WILLIAMSTOWN -- Nine-year-old Annika Wainwright was skeptical Peter Paul Rubens' masterpiece "Lion and Tiger Hunting" was realistic.
The painting depicts a group of men in the midst of a hunting party, with a man in the forefront wrestling a lion and prying its mouth open.
"It's probably mythical because someone couldn't really pry the lion's jaws apart," she said.
It's just one thing both kids and adults can learn from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute's first Kidspace exhibit, "Lions and Tigers and Museums, Oh My!" which runs through Sept. 8.
The exhibit, located inside the museum's Stone Hill Building, is based around a reproduction of the original Rubens painting, which is housed in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rennes, France.
The Clark's Head of Education Programs Ronna Tulgan-Ostheimer said Kidspace is a collaborative project of the Clark, the Williams College Museum of Art and Mass MoCA.
Each museum presents their own exhibitions and programming based on a theme, she said, with this theme being "curiosity."
"When you look and engage with the art, it stimulates and stirs up your curiosity in many different areas." she explained.
Tulgan-Ostheimer said in designing the exhibit, attention was given to engaging all types of visitors.
"No matter what kids' interests or learning style is, there should be something in each room that's going to engage them," she said.
Annika had stumbled on that realization through interacting with Kidspace's hands-on mini museums, designed to encourage children to think about art.
To demonstrate how much force a human can create, the museum provides attendees with a unique tool that measures a person's force. When people pull on both sides of the device, it generates 40-to-60 pounds of force.
It takes 600 pounds of force to open a lion's mouth, Tulgan-Ostheimer said.
"That's part of how we know it's a fantasy picture," she said. "It was for entertainment. People would spend hours looking and talking about a picture like this."
Other popular items in the exhibit include an anatomically correctly weighted model bird that attendees can wear on their arm to see what it feels like to hold a bird of prey.
And the biggest attraction, Tulgan-Ostheimer said, is a taxidermied African lion on loan from Frank J. Zitz Craftsmen and Designers.
The Clark's Kidspace Exhibit runs through Sept. 8.
What: ' Lions and Tigers and Museums, Oh My!'
Where: The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute's Stone Hill Building, 225 South St., Williamstown When: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Free More information: 413-458-2303 or www.clarkart.edu.
To reach Edward Damon, email