The following was produced in collaboration with our friends at Baby Jogger, who are inspired by children to design ingenious solutions for parents’ everyday problems — like their newest stroller, the City Select® LUX.
Frank Hartley paused with his small tour group in the Mayan wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to admire the images on an ornately carved eighth-century cup and read the translation aloud: “Burn your head, smell your?” He turned to ask his the tour group follow his lead if they had any guess as to why the museum’s official translation was left incomplete, a question mark dangling where a word should have been. When no one responded, Hartley asked if anyone in the assembled crowd of New York-area bloggers and social media influencers had previously had the pleasure of smelling burned hair.
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“It smells like crap,” Hartley said. “Guys, this is an ancient Mayan fart joke. If this isn’t a kid’s tour yet, I don’t know what is.”
The toddlers, each strapped into a Baby Jogger City Select® LUX stroller, didn’t seem to get the joke. But the parents did. A bit of low brow humor echoed across the ages. If anything, the event at the MET, co-hosted by the stroller maker and Fatherly, was a combination of the high and the low. After all, parents were involved. So was Museum Hack, which specializes in irreverent, high-energy experiences that tell the stories behind carefully curated exhibits.
“I like to play games in the museum because there’s this thing called gallery fatigue, or museum fatigue,” Hartley told his group a short while later, before sending them off on a photographic scavenger hunt for such classical art motifs as “Most Bored Woman,” “Best Animal Doing Human Things,” and “Best Butt.” One scavenger hunt team found several strong options for that last category in the Charles Engelhard Court in the Met’s American Wing. Hartley noted that Engelhard, a notorious 20th Century metals trader, had an unsavory reputation during his lifetime and is said to have been the real-life inspiration for the James Bond villain Auric Goldfinger.
Hartley’s enthusiasm was contagious. Adam Cohen of Dada Rocks got plenty of quality photos and checked off a lot of boxes in his bid for museum-going glory. “I call this ‘Dad Without Coffee at 3 a.m.,’” Cohen said after snapping a shot of a Greek bust wearing a tortured expression.
Jane Zoleta of My Heart Belongs To…, in attendance with her two-year-old son, Flynt, and her husband, Joseph, learned the original Santa Claus was neither fat nor jolly. She reacted merrily to the news.
“It’s our first Museum Hack, so it was really fun,” Zoleta said. “Because there’s so much to go through that you never really know what to pay attention to.”
“I love the Met, and I love bringing him because it’s really easy to stroll around,” Stefanie Degreff said of bringing her six-month-old son Hudson. “Our tour guides were really funny.”
Julie Inzanti Laney was at Friday’s event on behalf of Stroller in the City, with her two-year-old, Emilia, aboard. She liked the art, sure, but she was also focused on the test drive aspect of the event. She appreciated the Baby Jogger stroller’s smooth ride and its ability to add a second carrier — not to mention the generous handlebar extension.“My husband is 6’9”, so a really tall stroller is helpful,” she said.
Keri Schundler was at the Met with her three-year-old daughter, Heidi, who especially was relishing participating in a photographic scavenger hunt though maybe missing the point a bit.“She was the star of every picture we took,” Schundler laughed as Heidi squirmed, adding “If Heidi can be in this stroller I feel like it can handle anything.”
At the end of the tour, there was a moment of awkwardness as parents — many of whom had just spent considerable energy shushing their tiny curators — tried to signal appreciation and respect with elaborate body language. Hartley saw it coming. He’s used to that sort of thing.
“We can’t clap in the gallery, but we can give finger snaps,” he said.
Cue the world’s quietest round of raucous applause.