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Smithsonian American Art Museum offers scavenger hunt in English or Spanish

Kids are art detectives in the Smithsonian scavenger hunt, which is available in English or Spanish.
Kids are art detectives in the Smithsonian scavenger hunt, which is available in English or Spanish. (Photos From Smithsonian American Art Museum)
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

As soon as Mateo Flores learned that the Smithsonian American Art Museum was having a scavenger hunt in Spanish he told his mom he wanted to go.

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"I'm excited to have the chance to do it in my native language, and Mom said she will take me," said Mateo, 8, of Columbia Heights.

The American Art Museum has put together the scavenger hunt in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Children and their parents head to museum's third floor to follow clues in English or Spanish and discover art on display at the Luce Foundation Center.

The scavenger hunt is tied to Hispanic Heritage Month -- September 15 to October 15 -- which recognizes the contributions of Hispanic Americans and celebrates Hispanic cultures and traditions.

Tierney Sneeringer, who works at the Luce Foundation Center, said she came up with the idea of translating the clues into Spanish last year. That way the hunt is available to people who speak Spanish as their first language and to those who are just learning it. "It helps them to connect with their language and their roots in a very easy way," said Sneeringer, who studied in Spain. "I think it also helps the kids to look at the art in a very fun way and keep them interested at the same time." The Luce Foundation Center has been doing scavenger hunts since 2006 and has done different themes including seasons, people and holidays, including Christmas. While previous Hispanic Heritage Month scavenger hunts have focused on Spanish works in the collection, this year's hunt explores Smithsonian history, with questions about the institution's founder, the number of pieces of art in the Smithsonian's collection and people who have made important contributions to the Smithsonian.

"This is a great way to learn more about our history, and the best part is that grown-ups have fun doing the scavenger hunt with their children," Sneeringer said.

-- Ana Cubías

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