Museums can be such a rewarding experience, but only if you know how to make the most of your museum visit. Each museum is unique and has something different to offer, so it is important that you have a game plan to tackle each one. I am currently studying abroad in Florence, so museums are a daily experience for me. Here are some of the tips I have gained in knowing how to make the most of your museum visit.
1. Know What You Are Going into
The best way to make the most of your museum visit it to know what to expect. You have to have a good idea of what the museum offers and what it is known for. All too many times, I have gone to a famous museum just because I had heard of it. I visited not knowing if it had paintings, sculptures, or artifacts. While I still enjoyed them, it would have been a much better experience if I had gone in with some prior knowledge. It is as easy as looking the museum up and seeing what it has to offer.
2. Know Your Group
Will you be going with your friends or family? Will there be kids there? When preparing for a museum visit, you need to tailor your trip to the interests of everyone you are going with. This is especially important when dealing with children, as they will probably not be interested in seeing 14th century art. Tell your kids what the museum has to offer and let them decide what they want to see. They will have an amazing time seeing something new, and you won’t have to deal with complaining children all day.
3. Timing is Everything
While it might be most convenient to go to a museum mid-day on the weekends, it is also the most convenient time for everyone else. Museums are hardly fun when you are crammed into a tiny room with a ton of other people. If it is a local museum, try going on a weekday either first thing in the morning, or later in the afternoon. If you have no choice but to go during peak hours, just be prepared to wait in long lines and not get the best view of the exhibits.
4. Dress Accordingly
How can you expect to make the most of your museum visit if you are uncomfortable or your feet hurt all day? While you may want to look super cute for your visit, comfort trumps fashion in this case. I would recommend a comfy pair of closed toe shoes that offer a lot of support, as you will be standing for the majority of your visit. I would also suggest layering your clothing because it is hard to predict what kind of temperature the museum will offer.
5. Decide if You Want a Tour Guide
While it is great to roam around a museum on your own time, having a tour guide show you around is a great alternative. Most museums have a bit of information about each exhibit available, but a tour guide can give you so much background information that you might have never known. It really enhances your museum experience and leaves you knowing so much more than if you were to go on your own. Another alternative to a tour guide is to purchase an audio tour where you can roam on your own accord and still get the extra information.
6. Know What You Want to See First
Before you go, research what the museum offers and if there is anything in particular that you think is a “must see.” Figure out where those exhibits are on a map and make them the first thing you see in the museum. Once you have taken care of the “must see” artifacts, then you can go back and see what else the museum has to offer. This way, you won’t be disappointed if you never made it to the pieces that wanted to see most.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
The whole purpose of a museum is to learn, and part of learning means asking questions. If there is a piece you want to know more about or you are curious about something, don’t hesitate to ask someone who works there. Even if they don’t know the answer, they will be more than happy to direct you to someone who does.
There are so many different kinds of museums and there is something out there for everyone. They are a great way to learn more about something you are passionate about or even to learn something entirely new. Did these ways to make the most of your museum visit help you? What are some ways you try to make the most of your museum visit? What are some of your favorite museums you have visited?