Important Information About Art Museums

When going to art museums, there are a variety of ways to experience and engage with the art, but there’s also some things to be well aware of. To ensure the safety of the art, as well as to ensure you can enjoy your time spent at whatever art museum you visit, check out the information below. I wanted to help people improve their experiences at art museums, but also to raise awareness to protect and preserve artwork.

Things You May Want to Bring

·     Camera (with the flash turned off)

·     Map/exhibit guide (picked up at the front)

·     Sketchpad or journal (if you’re into that)

·     Sweater (museums are cold)

·     Snack (sometimes you spend hours in a museum, and you might get a bit hungry. There is also likely a snack bar or café you can visit)

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Look Up the Must-See Exhibits Beforehand

Not only will this help you navigate the art museum and decide which order to see things it, but it also helps you to know if there are any additional fees or guidelines for viewing specific exhibits. Some interactive exhibits require you to reserve a time slot or separate ticket or may only allow you to see them once per visit. Make sure you're aware of this information so you can plan your visit around it! Being aware of what exhibits the museum offers also makes your trip more interesting, as knowing a bit about a piece or artist can help you appreciate it more.

Don’t Touch It, Just Don’t

You probably don’t realize this, but the oils on your skin have an acidic quality that can really damage a piece of artwork, especially an older piece. The oils literally can cause the artwork to become permanently tarnished and to begin to break down. The paint of oil paintings is so brittle that the tip of your finger could actually cause the paint to chip. Museum staff only handle the artwork when using special gloves to protect them. So please, be respectful: don’t touch the art.  

Don’t Bring a Backpack

Or if you do, be aware that you’re going to have to hold it in front of you the whole time. Most museum staffs are very wary of backpacks. This famous art thief, Stéphane Breitwieser, stole approximately 300 pieces of art by hiding it in his backpack or under his jacket. Plus there’s the potential that you could turn around to fast and accidentally bump the art, so it’s just best to avoid wearing them.

Put Your Phone Down For a Minute

I know with all the beautiful art around, you may get a little excited about capturing the moment you're experiencing, but don't forget to put your phone or DSLR away for a minute to just…breathe. Take everything in. Look around you. Sit on a bench, maybe. Sit in silence. Stop in front of a painting. Let whatever emotions you're experiencing flow over you. It's great to want to create memories, but don't forget to experience the moment as it's happening. Put your phone down for just a minute.

Try to Experience the Art in a Unique Way

What do you like about art? Do you like reading the history behind it? Do you like looking at the figures in the paintings and wondering what they're thinking? Do you like knowing about the mediums and methods behind each art piece? I like to play a game. All you need is a camera; feel free to use the one on your phone. All you have to do is take photos trying to pose like the figures in the paintings. This is a really unique way to experience and connect with the art, and you end up with all these fun photos! Also, consider bringing along a journal or a sketchpad. Write or sketch what you see or what you’re feeling. This can be a really unique way to engage with the art.

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