Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Night at the Museum

David, Hilde, Sam and Victoria
by Hilde Garcia

When I was a kid, I remember reading From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg and dreaming I could also run away to a museum. I understood Claudia and no one appreciate me. But I lived in Florida and there was no Metropolitan Museum of Art.

When I grew up, I went to the Metropolitan. I still wanted to run away and spend the night. The allure of the armor, the paintings and the sculptures were all so thrilling as they loomed in the darkness.

Over the years every time I visited any museum, I still wished I could hide among the exhibits and come out when the coast was clear and solve a mystery like Claudia. I would explore all the nooks and crannies, and the places that said, “Do Not Touch.”

Hilde and Victoria
For my 44th birthday, my wish came true. I found myself in a museum sleepover. Yep, I was in my Hello Kitty pajamas and I was really going to spend the night inside of the Noah’s Ark exhibit at the Skirball Museum in Los Angeles. It was dark all around me. My twins sleeping next to me breathed deeply. I slipped on my socks and prowled through the corridors. Every step made my heart beat as floorboards creaked and people stirred.

Our magical sleepover began with playtime in the ark, which my children know extremely well from their previous adventures. Micah Cover performed a hilarious magic show for us. Then after a yummy catered dinner by El Pollo Loco, we participated in a magic workshop with Micah and took an oath as magicians to learn how to do magic.

And no, I’m not posting how to do the tricks we learned because we took an oath.

Victoria, Magician and Sam
We made a magic card trick of our own, sorry can’t tell you what it was- top secret. We decorated magic boxes and licked fruit Popsicle bars. I had the lemonade flavored one. My kids went for the strawberry.

After dessert, we took a private tour of the Harry Houdini Exhibit. During the Scavenger Hunt, we were given puzzles that once complete, pointed to a part of the exhibit with answers about Houdini’s life.

If that wasn’t magical enough, we got magic gift packs to take home with some tricks we could use. Before we all turned in, our fearless and fun leader, Michael, read George Shrinks and Huge Harold. Only a few small fry yawned, but all stayed awake.

Upon our arrival, my daughter had picked out the most perfect place on the ark to sleep- right by the kitchen area under the rope bridge and it was our own little private Idaho. I slept in an exhibit as I had dreamed I would.

Sam, Hilde and Victoria
In the morning, we finished our magic boxes and had breakfast before we left the magical place that was Noah’s Ark and return home.

I must tell you that dreams do come true for kids, even if they have to wait a long, long time for them. When we write, we really do make a difference. I wonder if E. L. Konigsburg knew that she would be inspiring a generation of children to runaway to a museum.

How many amazing books inspire kids to follow the hero or heroine of the story? As authors, we must continue to create magic in our books no matter where they take place, so that children will still wish to spend the night in a museum or in a castle.

To all of you that have dreamed the same as I have, I can tell you this much, it was the coolest night and I highly recommend it.

Let your dreams prowl among the exhibits where the signs say “Do Not Touch.”

For more information about The Skirball Sleepover:

Not sure you need to be a member to participate in the sleepover.

July Newsletter:
In the newsletter there is a link to the sleepover:
But forget your sleeping bag. An Airbed is the only way to go!


  1. How absolutely FUN! Thanks for writing about this, Hilde. I, too, loved E.L. Konigsburg's book and dreamt of having an adventure in a museum. As a kid, I always dreamed of living in Hollywood - a dream that has now come true (even if it's decidedly less magical than I imagined).

  2. I dreamed of living in a space station and having my own personal jet-pack.
    Rocket Ramjet

  3. I want to go! What a wonderful adventure.

  4. I am so going to this. Even if I have to join yet another club... Thanks for sharing, and reminding us that yes, dreams do come true!

  5. I love to visit such places to make myself peace, out of my daily jobs. And my childrens love too to be here.


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