Night at the Museum Battle of the Smithsonian comes to life in our house

[ 1 ] July 1, 2009 |


I love movies for kids–not films that turn children into couch potatoes–the ones that inspire play, drawing, storytelling, character creation, or exploration into a new subject.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, the sequel to Night at the Museum, is an entertaining movie for kids and adults–full of laughs and plenty of adventure that does not end (at least in our house) once the film is over. My sons went to the library to find the book that inspired the first film, The Night at the Museum by Milan Trenc, and were surprised how such a simple book could lead to a full-length film, and after the seeing the sequel this summer, they ordered a bundle of books from the library to learn more about the historical figures and events that inspired the film. When my kids become the characters and re-create the scenes from a film with toys (or themselves) or they read more on the subject, this is when movies come to life in our house.

museumcovertrencAlthough we are a family of movie buffs, not all films are fabulous and ones that my children adore now may not have been appropriate for them when they were three or four years old. I always read reviews, check the Kids in Mind website, and watch a preview to decide if and when my kids can see a film. This has led to many discussions as to why their friends are allowed to see some films they can’t–so far I am sticking with the answer: parents make the rules in each house.

Battle of the Smithsonian is about a security guard named Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) who returns to rescue his friends who have been shipped to the Smithsonian Institute for storage. An age old Egyptian feud between brothers leads to a battle between Larry and a band of outlaws. Although mild, the fight scene may not be suitable for younger children. The film is filled with a colorful cast of characters from history, including Amelia Earhart (a wonderful heroine for boys and girls). Depending on a child’s age, he or she may not understand all the historical references, but they will be introduced to history by becoming familiar with the names of real people and places while enjoying the film on whatever level they can.

Some of the topics in this film of interest to my boys included (in no particular order): Sakajawea, Lewis and Clark, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, dinosaurs, Amelia Earhart, Egypt, Albert Einstein, George Custer, Air and Space.

What to do after the film:

1. Take your children to the library to find books on subjects that interest them.
2. For the real thing, visit the American Museum of Natural History in NYC or the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. For the next best thing visit locally: Museum of Natural History in Providence, RI; Harvard Museum of Natural History in Boston, MA; and  Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven, CT.
3. Have your kids create their own museum at home with toys or books or other findings. My son created a mini-museum (pictured above) with the books he checked out from the library, complete with labels.
4. Fun activities and research is available online at

MPAA Rating: PG (mild action and brief inappropriate language)
Kids in Mind Rating: (Sex-1, Violence-4, Profanity-1)
Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Robin Williams
Director: Shawn Levy
Genre: Action | Comedy | Family

MPAA Rating: PG (mild action and brief inappropriate language)
Kids in Mind Rating: (Sex-2, Violence-3, Profanity-1)
Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, Amy Adams
Director: Shawn Levy
Genre: Action | Comedy | Family

Tags: , ,

Category: books / stories, movies + media

Anisa Raoof

about the author ()

Anisa Raoof is the publisher of She combines being a mom with her experience as an artist, designer, psych researcher and former co-director of the Providence Craft Show to create the go-to spot for families in Rhode Island and beyond. She loves using social media to connect parents with family-related businesses and services and promoting ways for parents to engage offline with their kids. Anisa believes in the power of working together and loves to find ways to collaborate with others. An online enthusiast, still likes to unplug often by reading books and magazines, drawing, learning to knit, making pop-up books with her two sons and listening to records with her husband.

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. calendar cricket says:

    you guys are so smart. we’ll go to the movies this afternoon & hope to do some of the hands-on activities later on today. suggestions like this on a rainy day save me from despair. thanks.

Leave a Reply

Kidoinfo Kidoinfo