West.
- November 18: Listen to “Shaped by Her Hands: Potter Maria Martinez,” by Anna Harber Freeman and Barbara Gonzales, then make Native American pinch pots to celebrate National Native American Heritage Month.
- December 16: Mark the holiday season with “The Gingerbread Cowboy,” by Janet Squires, then craft gingerbread cowboys from paper.
- January 20: Hear “Fry Bread,” by Kevin Noble Maillard, then make drums to start the new year off on a musical note.
- February 17: Learn the story of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, the groundbreaking Black tap dancer through “Rap a Tap Tap: Here’s Bojangles – Think of That!” and craft rhythm instruments to mark Black History Month.
- March 16: Squeeze some learning fun into Spring Break with special programming.
- April 20: Enjoy a Western-twist on a classic story with “There Was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea,” by Jennifer Ward and Steve Gray, followed by coloring and creativity.
- May 18: Get prickly with “Cactus Hotel,” by Brenda Z. Guiberson and have fun crafting cactus art as you learn about the desert.
- June 15: Giddy up for “Cowboy Camp,” by Tammi Sauer and decorate a cowboy boot together.
- July 20: Add some sweet to your summer with “Rio Ruby Invents the Pecan Pie,” by Robin Davis, then have fun coloring the official small mammal of Texas, an armadillo.
- August 17: Meet the coolest coyote around with “Way Out West Lived a Coyote Named Frank,” by Jillian Lund, then stay cool with some bandana art.
Full STEAM Ahead on the First Sunday: Free Education Series Offers Hands-on Fun
The Briscoe also offers “Full STEAM Ahead”, a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) learning experience to educate and entertain families about the West. Full STEAM Ahead is paired with the museum’s monthly Locals Day on the first the Sunday of every month, giving locals free admission to the museum and free hands-on educational opportunities. Learners of all ages work together and learn about the American West, with each activity tying back to the Briscoe’s art and artifacts to bring the West to life in a new way.
From transportation and weather to animals, astronomy and engineering, each program explores an aspect of life in the West to engage and inspire learning. Full STEAM Ahead is designed for all ages to enjoy, making it a terrific family activity. Enjoy STEAMing with your family 1 – 3 p.m. on the first Sunday of every month at the Briscoe. Upcoming programs include:
September 3: Full STEAM Ahead — Art in the Sky
Study the night sky through Kim Wiggins’ “Colonel Crockett’s Return to Cibolo Creek”. After a short study of the painting, everyone will create a bedroom planetarium to take home.
October 8: Full STEAM Ahead – Pottery of the Southwest
Learn more about the pottery made by Native Americans in the southwest, including the techniques they used to craft their pieces. Use those techniques to create a piece of pottery of your own.
November 5: Full STEAM Ahead – Native American Homes
Native Americans lived in a variety of homes. The type of home they built fit their culture and lifestyle. While learning about these different homes, put your engineering skills to the test and use materials provided to try to build a tipi, longhouse, wigwam or other types of Native American shelters.
December 3: Cowboy Christmas
Join the Briscoe to celebrate the holidays and meet Cowboy Claus as he makes a stop at the Briscoe to hear what all of the cowpokes want for Christmas. Cowboy Christmas at the Briscoe is free holiday fun, making the Briscoe the perfect way to make holiday memories with your family.
A Western Oasis: The Briscoe’s Collection
Nestled off the River Walk across from La Villita, the Briscoe campus includes the McNutt Sculpture Garden and features 35 sculptures portraying various aspects of Western life in the garden and around the museum’s beautifully restored historic building that once housed the San Antonio Public Library. The collection spans 14 galleries with Western art and artifacts, including Santa Anna’s sword, works by Frederic Remington, Pancho Villa’s last known saddle, a fantastic Alamo diorama and artifacts, contemporary and historic paintings, sculptures, an impressive spur collection, and other cowboy and Native American relics, weapons and photography.
To ensure the museum is accessible to everyone, the Briscoe features a variety of free and reduced admission offers, including free admission for children 12 and younger. The museum also welcomes Bexar County residents with free admission on the first Sunday of each month through its Locals Day program. Active duty military members receive free admission year-round and discounted admission for their immediate family members. Retired military members and their families also receive discounted admission. The museum also participates in Museums For All, Blue Star Museums and Bank of America Museums on Us. And of course, members of the museum always receive free admission.
The Briscoe is open Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and closed to the public on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The Briscoe is located on the south end of the River Walk, near the Arneson River Theatre and La Villita, with convenient parking at the Riverbend Garage directly adjacent to the museum or one of many downtown surface lots. Museum hours, parking and admission details are available online.
Photos courtesy of the Briscoe.