With walls covered in paintings, ancient pottery stacked in giant glass display cases and statues watching as visitors enter the doors, art museums are known for the elegance and culture they bring to the public. A trip to an art museum can be a great chance to gain inspiration, absorb famous or lesser-known works, learn about artists and spend the day in a calm, beautiful environment.
Whether it’s the Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln or a bigger museum like The Met in New York, art museums are not for everyone, and not all people find these museums an enjoyable way to spend the day. Even if you do not want to spend hours in an art museum, below are some tips to help you make the most of the experience.
Take the time to read the piece descriptions
With wandering glances and quick looks, many people who go to art museums simply browse the pieces themselves. But by taking the time to read the plaques that give you a description of the piece and artist, you’ll be able to look at the art with a deeper knowledge of its meaning and context. Also, even if you don’t really enjoy looking at art, you might find it more interesting to learn about the person and mission behind the art.
Go at a time when there won’t be large crowds
To browse an art museum and actually appreciate the experience takes focus. Whether you like art or not, it’s essential to focus on the pieces to even have a hope at enjoying it. But there’s nothing more annoying than trying to read a description or look at art with someone loud behind you, or a group of people trying to rush you like they’re a hole behind you on the golf course. Going to art museums an hour or so before closing or during major meal times will help you dodge the crowds. By avoiding crowds, your art museum trip will be less stressful and far more enjoyable.
Put cameras and phones away
Although it may be tempting, refrain from photographing the art in an art museum — unless asked to by museum officials for specific, interactive exhibits. Many art museums don’t even allow photography anyway. Without distractions from phones and cameras, you can more easily focus on being in the moment and enjoying the art museum.
Don’t rush to see everything in one trip
The biggest mistake a person can make when going to an art museum is to try and see everything in one trip. With the exception of smaller galleries, most large museums — such as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Sheldon Museum of Art, Omaha’s Joslyn Art Museum, or The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City — put thousands to millions of pieces on display for the public. If you try to see everything in one go, you’re bound to not fully enjoy the pieces you do get to see. Instead, focus on the sections that interest you the most.
While these museums might not be for everyone, by following these steps, even those who don’t like art can get something out of a trip to an art museum.