How to Plan a Fascinating Museum Visit You'll Remember for Years
For many, museums are a regular highlight of well-spent free time. For others, museums are just another stop on the list of sights to see over a family vacation. Or maybe they're just places you've been on a school trip.
Luckily, visiting museums is more entertaining and enriching now than at any other time in history. Between the cinematic effects curators incorporate and the ability to instantly learn more about a subject with a few taps on a smartphone, we can craft each visit to our interests.
So, no matter the reason for your visit, there is a way to make it memorable. Here are a few expert tips for planning your next incredible museum trip.
What to Expect
Making blanket generalizations is difficult because no two museums are truly alike. However, each museum comprises a building, history, staff, and exhibits. It will be up to you to determine how interesting each element is.
From the architecture of the building itself, the history of the museums founding patrons, or the curatorial staff that blew critics away with a new exhibit. There are many fascinating ways to get lost in the wonder of a museum. Beyond the unique collection of artists and artwork displayed!
A few things that can be less enjoyable about museum trips include lots of reading, the hard floors with limited seating, and pricy mediocre food. However, when planned accordingly, you can avoid these drawbacks. Here are five things you can do to have a great time on your next museum visit.
Do a Little Research
Determine a few notable points of interest that you will look forward to. For example, learn a fun fact about a couple of pieces or the artist that created them. The museum experience is so much richer when you come prepared with a bit of information ahead of time.
Though casually viewing art is fun, too, you may find a new appreciation and have more insight when you've done some homework. Having some prior knowledge will also reduce the chance of overwhelm by trying to read and remember all the little plaques of information or feeling like you just don’t ‘get it’.
One of the simplest ways I enjoy prepping for museum visits and learning about art is through the Daily Art app. The app showcases one masterwork each day with a small summary of the piece and artist. In addition, there are links to more works by the artist, the art period represented, and the museum's name or collection where the art is displayed. Using the app and saving your favorite pieces is a great way to create your own collection and deepen your art appreciation based on the type of art you naturally gravitate towards.
But, if the artists and artwork really aren't your thing on a particular outing, try researching the museum's history. From architectural significance to the patrons that funded the museum, there are sure to be a few great stories that will pique your interest. This also means you'll have something different to share if you're visiting with a group.
Go in Good Company
One of the best parts of visiting a museum is recounting the experience and sharing highlights with your group. Whether it's friends, family, a class from school, or a tour group, everyone will have unique perspectives and opinions about the visit. This can make for hours of entertaining discussion and maybe even a little friendly debate.
As mentioned earlier, museums tend to be superb sturdy places built with lots of stone. Though beautiful and impressive to the observer, the feet, knees, and backs share a different opinion.
Dressing in layers and wearing comfortable shoes is a must. There's nothing like fighting your discomfort to enjoy just a few more pieces of priceless art. Been there, done that, and prefer to comfortably take in the sights until there's not another canvas, bronze, or furniture example left to admire.
Perfect your Timing
How long you spend in a particular museum will fluctuate greatly depending on many factors. For example, the size of a museum, the time it opens, if there are other items on your schedule that day, and the group's overall interest in the exhibits.
Doing your research ahead of time will help you determine if it's best to beat the crowds and arrive right when the doors open for a full-day experience or if you can enjoy a few highlights in the afternoon before topping off your evening with a romantic dinner nearby.
Preview the Menu
Even the most avid museum-goers can agree it's challenging to have an enjoyable visit when you're hungry dehydrated or tired. Thankfully many museums are working to improve their dining experience for patrons by designing unique menus and dining areas inside the museum. Take a peek at what's offered before your visit so you can plan accordingly.
Stopping in for a cup of coffee, a sweet treat, or a tasty lunch is a great way to recoup and extend your visit since many museums do not allow re-entry. However, if timed well, you may be able to complete your tour and be free to explore the nearby area and any notable local cafes if you prefer.
Visiting a museum is a great way to learn more about art, history, and culture. It is an enriching and inspiring experience for all ages. By researching the museum's history and artwork ahead of time, you can gain insight and appreciation for the pieces on display. This helps make every museum visit worth the trip.
There is always something new to discover with so many different types of art, artists to know, and artifacts to study. So, dress comfortably and plan your timing wisely to get the most out of your experience. With some preparation and knowledge, every museum outing will be an enjoyable and inspiring experience.