MuseumMinute

The Expert Museumgoer

I am a museum person.

"Museum Visitor" Lithograph, 1940 11 1/8 in. x 8 1/2 in. (283 mm x 216 mm)

If you are looking for a  case study, want to know who’s integrating/already integrated new technologies or simply have question about a new exhibition – I am your go-to gal. I love museums. I always have. The first time I saw a dinosaur, at the Anniston Museum of Natural History, changed my life. I didn’t know what to do or how to do it – but I knew I wanted to hang out in museums. Hanging out in museums turned into working for a museum – so I’m a pretty happy person.

As I was picking up some papers from the copier I noticed someone had placed an article from USA Today in my mailbox: “Exhibit the wisdom of an expert museumgoer” by Kelly Carter (August 19, 2011).

Carter gives eight bullet points to consider when visiting a museum:

  • When to arrive
  • Find the signature works
  • Maximize your time
  • Build in Breaks
  • Avoid overload
  • Get discounts on admission
  • Use the latest technology

These are all great tips, but I have a few of my own…

Ask a staff member what their favorite piece/artifact/gallery is: If you want a feel for the museum, ask the staff. I did this at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and a lovely security guard took me to the European Art: 1400-1800 Gallery. Listening to his appreciation of religious art made this experience truly unique.

Get lost: I’m the kind of person who enjoys getting lost in a museum. Don’t get my wrong, tours are great. But when you have the opportunity to experience a museum, and walk into a gallery you may not have otherwise, you find out what speaks to you may not be the same as everyone else.

Put your phone away: Tweet, upload a pic to Facebook or check-in on Foursquare but please, please, please do not hold your phone the entire time you are visiting a museum. If you feel the need to share – by all means – take your smartphone out and share – but for the other 90% of your visit – enjoy your visit. Try to limit your distractions.

Visit the gift shop: Museum gift shops are full of treasures!

What are your go-to “what to do/consider when visiting a museum” tips?

One thought on “The Expert Museumgoer

  1. Definitely scope out the map to see if there’s specific exhibits you’d like to see and hit those up first. You never know if you’ll end up spending way too much time in another exhibit and miss the one thing you really wanted to see because the museum is closing or you have to run.

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