This Sunday we went when the didn't have anything going on and just walked through a couple of collections, the MIA's contemporary art and the Frederick B. Scheel photography collection.
First we looked at the differences in styles of landscapes (impressionist, photorealist, and realist with abstract leanings). We looked at several American works, including Grant Wood's "The Birthplace of Herbert Hoover, West Branch, Iowa" (to right) and one of my favorites at the MIA, Luigi Luccioni's "Village of Stowe, Vermont" (click to view an image you can zoom in on).
We also looked at abstractions of citiscapes in painting and sculpture, and we looked at various forms of cubism.
One interesting tidbit ... one of the kids (I don't remember who) looked at Max Beckmann's famous "Blind Man's Bluff" and said, "Hey look, it's a triptych!"
I had no idea they knew what a triptych was, but apparently they picked it up listening to Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events! Those, by the way, are excellent audiobooks for the car. I would say they're great for 6 and up, but could bear re-listening or re-reading every few years.
Finally, we also looked at the photography collection. In one room I had each child pick out the photograph that most interested him or her and go look at it for a while. If the pictures the selected turned out, I'll post those some other day.