Sunday, November 18, 2012

Five tips to get the most from your museum visit

Here are my five tips to get the most out of your visit to any museum:

1. Research the museum - Visit the museum website before hand to know the greatest treasures housed. By researching you know the timings, late hour openings, free tours, best exhibits, new exhibitions, facilities etc. These details are very helpful in planning your trip. Every museum in Chicago runs a free day and it is always on those days that I visited the museum. I practically visited every museum in Chicago for free.
Queues at The Louvre, Paris

2. Get a map before hand - Whether you get it with your ticket or buy it for a couple of bucks, it is most important thing to get the worth of your ticket and time. Without a map you may be just re-discovering the museum items all over again, stumbling upon them and missing some of the ones you may have seen.
Chicago Art Museum

3. Get a guide - An audio guide is my best friend in a museum. I sometime wish there were audio guides and numbers all around a new city I visit so that the process of learning about new things becomes easy. An audio guide tells me which things are the most important finds or items of display. I may miss everything else but I do not miss those described in an audio guide.
Seals from Indus Valley Civilizations, on display in British Museum

4. Know what interests you - A museum can have a huge collection. No matter how ample or little the time on hand is, you cannot see everything in one visit. So, decide the areas that seem most interesting to you and focus on those to get the most of your visit.

Harley Davidson Museum, Milwaukee

5. Take back five things from the museum - This does not mean pick up and walk away with items! The truth is nothing disappoints me more than walking for hours in a museum and not remembering a single thing I saw there after returning home. Now, I simply a five item rule. I make a mental note of five things that impressed me the most in a museum and return home and research it.

Vikram's favorite museum pose

My husband gets really bored in a museum because the task of seeing and retaining so much information can be daunting. Looking at him I made a simple rule for both of us, 'we do not aim at seeing everything and we do not aim at remembering everything we saw.' Keep it simple. It is after all fun.

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