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8 Tips on How To Get the Most Out of Your Next Museum Visit

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Are you worried you’ll miss out on some great stuff the next time you’re visiting a museum?

Museums are jam-packed full of interesting facts and can be very entertaining.

However, you need to keep some expert tips in mind in order to get the greatest value whether you are visiting the London Natural History Museum or the Louvre in Paris.

If you’ve got a museum trip on the horizon, here are 8 tips to help you get the most out of your day.

1. Be Selective

Museums are very large places making it just about impossible to see everything in one day. Don't be intimidated by the sheer amount of what to see and do and be selective about what you really want to see.

Your trip will be of far greater value if you see what you came for and skip past the exhibits that don't interest you.

2. Do Your Research

Once you have made your selection, do some research into what makes the exhibit so interesting.

-Why did a certain artist select a specific subject to paint?

-How did a scientist discover a formula?

-Where did the palaeontologists unearth that dinosaur bone?

Identify the object, its classification and at least one other fact of interest.

Understanding why a certain piece or item is on display in the first place is key to understanding the context of the exhibit. Being armed with these facts will enhance your appreciation of each exhibit.

3. Don't Rush

Give each exhibit the time that it deserves to fully appreciate why it is an object of such interest. Most people rarely fully appreciate a display, spending only a matter of seconds viewing it.

Even if you have come prepared with some facts, read any information regarding the display.

Breezing through could mean that you miss some important facts but could also mean that you may miss some of the exhibits that you wanted to see. Although opinions vary, it is far better to get the greatest value out of a few displays rather than little to no value from many.

4. Delve Deeper

Try to see the displays that you have the most interest in first and allow yourself to question the origin of an item, its purpose and what the theme of collection may be.

If you are attracted to an exhibit that wasn't on your prep list, don't just walk on by but take your time to get to know more about it.

Delve deeper and find out more about why an artist predominantly used a specific colour or brush or whether there was a political or religious motivation to their work. Keep in mind the curated pieces and why the curator decided to display certain items together.

Always try to remain open to learning. For the mental development experts of Mindset Mystery NLP, “Teaching yourself to be open to learning through techniques such as neuro-linguistic programming will allow you to continue to discover and open yourself up to living life to its fullest potential. This is especially great in improving the self-confidence of kids as they learn in a museum setting.”

5. Talk About It

It is preferable to visit a museum with good friends or family members.

Discuss each exhibit with them and see how their opinion differs from yours. You may gain an entirely new perspective on a piece that you would otherwise not have.

If you are visiting alone, find an employee of the museum or a tour guide to discuss the piece with. They will provide you with further information and some facts that you may not have been aware of.

6. Be Surprised

Don't be surprised to be surprised. At every turn, new and exciting displays or exhibits can provide you with an exciting and awesome experience.

So expect the unexpected and take the time to view exhibits that you may have been unaware were on display.

According to the crystal team at Embrace Australia, it’s often the displays that are least expected that draw the most questions and amazement. They explain, “working with crystals we’re constantly surprised at how many people are intrigued by the character, cut and detail of crystals and minerals. While many kids go to museums excited to see dinosaur bones, it is exhibits like crystals that can catch the imagination and create a lifelong love of learning.”

Remember that museums are always updating their displays and loaning exhibits from other museums to keep visits current and new. Chances are that you may have missed some items that would be of interest to you in your research.

If you are going in blind, then expect a surprise wherever you look.

7. Take A Break

You are bound to get both physically and mentally exhausted navigating through a museum while trying to absorb as much as possible.

According to the footwear professionals at Tierra Alma, being prepared is essential. “Wear comfortable clothes, especially shoes. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Eat a good breakfast to keep your energy levels up for as long as possible to get the most out of your visit. Taking a few moments to have a seat and get off your feet will help you enjoy the rest of your museum visit for longer.”

Most museums will not allow any food so make plans to take a lunch break somewhere nearby and pack an energy bar or other snacks that you can eat outside or in a designated area.

Better yet, stay in nearby accommodation and spend more than a single day taking in the sights.

8. Take Lots Of Pics

If photography is allowed, take as many pictures as you can.

Memory is a fickle beast and even though you spent 1/2 hour looking at a display, you simply will not remember every detail. If photos aren't allowed, take notes.

Use bullet points to list details that you want to remember and that are of interest to you. Not only will note-taking help you remember the details but will refresh your memory at a later date.

Got any museum tips we missed?

Let us know in the comments!

Author Bio

Nathan Knox is a freelance writer. He is a university student based in Sydney. A Computer Science student, Nathan is also fond of going to the cinema. When not on his desk, he is often at the cinemas watching his favourite shows.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why do the Eromanga dinosaurs and the Eulo Diprotodon (Megafauna) have common names like Cooper, George, Sid, Zac and Kenny?

These are identifying names we give a new important dinosaur or megafauna discovery so we know which individual we are talking about. In many cases with the dinosaurs they will be scientifically described as completely new dinosaurs and then they are given a special scientific name.  If they are not a new species then they will already have a special scientific name.  ‘Kenny’ has a scientific name already, Diprotondon optatum.

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