From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

by E. L. Konigsburg

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How did Claudia plan to spend time with her brother while hiding in the museum?

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While they are hiding out in the Metropolitan Museum after running away from home, Claudia insists that they use their time for enrichment. Living inside a museum, she reasons, is an excellent opportunity for a cultural education. While Jamie isn't initially as interested in this activity, Claudia convinces him to engage with the historical pieces so they can learn and experience as much as possible.

They spend their time interacting hands-on with the pieces in the museum, sleeping in beds in the exhibits, bathing in an architectural fountain and much more. This is a very great opportunity to interact with the artifacts in the museum and learn hands on what historical people actually experienced (they get to feel how the antique beds felt and what it was like to bathe in a historical fountain). This greatly enlightens them, and is a successful educational experience.

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Claudia sees the time that she and her brother spend in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art not just as an adventure, but as a cultural and educational opportunity. Claudia is nothing if not ambitious; she tells Jamie that she wants them to learn everything.

The way they do this is through meaningful interaction with the numerous historical objects they encounter, whether it's sleeping in the bed in which Lord Robert Dudley's lover was allegedly murdered in 1560, bathing in the Fountain of Muses, or hiding musical instruments in ancient Roman artifacts. Long before it became standard educational practice in museums, Claudia and Jamie's experience is very much hands-on. The various objects on display at the museum are not just there to be looked at but touched and experienced. This gives the children a much deeper knowledge and appreciation of the past, where they feel so much more comfortable and at home than they do living with their parents.

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