What are Your Plans?
Do you have travel plans? Are you going to any wonderful cities with great museums? Museum visits are always on our travel must-see list, and we plan our vacation around them.
But what about planning the museum visit itself? Do you actually have a plan? Or are you like I used to be, just expecting to show up and see everything possible until you drop?
But after visiting many museums, I realized that a little planning goes a long way. Here are my 10 favorite tips to make your visit more enjoyable and fulfilling.
1. Select just a few art museums per visit. We rarely do more than one museum a day. Buy tickets ahead of time to avoid the line.
2. Wear comfortable shoes and bring an extra layer. I bring a super light shopping tote that holds my essentials and I leave everything else in my regular tote in the cloakroom. Lugging my regular travel tote around with a guidebook, camera, etc. for hours is fatiguing.
3. Read up about the museum and look into their special exhibits. It really helps if you aren't starting from zero.
4. Research the best time to start. Usually this is first thing in the morning before the crowds get there. Plan to visit must-see exhibits first and then fill in your time later with whatever strikes your fancy.
5. Be realistic about how long you'll last. We're really only good for two hours or so before we need a break. We like to get to the museum when it opens, visit the special exhibit first, then stop for lunch. Many museums have great cafeterias that are a welcome respite to refresh, refuel, and think about what you've seen. After lunch we might be good for another hour. Or not.
In the Museum
1. Get the audio guide. It's almost always worth the price and sometimes it's fabulous. I love audio guides because I can go at my own pace and only view what I want. The guides give so much more context to the artwork that just reading the labels.
2. Don't try to see everything. Give yourself time to experience the few pieces that you are really drawn to and understand why it affects you. For a few really special artwork, give yourself a lot of time. If I can find a bench to sit on while I do this, I'm in heaven.
3. For thoughts on what makes an object a worthy of a place in a museum see my blog post Why Is That Art?.
4. When your visit is over, celebrate by buying something at the gift store. Really! It will give you a fun memento and it supports the museum. Win-win!
5. Afterwards, allow time to digest and discuss the art with your travel partner. Art is even more interesting when you can experience it from another perspective.
What are your favorite museum-going tips? I'd love to hear!