Mural in the Just for Fun Center Japan

Welcome to the Just For Fun Center─Japan

To celebrate Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection, the Just for Fun Family Center (JFFC) is reimagined with new activities brought to life by local artists. Located in the Duncan Pavilion on Level 2 of the North Building, the Just for Fun Family Center is the destination for families to:

Explore. It’s hard to miss the colorful mural, designed by Jena Siedler, which sets the scene for the JFFC. Catch glimpses of iconic Japan—from Mt. Fuji to downtown Tokyo—and spot objects from the DAM’s Asian Art collection.

Build. Practice building sculptures with hand-sculpted wooden rocks made by artist and furniture designer Sam Mobley. Both kids and adults will enjoy the challenge of stacking and balancing. Build big and create your own Japanese-inspired garden with large, soft blocks made by designer and fabric artist Bree Angela Thompson. Arrange rocks, shrubs, cherry blossom trees, and even a pagoda, to form your own garden.

Create. Try your hand at filling in the blanks by painting with water on a Japanese screen. Imagine what might be happening in the missing sections. Is there a ship sailing on the sea? Maybe birds flying in the sky?

Make. Set aside time to design, color, and assemble your own samurai-inspired helmet. Add your signature touch and family crest!

Play. Explore the intricate process by which samurai dressed by slipping into handmade robes, suits of armor, and half masks. Bree Angela Thompson was inspired by the samurai suit on Level 5 of the North Building as well as the incredible armor in the Samurai exhibition.

The Samurai-Inspired Helmet activity is generously sponsored by Japan Foundation Los Angeles.

Natalie Ruhe Thomas is coordinator of family and community programs in the department of learning and engagement at the Denver Art Museum. Natalie has been at the DAM since 2012 and her favorite exhibition that has been on view here is Becoming Van Gogh.

Read more on: Kids and Families Samurai